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Article

J. Richard Haefer

Suspension rattle of Iñupiat peoples of Alaska and Canada. Several dozen fin-shaped, 2-cm pieces of walrus tusk are sewn on a dancer’s arm wrapping made from a strip of sealskin about 25 to 30 cm long. Around the top of the wrapping is stitched a circle of polar bear fur. Some believe that the sound of the rattle represents the north wind....

Article

Abadá  

John M. Schechter

Obscure drum, presumably of African origin, of the Babasué (Babassuê) syncretic sect of Belem, Pará, Brazil. It might be related to the atabaque. The body is slightly conical and the single head is secured by a hoop that is laced to four iron hooks that jut from the body below the upper rim. ...

Article

Ableton  

Brandon Smith

Music production software company based in Berlin, with a branch in New York. Ableton (Ableton AG) was founded in 1999 by Gerhard Behles, Robert Henke, and Bernd Roggendorf. Its main product is a computer program called Live, which was released in 2001. This is a digital audio workstation (DAW) environment for recording audio and MIDI with an emphasis on working in real time, essentially allowing the user to play the software as an instrument. Practically any operation can be controlled via MIDI. Since its introduction, Live has become popular among electronic music artists for its ability to allow spontaneous manipulation of audio in a performance situation. Many manufacturers of MIDI controllers have developed control surfaces for Live, bridging the gap between software and hardware.

Live is equally suited to arranging and production applications, with abilities similar to those of other popular recording platforms such as Cubase and Pro Tools. It can run in tandem with most other DAW systems using the ReWire protocol by Steinberg Media Technologies (the creators of Cubase), allowing Live and other programs to share audio and MIDI information with a host DAW. In many ways Live has redefined the role software and computers in general have had in music creation and production. It was among the first programs able automatically to ‘beat match’ (synchronize audio files with different tempos). An integrated Max/MSP platform (a visual programming language) allows users to program their own virtual instruments by linking together pre-made blocks or ‘objects’. Ableton also produces virtual instrument plug-ins and libraries of samples for their Live platform....

Article

A family of portable, bellows fueled, free-reed instruments. The right hand typically has access to a series of piano-like keys or circular buttons that activate melodic tones by allowing air to flow over reeds and set them in oscillation. The left hand has access to a separate set of buttons that regulate bass, chord, and in some cases independent tone sonorities. The term “accordion” may apply to instruments that are either diatonically or chromatically scaled. More specifically, a melodeon is a smaller, diatonic button accordion. Another type, known as a concertina, is made in both diatonic and chromatic tunings and is sometimes distinguished by its polygonal sound box. Most accordions have left-hand side air buttons that, when depressed, allow the bellows to be moved rapidly without sounding a reed tone, or provide more bellows when a performer reaches either the bellows’ conventional limits of extension (draw out) or compression (push in)....

Article

Acheré  

Malena Kuss

[atcheré, güira]

Afro-Cuban vessel rattle of Yoruba origin. It is made from the shell of a güira, totuma, or calabaza fruit, typically about 10 cm in diameter, with rattling objects inserted and a long wooden handle attached. It is associated mostly with the batá drum ensemble in Santería ceremonies involving dancing, and participates in other instrumental groups, such as those for the Regla de Palo Monte, Arará, Gangá, Radá, conga, ...

Article

Robert E. Eliason

(b Dunstable, NH, Aug 21, 1783; d Milford, NH, March 16, 1864). American brass instrument maker. He invented a valve with movable tongues or flaps within the windway. A trumpet in F by Adams with three such valves is displayed on board the USS Constitution; it dates from about 1830. A similar instrument, unsigned, with three primitive rotary valves, is in the Essig Collection, Warrensburg, Missouri. Adams is listed as a musical instrument maker in Longworth’s American Almanack, New-York Register, and City Directory for 1824. For the next four years he was bandmaster on the USS Constitution. About 1828 he settled in Lowell, Massachusetts, continuing there as a musical instrument maker until 1835. The latter part of his life was spent as a machinist and repairer of ships’ chronometers in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He was the composer of at least one published song, The Ruins of Troy, written while on board the ...

Article

John M. Schechter

revised by Alice L. Satomi

Term for several aerophones of the Carajá and Savajé Indians of Brazil. Izikowitz documents it as a ribbon-reed aerophone made from a narrow blade of burity plant fibre that is twisted spirally into a tube and then somewhat flattened. Harcourt calls it an ocarina (vessel flute) with five fingerholes. Krautze calls it a gourd vessel flute having a narrow rectangular opening for an embouchure and two fingerholes on the opposite side, and also gives it the Savajé name ...

Article

Laurence Libin

Term for an anthropo- or zoomorphic ceramic rattle of the pre-Contact Americas. In American archaeology ‘adorno’ (from Sp. adornar, ‘to decorate’) generally refers to a decoration attached to the rim (not the side) of a ceramic vessel. Many adornos have been broken off, perhaps intentionally, and are found separately. A significant number of these attached or detached effigies, typically about 6 cm tall or larger, are hollow and contain well-formed, loose pellets, also made of ceramic and fired together with the effigy and its vessel. In the USA adorno rattles have been found in pre-Mississippian and Mississippian-era sites, most examples dating from about 1200 to 1400 ce. Five examples (preserved by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History), recovered in the late 19th century from the Lake George mound site in the Yazoo-Mississippi River delta, have been studied; their quiet sound has been associated speculatively with the heartbeat of the clan entities represented by the effigies....

Article

Aeolian  

Cynthia Adams Hoover

revised by Edwin M. Good and Barbara Owen

Name associated with a series of American piano, organ, and player piano manufacturers.

Founded by William B(urton) Tremaine (1840–1907), who had begun as a piano maker with Tremaine Brothers in New York City. He formed the Mechanical Orguinette Co. (1878) and the Aeolian Organ & Music Co. (1887; from 1895 the Aeolian Co.) to manufacture automatic organs that used perforated music rolls (see Player organ). Votey, Edwin Scott, inventor of the Pianola, the first practical piano player and the most famous name among automatic piano brands, joined the Aeolian Co. in 1897. Henry B. Tremaine (1866–1932), the founder’s son, tapped a larger market with an extensive advertising campaign for player pianos in the first three decades of the 20th century. In 1913 Aeolian introduced the Duo-Art reproducing piano, a mechanism (fitted in high-quality pianos) that made it possible to record on paper rolls the slightest nuances of dynamics, tempo and phrasing. Many leading pianists were recorded on Duo-Art machines....

Article

Cynthia Adams Hoover

American firm of player piano manufacturers. It was founded by William B. Tremaine, who had begun as a piano builder with Tremaine Brothers. He formed the Mechanical Orguinette Co. in New York (1878) and the Aeolian Organ & Music Co. (by 1888) to manufacture automatic organs and perforated music rolls. His son Harry B. Tremaine sensed the possibility of a larger market and directed the company in an extensive advertising campaign that resulted in the sale of millions of player pianos during the first three decades of the 20th century. In 1913 the company introduced the Duo-Art Reproducing Piano, a sophisticated mechanism (fitted in high-quality pianos) that made it possible to record and reproduce through paper rolls the slightest nuances of dynamics, tempo, and phrasing; a number of leading pianists of that time were recorded in this way.

In 1903 (with a capital of 10 million dollars) Tremaine formed the Aeolian, Weber Piano & Pianola Co., of which the Aeolian Co. formed a significant part; the first successful American piano trust, the parent company eventually controlled such other firms as the Chilton Piano Co., Choralian Co. of Germany and Austria, Mason & Hamlin, Orchestrelle Co. of Great Britain, Pianola Company Proprietary Ltd of Australia, George Steck & Co., Stroud Piano Co., Stuyvesant Piano Co., Technola, Universal Music Co., Vocalian Organ Co., Votey Organ Co., Weber Piano Co., and Wheelock Piano Co. Noted for its development and aggressive marketing of various mechanical instruments, the Aeolian Co. manufactured the Aeriole, Aeolian Orchestrelle Pianola, Metrostyle Pianola, and Aeolian pipe organs. The firm’s offices were in New York where it maintained the Aeolian Concert Hall. In 1931 the company’s organ department merged with the Ernest M. Skinner Co. to form the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co. In 1932 the company merged with the American Piano Corporation (successor of the American Piano Co.) to form the Aeolian American Corporation....

Article

Cynthia Adams Hoover

American piano manufacturer. It was formed as the result of two mergers, the first of which, on 1 Sept 1932, between the Aeolian Co. and the American Piano Corporation (formerly the American Piano Co.), created the Aeolian American Corporation. In May 1959 the assets of the corporation were purchased by Winter & Co. The parent company changed its name to the Aeolian Corporation on 12 June 1964; it retained the name Aeolian American Corporation for the East Rochester division until April 1971 when it was changed to the Aeolian American Division of the Aeolian Corporation.

The corporation acquired the assets (including trademarks, plans, and factories) of many formerly independent American piano companies. Its instruments were made in three cities under the following trade names: Mason & Risch (Toronto); Mason & Hamlin; Chickering; Wm. Knabe & Co. (East Rochester, New York); Cable; Winter; Hardman, Peck; Kranich & Bach; J. & C. Fischer; George Steck; Vose & Sons; Henry F. Miller; Ivers & Pond; Melodigrand; Duo-Art; Musette; and Pianola Player Piano (Memphis, Tennessee). In ...

Article

Barbara Owen

American organ building firm. It was formed in 1931 when the firm of Ernest M(artin) Skinner & Co. acquired the organ department of the Aeolian Co., which had made its reputation building organs with self-playing mechanisms for private houses, changing its name to Aeolian-Skinner. In 1933 there was a reorganization in which G(eorge) Donald Harrison, who had joined Skinner in 1927, became technical director and Skinner’s activities were curtailed. In the same year Skinner, after increasing disagreement with Harrison over tonal matters, began a new company in Methuen, Massachusetts, with his son, Richmond, who had purchased the former Methuen Organ Co. factory and Serlo Hall the previous year.

During the 1930s the Aeolian-Skinner Co. continued to rise in popularity, and in 1940 Harrison became president, succeeding Arthur Hudson Marks (1874–1939), a wealthy businessman who had become its owner and president in 1919. Under Harrison the firm became a leader in the trend away from orchestral tonal practices and towards a more classical sound. It was Harrison who coined the term ‘American Classic’ to refer to this more eclectic type of tonal design. On his death, Joseph S. Whiteford (...

Article

Ágbe  

[ággüe, aggüé, chekeré]

Afro-Cuban rattle. It is a large gourd with a net of beads or seeds on cords around the outside acting as external strikers. It can be shaken or struck with the palm of the hand and might be played in groups of three different sizes, the largest about 50 cm long. Nowadays a tin sphere sometimes substitutes for the gourd; it is distinct from the ...

Article

Agbosí  

John M. Schechter

Double-headed drum of Cuba. It is 30 to 50 cm long and 15 to 25 cm in diameter at its ends, slightly wider in the middle. Initially constructed from a single piece of wood, it was sometimes made of staves, with its heads nailed on. For private religious rituals of the Yoruba-associated Egguado people, its function was to call and greet the female deity Obbá. The calls on the ...

Article

David P. McAllester

revised by J. Richard Haefer

Term used by the Navajo of the southwestern USA for various rattles. It can also denote the decorated stick carried in the Enemyway ceremony, representing the power of Changing Woman and Enemy Slayer. ‘Aghááł nímaazígíí is the name for a wild gourd rattle, ndilkal ‘aghááł that for the Peyote rattle, which is made from a small wild gourd. The ‘adee ‘aghááł vessel rattle is made from a bottle gourd about 16 cm tall, with a wooden handle (usually of cottonwood root) attached through the open end. The gourd is normally painted in ritual designs and may have a small eagle plume attached to the end of the handle that protrudes through the blossom end of the gourd. The feather represents rain clouds and the power of the eagle; the gourd itself connotes plant growth and fertility. The rattle is carried in the yeibichai (‘grandfathers of the gods’) dance of the Nightway ceremony. Masked and painted dancers, the ...

Article

Agida  

J. Richard Haefer

Single-headed cylindrical drum of Suriname. It is played with the tumao and apinti drums and is the lowest sounding of the three. It is made from a hollow log commonly 2 to 3 metres long and about 15 to 20 cm in diameter, though drums vary in size. The head is fastened by cords with tuning wedges. The drum is laid on the ground, the performer kneeling beside it and playing with one stick and one hand. A steady beat is played against which the other two drums improvise. Two tones are achieved by striking either the centre or edge of the head. The ...

Article

K.A. Gourlay

revised by Amanda Villepastour

Lamellaphone of the Ọ̀yọ́ Yorùbá in Nigeria. It has diffused to the Nago peoples of Benin and Lucumí people in Cuba, where it is known as the marímbula. Five adjustable metal tongues are mounted on a large wooden box resonator, which can be 45 cm by 60 cm and 22 cm deep or larger. The instrument is played on the lap, suspended from the neck at waist level so that the tongues can be plucked with the fingers of either hand, or resting on the floor with the player seated. The agídígbo is usually used as part of secular instrumental ensembles such as sákárà, mambo, jùjú, and àpàlà. The Yorùbá instrument has given its name to the Gwari and Fon gidigbo and to the Gwari agijigbo, both five-tongued with box (or old kerosene tin) resonators, and to the agidigo used by some Hausa musicians, notably Audu Karen Gusau, who used instruments of this type either solo or with the hourglass drums (...

Article

Agogo  

James Holland

[Agogo bells]

(from Afro-Brazilian agogô). Percussion instrument. It consists of two conical bells mounted on a sprung steel hoop (it is classified as a percussion idiophone) and is used in samba bands. The player holds the instrument in one hand and strikes the bells with a wooden or metal stick held in the other. A variety of sounds and rhythmic patterns is produced by striking the bells in different spots and squeezing them together. There are also variations on the original, in the form of triple and quattro agogos and a blade agogo, which has a small metal blade between the two bells. There are also wooden agogos: in this case the ‘bells’ are side by side and not on a sprung steel hoop....

Article

Ahpareo  

J. Richard Haefer

[aapaleo]

Diatonic harp with 28 strings of the Yoeme Yaqui Indians of Arizona and Sonora, Mexico, and the Mayo and Guarijio Indians of Northern Mexico. The names derive from the Spanish arpa. Made from cedar or other local woods, the harp is about 160 cm tall, with a straight forepillar made from a local cactus pole, an inverted arch neck with wooden tuning pegs, and a resonator of three or usually five sides and a flat soundtable with three circular sound holes. Traditionally the lower strings are made of wound goat gut which the harpist receives as part of his payment for playing the fiesta. Nowadays the strings are made from monofilament nylon of various sizes with the lower ones wound to a larger diameter. The harp is retuned as the performance proceeds through the night with various segments using different scales. The harp is played together with the lave’leo violin to accompany the dancing of the ...

Article

Aiyam  

J. Richard Haefer

[ayam]

Vessel rattle of the Yoeme Yaqui maso (deer dancer) of Arizona and Northern Mexico and their Mayo neighbours. One is held in each hand. They are made from gourds about 15 cm in diameter but of slightly different sizes and shapes to give different sounds to the various movements of the deer. The inside of the gourd is scraped clean and small pebbles are placed inside. A cottonwood handle about 15 cm long is inserted into the base of the gourd, which is neither painted nor decorated....