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A (i)  

Robert C. Provine

Obsolete Korean barrel drum considered to be of Chinese origin. As described in the treatise Akhak kwebŏm (1493), the a was a brightly decorated bulging barrel drum with small heads. It was 146.8 cm long with a circumference in the middle of 64.4 cm and a head diameter of 18.1 cm. The player lifted the instrument with both hands by means of two cloth loops tied to metal rings in the middle of the body and then pounded it against the ground....

Article

Ābzem  

Jeremy Montagu

Double-headed hourglass drum of the Reddi people of Andhra Pradesh, southeastern India. It is 75 to 90 cm long. Each head, less than 30 cm in diameter, is tensioned separately with cords and wedges through a rope ring around the nearer end of the long cylindrical waist. It is suspended across the body by a neck-strap and beaten with the hands, one hand on each head....

Article

Afiw  

José Maceda

Idioglot Jew’s harp of the northern Philippines. Most are made of bamboo, but some are of brass or bronze with a slender triangular tongue cut through a small sheet of metal, the tongue remaining fully enclosed but attached only at the base of the triangle. Among the Bontok people it is known as the ...

Article

Alastair Dick

A Sanskrit term found in the older, Vedic literature of India (c1500–500 bce). It has often been translated ‘cymbals’, probably by association with the distinct word āghāta (‘percussion’; from han: ‘strike’); the root of āghā ṭá might connect better with gha ṭṭ...

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Slit drum of the Maranao people of the southern Philippines.

Article

Aguang  

Gini Gorlinski

Bronze bossed gong of Minangkabau communities in western Sumatra, Indonesia. It varies in size and pitch but typically measures about 50 cm in diameter and provides a low-pitched rhythmic foundation for various ensembles, particularly the talempong duduak (‘sitting talempong’) gong chime ensemble. Depending on local tradition, the ...

Article

Agung  

José Maceda

Suspended bossed gong of Mindanao, Sulu, Palawan, Mindoro, Sarawak, Sabah, Brunei, peninsular Malaysia, Kalimantan and other parts of Indonesia. There are various sizes. Larger gongs measure approximately 60 cm in diameter, with a boss about 8 cm high and a rim about 24 cm wide. The degree to which the rim is turned in also varies, as do the instrument’s profile, weight and thickness. The smallest ...

Article

Akum  

Geneviéve Dournon

End-blown horn of Madhya Pradesh (Bastar district), India. It is a cow horn 26 to 30 cm long with the end cut out to form the embouchure. The different Bastar tribal populations of Muria and Maria have two kinds of horn: one end-blown and made of horn, the other of bronze and side-blown. They designate them either by the Gondi name ...

Article

Mongolian Jew's harp . See Huur, §2 and Mongol music

Article

Alastair Dick

The old South Indian Tamil name for a double-headed hourglass drum. Its name appears to derive from the Sanskrit āmanrikā (‘summoning’). The drum was held in the right hand and played with the left. It was covered with cowhide and has been equated with the ...

Article

Rachel Chacko

Term for modern ensembles of percussion instruments inspired by Indonesian gamelan models. Growing American interest in Indonesian music in the mid-20th century, fostered in part by commercial recordings and burgeoning academic ethnomusicology programmes, prompted efforts to fashion gamelan-type instruments locally to enable performance of traditional Indonesian and new Western compositions. Dennis Murphy (...

Article

Natalie M. Webber

Double-headed cylindrical drum of Sri Lanka, now rare. It is a small version of the daula, about 30 cm long and beaten with one hand and a stick. It was used to play ana-bera, a drum pattern played by a public crier to draw attention to a proclamation about to be made. As late as the 1980s the services of a crier were still occasionally needed in villages, when the ...

Article

Añafil  

Mauricio Molina

Term for the Arab and Persian nafīr, a straight trumpet. It was introduced to Iberia by the Moors during the Middle Ages. The añafil is commonly represented in Iberian art from the 10th century to the 13th with banners and in the context of battles, and thereafter throughout medieval European iconography....

Article

Alastair Dick and Jeremy Montagu

Variable tension chordophone of Bengal (east India and Bangladesh). Ānandalaharī (‘waves of joy’) appears to be a literary name; in the countryside the instrument is more often called by the onomatopoeic names gubgubī or khamak. The body is a wooden cylinder open at both ends and somewhat barrel-shaped or tapering inward towards the top. The lower opening is completely covered by a skin and the upper by a skin with the centre cut away; both skins are laced to plaited leather hoops and braced by cord V-lacings, each having a metal tuning-ring, giving an inverted Y-shape. (Older models had only a lower skin, glued on.) A gut string is looped through two holes and a protective button (or piece of bamboo etc.) in the centre of the lower skin, passing up through the body as a single or double string to a hole in the bottom of a small brass pot, where the string is attached with another toggle. The body is tucked into the left armpit and the string tensioned by the left hand gripping the small pot; the right hand plucks the string with a small plectrum of bone, plastic, or other material. The tension of the string, and hence its pitch, can be greatly and instantly varied by the left hand to produce a dramatic accompaniment for song or dance; it can play both rhythms and melodies, with swooping portamento leaps within about an octave. The ...

Article

Andelu  

Jeremy Montagu

Rattle used by ballad singers of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is a pair of hollow metal rings about 4 to 5 cm in diameter, open all around the outer circumference and containing metal pellets. The rings are worn on the thumbs or fingers. It is similar to the ...

Article

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Transverse flute of India. It was invented by the surgeon and inventor Chintamani V. Mehendale, M.D. (1928–2008) and first played publicly by him at the University of Mumbai on 25 Oct 1977. Instead of fingerholes producing a limited number of discrete pitches, it has a sliding, spring-loaded external sleeve of canvas covering a channel in the tube. Sliding the sleeve allows a glissando over the full range of pitches, as well as inflections of pitch, similar to those achieved by pulling the strings on the sitar, which are impossible to produce on ordinary flutes....

Article

Laurence Libin

Jew’s harp of Cambodia. It is a thin, narrow, tapering slip of bamboo about 24 cm long, with an idioglot tongue tuned with a blob of beeswax. The bamboo can be decorated with a painted design. It was traditionally used as a voice disguiser in courting and sometimes played for recreation by herders. Nowadays it is available commercially and played by children. Reportedly the name also denotes an iron jew’s harp with heteroglot tongue, also tuned with wax....

Article

Apang  

Geneviève Dournon

Variable tension chordophone of Rajasthan, north India. It has a cylindrical body, originally of wood or gourd but now commonly a tin can with ends removed. A skin is stretched over the lower end. A straight wooden neck about 60 cm long, affixed along the body, has a large movable peg through its upper part. A metal string extends from the peg to the centre of the skin. The musician plucks the string with one hand, using either fingers or a plectrum, and with the other hand turns the peg to vary the pitch. The ...

Article

Short-necked bowed lute of Abkhazia. The pear-shaped body with arched back extends into an unfretted neck surmounted by a flat circular pegdisk. Two gut strings are affixed to a short tailpiece, cross a tall bridge below a small circular soundhole, and are tuned a 5th apart by pegs inserted from the back. The instrument’s total length is about 70 to 80 cm. It is held vertically with the body between the knees, and bowed with a high-arched bow, its hair tightened by the fingers of the bowing hand. It is played mostly by men to accompany epic, ceremonial, and domestic songs, and to perform dance tunes....

Article

Arababu  

Margaret J. Kartomi and Mayco A. Santaella

Indonesian spike fiddle. It is also known as rababo in Bolaang Mongondow (North Sulawesi), as alababu in Gorontalo, as arababoe in Halmahera, and as erbabi in Buru and elsewhere. Its resonator is half a coconut shell, usually covered with a membrane of buffalo bladder as a soundtable. A slender bamboo neck passes through the shell and meets the proximal end of the instrument’s wooden foot. It has a single string of vegetable fibre or cotton. The bamboo bow has resined ‘hair’ of fibre from the sheath of sugar palm leaves....