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Article

John M. Schechter

Mandolin widely used as a folk instrument in Latin America. The instruments of the mestizos and Quechuas in highland Ecuador have a teardrop-shaped body with a flat back and a circular sound hole and are made from cedar, pine, and other woods. They have five triple courses of metal strings and are played with a plectrum. Several tunings are found; in the region of Cotacachi, Imbabura Province, one tuning is g–e♭″–c–g–e♭″; a more popular tuning is eee–aaa–ddd–f♯″f♯′f♯″–bbb″. The latter tuning is often varied in the fourth course to gg′g″ to facilitate guitar-like chord fingerings. In the Andean region the bandolín, together with the rondador and the charango, accompanies sanjuanito...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Bass guitar of Puerto Rico. The body is about 15 to 18 cm deep, 45 cm wide across the lower bouts, 15 cm wide at the waist, and about the same width across the narrow upper bouts. The fingerboard is about 66 cm long and the overall length about 90 cm. Normally there are five single strings or (most commonly) bichords, but examples with six single strings or four bichords exist; the most common five-course tuning is A–D–F#–g–e′ with some bichords in octaves. Mechanical tuners are used nowadays. The neck is thick and the ebony fingerboard extends to the middle of the soundhole only slightly lifted from the soundtable; it has 17 full wooden frets and several partial frets near the soundhole. Two small soundholes are located above the large one flanking the fingerboard. Originally carved from a single piece of cedar with a separate soundtable, the bordonúa is nowadays assembled in sections like a guitar....

Article

Canari  

J. Richard Haefer

Guitar-like plucked chordophone of the Huichol (Wixáritari or Wirr’ariki) people of west-central Mexico. It is slightly larger than a violin. Typically the soundbox, neck (with four to six frets), nut, and pegboard are carved from a single piece of wood, and a thin piece of cedar serves as a soundtable; the soundbox is only slightly waisted or even oval. A bridge is attached to the soundtable using glue from a local plant. The four or five strings can be of metal, monofilament nylon, or gut. It is played with the ...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Folk guitar of the Nahua people of the Huastecan region of central Mexico. It is smaller than a normal guitar (55 cm long overall), is unfretted, and has four strings of natural fibre or nowadays monofilament nylon. It possibly is named from its geographical area of use (a municipality in the state of Hidalgo), and is played in both religious and secular ensembles....

Article

Trân Quang Hai

Idiochord tube zither of the Mnong people of central Vietnam. It is made from the stem between two nodes of the giant rlaa bamboo, the strings being cut from the surface along half its length and, remaining attached, raised from the tube by bridges. The six strings have the same names and the same order as the members of the Mnong ...

Article

Henry Sapoznik

(b Brooklyn, NY, Oct 4, 1912; d Plantation, FL, March 18, 2000) American klezmer clarinetist, saxophonist, and violinist. Though born in the United States, he was considered an equal of the great European klezmer clarinetists such as Dave Tarras and Naftule Brandwein.

Beginning his career at age 12 playing violin for silent movies, Epstein mastered the clarinet and later the saxophone, and played regularly on the Yiddish stage, on the radio, and in concert. The Epstein Brothers, including Max, Willie (trumpet), Isidore, or “Chizik” (clarinet) and Julie (drums), dominated the New York Jewish music scene for nearly three decades. They are best known for their playing in the Hasidic community in postwar New York, where they became the pre-eminent orchestra. They issued several recordings, including the classic LP Dukes of Freilachland (1958).

After a disastrous investment in a Yiddish theater, Max and his brothers abandoned New York for Florida, where they continued to play for weddings and parties. The number of people who requested the music they had mastered steadily diminished throughout the 1960s, however. The renewed interest in klezmer music in the 1970s brought them out of retirement. Their career was further enhanced when keyboard player Pete Sokolow (...

Article

Guajira  

William Gradante

A Cuban narrative song form. Derived from rural folk tradition, it was still popular in rural and urban areas at the end of the 20th century as a significant popular music genre, part of the canción cubana complex. Characterized by improvised décimas (octosyllabic verse form), it was originally set strophically to traditional Spanish melodies called tonadas. The décimas, often celebrating the local region or amorous in content, characteristically use double meaning to convey subtle, picaresque humour. In two parts, the first in a minor mode, the second major, the guajira is usually accompanied in strict tonic-dominant harmony on various Cuban guitars, originally including the bandurria (flat-backed lute), and claves (two round sticks one knocked on top of the other to beat out key rhythms). Frequent alternation of 3/4 and 6/8 with vertical hemiola and high-pitched vocal melodies are typical. It can also use the punto guajiro form which uses either a fixed pattern or free. When fixed, the guitar or ...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

[juspeña, guitarra quinta]

Five-stringed guitar of Mexico, probably originating in the Tecalitlán area of Jalisco. It was one of the earliest mariachi instruments. It is also colloquially known as quinta or jarana (not to be confused with the jarana huasteca or jarana jarocha). Typically it has a soundbox 33 cm long, 31 cm wide (maximum), and 11 cm deep; a 32 cm neck (4 cm of the fingerboard overlapping flat on the soundboard) with 12 metal frets; and 56 cm string length. The soundhole is decorated with nácar (mother-of-pearl) and wood inlay in a starburst pattern, and the purfling has intricate limoncillo wood inlay. The five wooden pegs are inserted from the rear of the pegboard, which has distinctively curved sides and two open f-holes between the pegs. The woods used to build golpes are the same as those for guitarrones.

Tunings used nowadays including the following: d–g–b–e–a (used by Gaspar Vargas); ...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Large guitar of Mexico. It is played as the bass instrument in mariachi and other Mexican ensembles. The guitarrón mexicano (literally ‘large Mexican guitar’) is shaped like a guitar but with deep sides and a V-arched back. Typically it has a soundbox 63 cm long with a 48 cm maximum width and maximum depth of 21 cm at the sides plus an additional 9 cm to the apex of the back. The fretless neck terminates in a pegboard with pegs inserted from the rear. A 10 cm soundhole on the ...

Article

Gŭm  

[geum]

Long zither of Korea, the equivalent of the Chinese guqin. It has seven silk strings, and inlaid marks on the soundtable indicating finger positions to obtain harmonic overtones. Nowadays, as with many other traditional Korean instruments, it is used only in Confucian ritual music. Various modern Korean zithers use many more strings; for example, the North Korean ...

Article

Sorab Modi

revised by Sarah Eyerly

(Ruth )

(b Los Angeles, CA, May 14, 1961). American violinist and violin teacher. She received her first violin lessons from her mother in 1963 and began formal study with Eunice Wennermark at six and Manuel Compinsky at age seven. As a child she played for jascha Heifetz and at the ages of 16 and 17 she studied with josef Gingold . At the age of seven she performed as soloist in Bach’s Violin Concerto in A minor under the direction of Compinsky. She made her professional debut in 1973, performing Mendelssohn’s Concerto with the New York PO under André Kostelanetz. In 1975 she made her European debut with the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich, where she attended master classes given by nathan Milstein in the years 1974–6. She won second prize in the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1978, the youngest woman ever to do so. Jenson is an honorary citizen of Costa Rica and was appointed Distinguished Professor of Music at Grand Valley State University’s Pew Campus in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She has performed extensively with major orchestras in the United States and undertaken tours of Europe, Australia, Japan, the Soviet Union, and Latin America. One of the finest violinists of her generation, she has made recordings of the Sibelius Violin Concerto with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra and of two Brahms sonatas. In ...

Article

Kakosh  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Fiddle of the Holo people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has a cylindrical wooden resonator with integral neck holding two or three vegetable-fibre strings. The soundboard, usually of soft wood and replaced often, is either loosely laid or nailed upon the resonator. Some instruments have a head sculpted at the end of the neck. ...

Article

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Braced Musical bow of the Lunda people of Kasayi-Shaba, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has an attached half-calabash resonator. The bow is held vertically near the lower end by the left hand so that the middle finger can extend to touch the string lightly. The open end of the calabash is placed against the player’s chest and raised from time to time to modulate the sound and emphasize different overtones. The instrument is used mostly to accompany singing. Other names reported are ...

Article

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Article

K.A. Gourlay

revised by Ferdinand J. de Hen

[kudrenene]

Ground zither of the Daka, Mamvu, Mangutu, Balese, Logo, Mayanga, and Nkundo peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A pit is dug about 25 to 30 cm deep and 20 cm in diameter, and covered with a piece of bark, which is pegged to the ground. From the centre of the bark rises a vertical stick supporting a single string that is also pegged to the ground at both ends. The two segments of the string are of different lengths and produce two different notes. The instrument is played by two boys, each with two sticks. One strikes the left segment of the string, the other the right. Other names reported for this instrument are kuzegne (Balese), kakalari (Logo), nedongu (Mangbetu), tindi de kileru, kudrugu (Kilima and Andernanza), kikilo, and dzi-dzingba.

LaurentyC, 110 B. Costermans: ‘Muziekinstrumenten van Watsa-Gombari en omstreken’, Zaïre, 1 (1947), 629–63 J.-S. Laurenty: L’Organologie du Zaïre...

Article

Laúd  

John M. Schechter

(Sp.)

Term (from Arab. ‘Ūd) for the lute, which was introduced to Spain by Arabs during the 13th century. Together with bandurria and guitars, it appears in folk ensembles known as rondallas and is used to accompany song and dance forms such as the jota (see Spain §II 4....

Article

J. Richard Haefer

[labaleo]

Violin of the Yoeme Yaqui Indians of Arizona and Northern Mexico. It is a variant of the European violin, made from local woods. The Yaqui and Mayo Indians originally learned violin making from missionaries in the 18th century. The instrument is used to accompany the pahko’ola (pascola) dancers. There is no standard size, but most are close in size to the modern violin. They lack a separate bass bar and are not varnished. The four strings can be either normal violin strings or made from monofilament nylon; the bridge is usually purchased. Tunings vary in patterns of 4th and 5ths between adjacent strings according to the series of songs played throughout the night, and are referred to by the names of animals. The bow is hand made and a peg is inserted in the frog end to tighten the horsehair, which might or might not be woven into strands. Two violinists play in 3rds or 6ths accompanied by the ...

Article

Ma’wo  

Mary Riemer-Weller

revised by Richard Keeling

[mawu, mawuwi]

Musical bow of the native peoples of northern California and the San Joaquin Valley. The Yokut name is ma’wo; the Maidu term mawu or mawuwi; other Maiduan groups call it pan’da, and the Kato name is cele (‘singing’). It is the only string instrument used by native peoples of California, but musical bows are also found among the Tlingit of Alaska and the Carrier of northwest Canada. Among some Maiduan groups the bow was made especially for musical purposes and used by shamans for communicating with spirits. Some authorities say the shaman’s bow was rubbed with human blood. Most cultures including the Yokuts use a normal hunting bow, but more elaborate versions with a central bridge are also found. The Yurok played a regular hunting bow for amusement. The quiet bow sound was sometimes augmented by humming.

The method of playing was similar for all types. The bow was held in the left hand with most of the instrument projecting towards the player’s right side. The wooden part of the lower end, or sometimes the string, was held between the teeth or in front of the open mouth; the string was either plucked with the fingers of the right hand, or was struck lightly with the fingernails, a twig, or a bone. The mouth cavity was used as a resonating chamber and different notes could be produced by varying its size and shape....

Article

Mapuíp  

J. Richard Haefer

Mouth bow of the forest-dwelling Moré Indian culture of eastern Bolivia. It consists of a small strip of palm frond 15 to 20 cm long and 2 to 3 cm wide, with two strings of palm fibre attached. One end of the frond is put into the mouth and supported by the teeth; the other end is supported by one hand. The other hand rubs a small stick (20 cm long) on the strings, which are moistened with saliva. The instrument accompanies lovers’ songs....

Article

Nolin  

Andrew C. McGraw

A modern keyed zither of Bali, Indonesia. It resembles the Japanese taisho-goto. Four to six guitar strings are stretched across the resonator, a shallow wooden box approximately 55 cm long and 20 cm wide, often elaborately carved, painted, and gilt in the manner of many Balinese gamelan instruments. The instrument is placed on the ground before a musician sitting cross-legged. The strings are hitched at the right end of the box and cross a metal bridge over which a wooden guard is placed where the player rests his right hand, strumming all of the strings together with a guitar pick. A small soundhole pierces the soundtable to the left of the bridge. The strings then pass under a keyboard of seven to 12 metal levers with small circular touches resembling typewriter keys, which, when depressed by the fingers of the left hand, each bring a metal bar down upon all of the strings, stopping them against a narrow wooden board (equivalent to a fingerboard) glued to the top of the box. The strings then pass over a metal nut (the same shape as the bridge) and are tuned with small guitar tuners at the left end. Tuning is not standard but most players tune the first two strings to the same pitch, two more an octave above. Some players tune one or two of the strings to the fifth....