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Article

Andrew C. McGraw

The particular types of gamelan of Bali, Indonesia; commonly distinguished from Javanese gamelan. Although many ethnomusicologists have categorized gamelan using a taxonomy developed by the Balinese state conservatory, which distinguishes ensembles as ‘old, middle, and new’ (kuno, madya, baru), definitive evidence regarding the emergence of pre-20th-century ensembles is lacking. Authors have alternatively attempted to categorize ensembles by their ceremonial and social function. However, new social and aesthetic contexts have shifted prior associations; practically all extant ensembles now appear in tourist, state, religious, and experimental contexts. Ultimately it might be simplest to organize the ensembles organologically. For information on individual instruments see separate entries. For bibliography see gamelan .

Balinese gamelan appear primarily in bamboo and bronze, and rarely iron, varieties. Ensembles dominated by bamboo instruments are typically smaller and are often associated with secular or recreational social contexts. The joged (pajogedan, joged bumbung) ensemble combines six tingklik...

Article

David P. McAllester

Rattle consisting of small pieces of flint of ritually prescribed shapes and colours used by the Navajo people of the southwestern USA to accompany songs in the Flintway ceremony. The flints are cupped in both hands and shaken to produce a jingling sound. They symbolize the restoration of fractured or dislocated bones as well as the renewal of vitality in general....

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Percussion idiophone widely known in the Americas. Examples include the kalukhaq of the Alaskan Inuit and Native Americans of the northwest coast of North America, the cajón of Cuba and Peru, and the Mexican cajón de tapeo, which supposedly developed as a substitute for the tarima (dance platform). Box drums are also played in the Trinidadian shango cult and on other Caribbean islands. The typical cajón is a rectangular wooden box with a soundhole on the back or side; the box is usually large enough for the player to sit on while striking the front (tapa) with the hands or with sticks. Modern innovations include a padded seat on the top, screws for adjusting the timbre, snares that vibrate against the wood, and a pedal-operated striker. In 2001 Peru declared the cajón part of the nation’s cultural patrimony.

A. Chamorro: Los instrumentos de percusión en México (Zamora, 1984)....

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Vessel rattle of the Flathead Indians of Montana, USA. It is made by cutting a piece of hide and sewing it into a spherical shape, 7 to 12 cm in diameter, with an extension about 10 cm long to wrap around a wooden handle. The hide is wetted and filled with wet sand, then moulded into shape and allowed to dry, and the sand emptied. Small pebbles are inserted as rattle elements, and the handle is secured to the base of the body. Normally the rattle is not decorated either with feathers or paint. When used for the ‘begging around camp’ ceremony it is called ...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Rattle of the Aztec (Nahua) people of pre-Contact Mexico. It was a three-legged clay vase with clay pellets inside the hollow legs. The name also refers to other clay vessels containing seeds, stones, or other pellets. According to Molina (Vocabulario en lengua mexicana, 1571), cacalachtli (‘to sound’) denotes any clay receptacle containing pellets and for ritual use. The ...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

[č’tuá]

Suspension rattle of the Flathead people of Montana, USA. It is a stick about 100 cm long with 20 to 25 split deer hoofs and dewclaws tied near the top. It is carried during the winter spirit dance and medicine dance, when it is struck against the ground to the beat of the song....

Article

[chorromón]

Suspension rattle of the Atacameño people of the Atacamá Desert, province of Antofagasta, northern Chile. It is formed by attaching four to 12 solid objects in a row to a leather thong which is shaken to produce the rattle sound. In pre-Contact times small metal balls were used; nowadays small pellet bells are preferred. It is identical with archaeological specimens of the extinct Diaguita culture. It is played with the ...

Article

Mary Riemer-Weller

revised by J. Richard Haefer

[ciciikwu’n, shishikwun]

Generic term for rattle among the Ojibwe (Ojibwa, Anishinaabe) people in the Great Lakes region of the USA and Canada. Three forms exist. The first, a cylindrical vessel rattle, is made by wrapping birchbark around two wooden disks, with a wooden handle inserted through both discs. The body is 11 to 15 cm tall and 10 to15 cm in diameter, and contains small pebbles or buckshot. The second form is a disc-shaped vessel made from a narrow wooden hoop 20 to 30 cm in diameter and 1 to 3 cm thick, covered on both sides with hide; it contains pebbles or buckshot. A long extension (20 to 30 cm) of the hoop serves as a handle. Usually three of the first type and one of the second are used together by the jaasakiid or dja’sakid (doctor or juggler) and singers in the mĭdé (Grand Medicine religion) and curing rituals. The third type is a combination of a rattle and a frame drum about 24 cm in diameter and 2 to 3 cm thick, with only a few pebbles inside. In the ...

Article

Chad Stephen Hamill

[c’alʼá·kstin]

Suspension rattle of the Native Americans of the Columbia Plateau. It is called čt ʼewá by the Interior Salish and c’al ʼá·kstin by the Sahaptin. Approximately 20 to 50 deer dewclaws, each about 3.5 cm long, are strung together on a buckskin thong 30 to 40 cm long. One or more lengths are wrapped around the ankles (or nowadays the knees) to accentuate ceremonial dancing, or fastened to a wooden staff or cane as used in the Medicine (or Winter) Dance, the oldest ceremony practiced today in the region. Among Sahaptin-speaking groups the ...

Article

Victoria Lindsay Levine

Dance rattle of the Cherokee people of the southern USA. Each rattle consists of four to 20 containers made from box turtle shells or evaporated-milk cans, the number depending upon the dancer’s age and experience and on whether she is wearing shells or cans. The overall size of the rattle is approximately 28 cm by 31 cm, and a pair of rattles weighs about 2.7 kg. The containers are drilled with small soundholes at regular intervals, and each is filled with rounded pebbles. Shells and cans are tied vertically with wire to a leather backing so that they do not strike against each other. Cherokee women wear the rattles during nighttime dances at ceremonial grounds. First they wrap their lower legs with a towel or piece of foam rubber and then tightly tie the rattles on with leather thongs, wearing one rattle on each leg. The choreography involves a quick, double gliding step that provides rhythmic accompaniment to the song in an even subdivision of the beat. Ceremonial dances generally last all night; ideally, once a dancer dons her leg rattles, she wears them until sunrise. Chickasaw, Delaware, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Shawnee, Yuchi (Euchee), and other southeastern Indian female dancers wear similar leg rattles. Each tribe has its own word for leg rattles, for example Creek, ...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Percussion board of the Dena’ina (Tanaina Athabascan) people of Alaska. It is a plank, usually of poplar, about 1 metre long by 25 cm wide and 3 to 4 cm thick. It is struck with two wooden sticks. Two holes about 4 cm in diameter are drilled near each end of the board for cords that suspend it from the rafters of the ceremonial house. The board may be decorated with the tail of a sea mammal at one end and the head at the other, or with other clan symbols such as the raven or beaver. The board is used to accompany singing in the potlatch ceremonies. The Yup’ik of Siberia have a similar instrument....

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Term for a percussion idiophone of Native Americans in the present-day USA. It is a plank or log stamped upon rhythmically. Planks are used in the kivas of the Pueblo Indians, in the Northwest and the Great Basin, while inverted hollowed logs are found in California. The plank or log may be placed over a shallow hole in the ground which acts as a resonator and may either be danced upon or beaten with sticks. In the Northeast a sheet of birch bark may be placed over a hole and struck with beaters, and boxes and poles are found as similar instruments in the Northwest....

Article

Klisala Harrison

[raven rattle; sheishoox]

Zoomorphic vessel rattle of the Tsimshian people of the North American Pacific Northwest Coast. Indigenous oral histories suggest that the concept of the ‘raven rattle’ originated with the Tsimshian, but it is also used by the Haida, Nuuchahnulth, Coast Salish, Kwakwaka’wakw, and Tlingit. The Tlingit, the most prolific carvers of the rattle, call it sheishoox, a seemingly onomatopoeic word.

The rattle is made of two hollowed sections of yellow cedar, alder, or maple wood. The outside is carved with a knife and polished with sharkskin or sandpaper. The handle is the bird’s tail. Typical dimensions are 10 cm wide and deep by 30 to 40 cm long. Small stones or buckshot are placed inside, and the two halves are sewn together with thin strips of vegetal fibre through small holes bored in the wooden pieces, one, two, or three stitches on each side. Withes bind the two halves of the handle together....

Article

Victoria Lindsay Levine

Vessel rattle of the Cherokee people of the southern USA. Cherokee singers make their own handheld rattles. A hollow gourd, coconut shell, or terrapin carapace is partially filled with round pebbles and drilled with small soundholes; a wooden handle about 30 cm long is inserted lengthwise through the container. The rattles may be decorated with feather pendants. Song leaders play them to support the song’s pulse and to signal changes in direction or choreography during communal dances performed at ceremonial grounds. The male song leader holds the rattle in his right hand and shakes it while singing and dancing at the head of the line of dancers. He plays a tremolo to indicate the start and end of individual songs within a longer series; during a song, he plays steady, evenly spaced beats. Similar rattles are used to accompany communal dances among the Chickasaw, Delaware, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Shawnee, and Yuchi (Euchee), and in the 18th century were used by the Choctaw. Each tribe has its own word for such rattles; for example, Creek, ...

Article

Hirukis  

J. Richard Haefer

[hirukiam]

Rasp or scraper of the Yoeme Yaqui Indians of Arizona and Northern Mexico. A hardwood stick about 4 cm wide by 50 to 60 cm long has a series of small grooves cut into the bottom two-thirds. The unnotched part of the stick serves as a handle when the distal end is placed on top of half a gourd about 20 cm diameter, inverted in a pail of water which acts as a resonator. The rasp is scraped by a second stick in time with the singing of the ...

Article

Mary Riemer-Weller

revised by J. Richard Haefer

[u’us hikiat, hiokat]

Scraper of the Tohono O’odham (Papago) Indians of Southern Arizona and Northern Mexico. Two types are used by the O’odham. The hiwculdakuḍ (‘thing with which one rubs’) is made from a stick of hard wood (u:pad [catclaw, Acacia Greggii] or ho’idkam [ironwood, Olneya tesota]) about 50 to 60 cm long and 3 to 5 cm diameter, with 10 to 12 deep notches cut widely apart along the length. The distal end is placed on an inverted basket on the ground that serves as a resonator, and the notches are rubbed with a short stick of the same material, producing a sound like blowing wind and rain. It is used to accompany curing and other ritual songs.

The u’us hikiat (‘jagged wood’, Densmore’s hiokat) is made from segoi (greasewood, Sarcobatus vermiculatus) or kui (mesquite, Prosopis velutina), softer woods yielding a lighter sound. The thin stick has shallow cuts spaced closely together. Though it can be played without a resonator, most performers nowdays use a basket resonator. It is used to accompany ...

Article

Hoa  

Mary Riemer-Weller

revised by J. Richard Haefer

[tamoa]

Idiophone scraper and drum of the Tohono O’odham (Papago) Indians of southern Arizona and northern Mexico. A common household woven basket about 25 to 45 cm in diameter and 10 to 15 cm deep is inverted and held in the crook of the left arm. It is scraped with a stick across the basket’s ribs during the first part of a song and beaten with the stick in the second part. Older baskets woven from willow branches are preferred over the modern baskets woven from yucca fibre over a bear grass foundation. Densmore indicates that the basket was inverted on the ground and played by several singers simultaneously. Nowadays it is usually played by one person. Russell wrote that among the Akimel O’odham (Pimans) the hoa made from willow branches could be beaten softly with the hand at the beginning of songs instead of being scraped. The Pimas sometimes substitute a cardboard box if a basket is not available....

Article

J. Richard Haefer

(Apache: ísal, ‘pot’ or ‘bucket’; ‘bucket bound around’)

Water drum of the Apache people of Arizona and New Mexico. A large iron pot or kettle with the handle removed is partially filled with water and sacred materials (corn pollen and ash). A buckskin head (or nowadays sometimes rubber from a truck tire inner tube) is lashed tightly over the opening with buckskin thongs or strips of cloth or inner-tube rubber, with the excess skin or rubber draped around the pot. Historically a large pottery vessel was used; there is no evidence for use of a wooden vessel. The drumstick, of pine, is wrapped in buckskin at the distal end.

The drum accompanies singing, secular and religious (na-i-es, girl’s puberty ceremony; edotal, diagnostic; gojital, curing). It is usually played in groups of four with the performers standing and holding the drums under the left elbow, but in the curing rites it is held in the lap of a seated player. The earliest representation of the drum is a painting by George Catlin of ...

Article

Richard Keeling

Strung rattle of the Hupa and other native peoples of California. The Maidu call it temsisili. It is a cluster of deer hooves or dew claws tied to a wooden or bone handle 30 to 45 cm long. When shaken, the hooves create a sharp clicking sound. Among tribes of northern California and the San Joaquin Valley, it is used in the girls’ puberty ceremony. Luiseño hunters shook the rattle for luck before setting out for deer. Other southern California tribes such as the Chumash, Fernandeños, and Gabrielinos used it in mourning ceremonies....

Article

Mary Riemer-Weller

[ka’wásta’] (Seneca: ‘stick’)

Stamping sticks of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois Confederation peoples of northeastern North America. The sticks, used in pairs, are hickory wood poles from 1.5 to 1.8 m long and about 5 cm in diameter. They are held vertically by two women of the towisas (society of women planters) and are used to beat time to the songs of the women’s rite, performed at the Green Corn and Midwinter ceremonies. According to Seneca belief, the stamping is said to represent thunder, wind, and rain....