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John M. Schechter

revised by J. Richard Haefer

(Sp.: mocha, ‘to cut’)

An ensemble of gourd (puro) trumpets of various sizes, used in the Chota river valley of Imbabura and Carchi provinces of Ecuador. Formed in the late 19th century by Afro-Ecuadorians without access to Western military band instruments, the ensemble includes several puros (calabazas) and pencos (cabuyos) along with other instruments. Puros, about 30 to 60 cm long, are made by cutting a rectangular blowhole near the stem end of a dried gourd and opening the distal end to form a sort of bell. Various sizes provide lead, alto, and tenor ranges. Pencos are made of hollow agave stems about 30 cm long and 7 cm in diameter, with a blowhole cut near one end on a side. The similar chile frito, an ensemble of central Guerrero, Mexico, consists of imitation band instruments made of assembled sections of gourds.

C.A. Coba Andrade: ‘Instrumentos musicales ecuatorianos’, ...


Anne Beetem Acker

Interactive computer network used as an extended musical instrument, played by a San Franciso Bay–area experimental computer network band also called The Hub. The band, founded in 1985 by Tim Perkis and John Bischoff, evolved from the League of Automatic Music Composers (1978–83). The concept of The Hub is to create live music resulting from the unpredictable behaviour of the interconnected computer system. The composer/performers consider their performances a type of ‘enhanced improvisation’.

Initially The Hub provided a custom-built central ‘mailbox’ computer and made use of a MIDI network providing communication between the composer/performers’ synthesizers. With the maturation of commercial MIDI equipment, the band shifted to using the Opcode Studio V multiport MIDI interface for their hub. Since MIDI is designed to allow one player or computer to control a group of synthesizers but not to allow a network of synthesizers to interact, band member Scot Gresham-Lancaster devised a way to program the system so the Opcode Studio V could route messages among all the synthesizers in the network....



Edmond T. Johnson

A compact personal computer specifically designed for portability, which may serve various functions related to musical performance and composition. Though portable computers were commercially available in the 1970s, it was only in the early 1980s that the laptop took on its now nearly ubiquitous hinged form. While early laptops were sometimes used by musicians for ancillary tasks such as sequencing and patch editing, their limited data storage, expandability, and processing power—all of which compared unfavorably with contemporary desktop computers—generally prevented them from functioning as the generative source for a musical performance. By the late 1990s, however, significant advances in technology, coupled with dramatic reductions in price, allowed the laptop rapidly to achieve popularity as an independent locus of music-making for composers and performers of both popular and electronic art music. As desktop computers are capable of running the same range of software as laptops, the preference for the latter among many electronic musicians reflects the advantages offered by the device’s compact form and consequent portability, and not any difference in intrinsic functionality....



Robert Stevenson

(Sp. ‘sixes’)

From the 16th century to the 19th, the choirboys who sang polyphony in the cathedrals of Seville, Toledo, Avila, Segovia, Mexico City, Lima and elsewhere in the Spanish-speaking world were called seises – six being their traditional number at Seville and Toledo cathedrals. The earliest papal bulls designating the income from a prebend for a master of the choirboys in Seville Cathedral were Eugene IV’s Ad exequendum (24 September 1439) and Nicolas V’s Votis illis (27 June 1454). Throughout the next three centuries Seville Cathedral (which set the pattern for the Spanish Indies) had both a master of the altar boys who sang only plainchant, and a master of the seises, generally the maestro de capilla or his deputy. The master of the seises boarded and taught them. When their voices changed, and upon receiving a certificate of good behaviour, they were entitled to a few years’ free tuition and other benefits in the Colegio de S Miguel or in the Colegio de S Isidoro maintained by the Sevillian Chapter. Similar ...


J. Richard Haefer

Collective name for the duct flute and drum used by the Yoeme Yaqui Indians of Arizona and northern Mexico. It is played when both the maso (deer dancer) and pahko’ola (pascola) dancers are dancing at the same time. The flute, called kusia or cuzia, has two fingerholes and a thumbhole. It is made from cane that grows in the Yaqui river basin. Two sections of cane, each 20 to 25 cm long, are joined at a node by carving one end so it can slide inside the other tube; the V-shaped toneholes are in the lower section. A mouthpiece is formed by undercutting the proximal end of the cane and inserting a smaller piece of cane beneath, held in place by a peg to make an internal duct to direct the airflow against a V-shaped lip cut in the upper surface of the top section.

The drum, called ...