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Article

Ivan Mačak

Percussion idiophone of Slovakia; the name means ‘miner’s clapper’. Like the sklárska klepačka (glassmaker’s clapper), it was a narrow, long wooden board that was struck with a wooden hammer. It usually signalled the beginning of work but was also used to signal fires, mining accidents, danger to the town, the burial of miners, and times of celebration. The first record of the miner’s ...

Article

Baraban  

Inna D. Nazina

[barabanka]

Double-headed drum of the eastern Slavs (Ukraine, Belarus, and western regions of Russia). It is known in Belarus in two forms: the drum alone and, influenced by Turkish fashion since the 18th century, with a pair of cymbals mounted on the shell. The baraban is held with the heads vertical and is struck with a wooden beater, often tipped with leather. It is traditionally used in folk ensembles (with violin, clarinet, dulcimer, and accordion) that play at weddings and dances. According to Russian chronicles the drum was used also as a military instrument from the 11th century. The terms ‘baraban’ or ‘ruchnoy baraban’ are also used for the Buben. The baraban of Circassia and Dagestan is struck by hand rather than with a stick.

Among Russians, Komi, and the Veps, the baraban is also a pastoral percussion beam made of birch and beaten with two sticks. It is used for signals and to accompany ...

Article

Arvydas Karaška

(pl.: barškučiai)

Shaken rattle of Lithuania. It consists of an inflated dried animal bladder or a bird gullet filled with peas or small stones. The bladder is suspended on a cord stretched between the forks of a Y-shaped stick with a handle. Such rattles were usually made for babies. Barškučiai were also made of baked clay containing stones, by children and shepherds. They were either shaken by hand or rolled on the ground. Home-made ...

Article

Basedla  

Arvydas Karaška

Folk bass fiddle of Lithuania. It is shaped like a double bass and varies in size from that of a cello to a double bass. The body is assembled from pieces of fir and maple, or sometimes ash or birch wood. The tuning mechanism is a system of cogwheels and metal pegs as on a double bass, or occasionally wooden pegs as on a cello. The basedla has three (less often two or four) gut or metal strings, usually tuned in 4ths to match the pitch of the instruments it accompanies, such as the concertina, birbune (folk clarinet), and clarinet. The short home-made bow is called bosiklis. A large basedla is played standing, smaller ones are held like a cello.

The basedla made its way into folk music from palace or manor-house orchestras. Often played in village bands for weddings, dances, and occasionally funerals, the basedla was used throughout Lithuania and was especially popular in Samogitia (western Lithuania). The ...

Article

Inna D. Nazina

[basolya, bas]

Bass fiddle of Belarus and Ukraine. Some are the size of a cello; others are as large as a conventional double bass. The three or four strings are tuned in 5ths and 4ths. The three-string type is commonly used in the southwest of Belarus, while four-string basses are endemic to parts of the west, central, and northern regions. Both are used in folk instrumental ensembles that perform mainly dance music and wedding marches. In southern ensembles the basetlya typically accompanies one or more violins and a double-headed drum; in central Belarus it traditionally joins a violin, a dulcimer, and a frame drum; in the north it plays with a violin, a clarinet, an accordion, and a double-headed drum. The basetlya first appeared in the 18th century, when professional orchestras (‘capellas’) were developed at the courts of Belarusian-Polish magnates. Both sizes of basetlya were made locally by general woodworkers, not by specialized luthiers; hence their construction, appearance, and tone vary widely....

Article

Basy  

Jan Stęszewski

[basetla]

Bass fiddle of Poland. It can be from 100 to 140 cm long; the body is sometimes carved from one piece of wood, apart from the top. It has two to four strings tuned usually in 5ths, or 4ths and 5ths. For example, in the Tatra mountains the tuning is ...

Article

Bazuna  

Slightly conical wooden horn from the Kaszuby region of Poland. The name possibly comes from German Posaune. It is commonly made from alder or spruce in two rejoined halves in the manner of an alphorn, about 1 to 1.5 metres long, and produces four to eight harmonics. It is traditionally played by shepherds and fishermen. Similar Polish instruments include the ...

Article

Bęben  

Zbigniew J. Przerembski

Term for different types of Polish drums struck with drumsticks. The main types are a single-headed frame drum with jingles or small bells attached (also known as the bębenek, ‘small drum’), widespread in Poland; and a cylindrical two-headed braced drum found largely in the Kalisz region, where it was formerly made from a hollowed log. Such drums are used in various kinds of ensemble, usually with fiddles, in some regions with the bass fiddle but at least since the 19th century never with bagpipes....

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Beme  

Article

Bika  

Hungarian friction drum. It can be made of a wooden or metal bucket with the open end covered by a stretched membrane, usually of sheepskin. A horsehair cord passes through a hole in the skin and is tied to a small rod underneath. The cord is rubbed by wetted hands to produce a deep bellowing sound. The bika is used by the Csángó (a Hungarian ethnic group living in Romania) mainly for New Year rituals, and is identical to the Romanian Buhai of Moldavia....

Article

Bilbil  

Ardian Ahmedaja

Whistle of Albanians. About 10 cm long, it is made mostly of willow or similar wood in the spring when the bark can be pulled without breaking. One end has a beaked mouthpiece, and there is only one fingerhole. A pebble or seed is sometimes put in the hollow to produce a rolling sound. Other names are cyli in Kavajë (central Albania) and pipi in Kosovo. Bilbil are also incorporated into the handles of wood spoons, called lugëfyllka (spoon-flute) in southeastern Albania, and in the top of a shepherd’s crook.

A variant called stërkalca is known in Peshkopi (north Albania). Its hollow is bigger and is filled with water, which sprinkles (stërkat) while the instrument is blown. In Korçë (southeast Albania) whistles are made in the shape of earthenware jugs, shtambushka or bardhaçkag; these have a hole on the body near the beginning of the spout and are played with or without water. In southeast Albania this type has been produced in the shape of birds, cocks, lambs, sheep, and more....

Article

Article

Bion  

Article

Arvydas Karaška

Article

Birgit Kjellström

[kohorn]

Swedish signal horn. A ram’s or bovine horn would be boiled or otherwise softened and the soft parts scraped out; then the tip was sawn off and an aperture made in the end to serve as a mouthpiece. The bockhorn was used until at least the end of the 19th century, mainly in connection with herding cattle, but also as a signal in hunting or fishing and as a means of outdoor communication. The horn (known also as vallhorn, tuthorn, tjuthorn, or björnhorn) was used for calling the cattle and for frightening away wild animals; for the latter use the kvickhorn, taken from the living animal, was supposed to have special magical power. Drilled with three or four fingerholes, the horn was also known as the lekhorn, låthorn, spelhorn, prillarhorn, fingerhorn, and many other names, derived either from the instrument’s function or its substance. Similar or identical horns are used all over the Baltic region. Archaeological discoveries of bovine horns with fingerholes date from the Iron Age....

Article

Boembas  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

[blaze-vere, Vlaamse bas]

Flemish bowed monochord. There are three types: 1) a bow stave with a bladder held between the string and the stave; 2) a stick zither with the bladder between the string and a small board fixed to the stick; and 3) a wooden bow affixed at one end in a hole in a board, held in a strong curve by a string looped around the other end and passing through two small holes in the board and knotted below it, clasping a bladder between the arms of the loop. Bells can be added. The name boembas is onomatopoeic. The stick zither type is analogous to the bumbass. The boembas was formerly played from All Saints Day until Carnival; attempts have been made to revive it. It seems to be unknown in the French-speaking parts of Belgium.

F.J. de Hen: ‘Folk Instruments in Belgium’, GSJ, vol.25 (1972), 110–12.

See also Bumbass...

Article

Borija  

Zdravko Blažeković

Bark horn of Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia. In Slovenia it is called trompenta and the term Rog is also used in these areas. The Romanian equivalent is called trâmbiţă or tulnic, Ukrainian trembyta, Polish trombita. It is a conical tube from 20 cm to more than a metre long, made from coiled willow or ash-tree bark, sometimes with a cylindrical mouthpiece. Shepherds (mostly children) use it in spring as a signalling instrument. In Herzegovina a similar horn called rikalo or bušen is made of coiled ash-tree bark, about 20 to 30 cm long, and in northeastern Serbia it is made of linden bark about 1.5 to 2 metres long or longer. Bušen can be also made of willow or ash wood split lengthwise, hollowed, reattached, and reinforced by metal rings. The longer instruments are rested on the ground or on a support when played, like an alphorn. In all these areas, these horns are blown in the rituals of St George to protect animals from evil spirits. In Bosnia and Herzegovina the word ...

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Boru  

Article

Botagas  

Arvydas Karaška

(Lithuanian: ‘whip’)

Triple whip of Lithuania. Three strands of hemp or linen thread are fastened to a linen loop attached to a juniper handle. Twisted horsehair or tangled wire (papliauška) is fastened to the whip. A variant of the botagas, called butkudis, is made of osier twigs. The botagas was in use until the middle of the 20th century; when farm animals were being grazed, children and shepherds cracked the whip and competed to produce the strongest sound. At weddings, guests disguised themselves as Roma and cracked the ...

Article

Bouhe  

Claudie Marcel-Dubois

Vernacular name for the bagpipe of the Landes region of Gascony. It is the only variety of the French bagpipe with two parallel pipes (melody and drone) bored in the same piece of wood. Each pipe is provided with a single beating reed; in this the bouhe is similar to Arab bagpipes and those of central Europe and the Balkans....