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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

[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

J. Richard Haefer

Generic term for Anglo instruments used by the Tohono O’odham (Papago) Indians of Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora, Mexico. Piastakuḍ (‘fiesta thing’) refers to those instruments used to perform waila (social dance music; from the Spanish bailar, called ‘chicken scratch’ by Anglos) and pascola dance tunes. They include the gi:dal (guitar), kuikud (flute, saxophone, trumpet, or clarinet), wi:olin (violin), a:lpa (harp), wañamdam (accordian), and tamblo (drum). In the mid-19th century the O’odham began to borrow polka, schottische, and two-step tunes played by guitar, saxophone, accordion, and drums from nearby Anglo communities and incorporate them within their all-night keihina social dance, imparting to them the O’odham concepts of traditional ñe’i (song), that is, assigning specific songs to certain portions of the dance cycle: sundown songs, midnight songs, sunrise songs. O’odham distinctly consider these songs and instruments as their own and not as Anglo music. In like manner, pascola, with harp and violin, was borrowed from their neighbouring Yaqui Indians....

Article

Raberi  

J. Richard Haefer

[raveli]

Violin of the Rarámuri (Tarahumara) people of Chihuahua, Mexico. The instruments have the basic European violin shape although the size and proportions vary; some are as large as a viola. Traditionally, the four strings were made from goat gut, but nowadays nylon and metal strings are normal. The bridge might be handmade or commercially mass-produced. Local woods such as ash, maple, pine, and willow are used for the top and back, and fresh, green wood that bends easily is used for the bouts, which can have a distinctly squared shape. Traditionally, the woods are glued with gum from the roots of the ŕako plant.

Typically, the fingerboard, of inóko (a local hardwood), extends to the top of the C- or f-shaped soundholes. The soundholes often end in a small circle or a cluster of two or three small circles. The tailpiece is attached with cord or wire to an extension of the back; there is no endpin. The nut is part of the one-piece neck and pegbox. The pegbox might terminate in a carved scroll but usually does not. The bow, made from ...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

[tsii' edo'a'tl] (Apache: ‘wood singing’) [Apache fiddle]

Single- or two-string ‘fiddle’, technically a bowed tube zither, of the White Mountain and San Carlos Apache peoples of Arizona. Its origin is unknown. A 30- to 40-cm length of a dried flower stem of the agave plant (Agave angustifolia) about 5 to 7 cm in diameter is cut in half and the pith removed except for a 3-cm section left at each end to stop the tube and strengthen it. The two halves are glued back together with pine pitch and wrapped at intervals with sinew or baling wire. A lump of pinyon pine pitch might be melted onto one end to provide rosin for the bow. One string (seldom two) is attached at the proximal end and runs over two low bridges to a long tuning peg inserted laterally through the tube. One or two small soundholes, often triangular, are cut near each end. Old museum specimens are usually shorter than modern instruments, but the maker Chelsey Goseyun Wilson claims that earlier examples were made not only from the stem but also from the heart of the agave and were up to 55 cm long and 15 to 20 cm in diameter at the proximal end....

Article

Tumank  

John M. Schechter

revised by J. Richard Haefer

[tsayantur]

Mouth bow of the Shuar (Jívaro) people of the Ecuadorian Oriente region, made from guadúa cane-bamboo. It is plucked with the fingernails; the player’s mouth serves as a resonator. It is used in courting to accompany love songs at sunset. The paruntsi is a similar instrument made from a bent cherry-wood sapling with a string of gut or ...

Article

Mervyn McLean

Mouth bow of Hawaii. It is reputed to be the only indigenous Hawaiian string instrument. It usually has two, or sometimes three strings, traditionally of plant fibre (later of horsehair or gut), stretched over a flexible wooden stave 3 to 4 cm wide and 40 to 60 cm long; the strings are attached in notches or holes at one end and wound around a fishtail-like carving at the other. The upper surface of the stave is flat and the under surface slightly convex. The wood (typically kauila or ulei) is held at one end between the lips and the strings are plucked with the fingers or a plectrum made of the midrib of a leaf; the player might chant while sounding the instrument. Most specimens have small bridges inserted to keep the strings from touching the stick. Three-string instruments are tuned to tonic, 3rd, and 4th, or tonic, 2nd, and 4th. Most two-string instruments have strings a 3rd or 4th apart. The ...