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Article

Steven Ball

Considerable evidence suggests that the use of tower bells in North America was somewhat widespread by at least the last quarter of the 17th century, if not before. The bells themselves, as well as the ringing traditions associated with them, were imported by European missionaries and settlers. The earliest bell founders working in this country were John Pass and John Stowe, whose first bell was the recasting of the “Liberty Bell” (originally by Whitechapel Foundry of London) in 1753 for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

A basic division has always existed between the use tower bells as a signal for secular or sacred functions, with the former more customarily being hung stationary and the latter tending to be swinging bells. By the turn of the 17th century stationary civic bells and clock chimes had developed in the Low Countries into the art of the traditional carillon, while the swinging church bells found across continental Europe evolved in England into the practice of change ringing. Handbells, developed in the 18th century for practicing change ringing indoors, have found wide use and popularity as a musical art form quite apart from their original association with tower bells....

Article

Laurence Libin

(b Bronx, NY, Oct 22, 1946). American luthier, notable for handmade archtop jazz guitars. In childhood he learned woodworking from his father, a skilled cabinetmaker, and music from an uncle, a violinist; his grandfather had worked for Steinway & Sons. A visit to the Gretsch guitar factory in Brooklyn fueled his interest in the instrument; he played a Chet Atkins model 6120 guitar from 1960 to 1968. Upon discharge from the US Air Force in 1968 he started to make his first guitar and began repairing Gibson, D’Angelico, and New York Epiphone instruments. At the time he was the youngest and least experienced archtop maker of a group that included William Barker, Carl Barney, Roger Borys, James D’Aquisto, Sam Koontz, and Philip Petillo. In the 1970s jazz guitarists such as Bucky Pizzarelli, Chuck Wayne, and Martin Taylor began to use and endorse Benedetto’s instruments. He incorporated his business as Benedetto Guitars, Inc., but in ...

Article

Botul  

Margaret J. Kartomi

revised by Gini Gorlinski

Gong chime of the Pakpak people of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. Its five to nine small bossed gongs are placed horizontally in a wooden trough, somewhat like the bonang of Central Java. Unlike the bonang, which is played by a single musician, the botul may be played by as many as three men. It is the leading melodic instrument in an ensemble that also includes three suspended gongs, cilat-cilat (cymbals), and an optional pair of gendang (cylindrical drums). It may also be included in the larger gendering ensemble, which is dominated by a set of five to nine drums. By the late 20th century, the botul was seldom encountered and only in a few areas of the Pakpak region. It is not known nowadays in Boang and Simsim but is found in the Kelasan, Pegagan, and Kepas districts.

L. Moore: ‘An Introduction to the Music of the Pakpak Dairi of North Sumatra’, ...

Article

Richard Johnston

Guitar, mandolin, and ukulele manufacturer. It was founded in Houston, Texas, in 1976 by Bill Collings (b 1948), who had moved from Ohio to Texas following a failed attempt at medical school. After building a few guitars and some banjos, Collings moved to Austin in 1979. His background as a machinist led him to emphasize precise jigs and fixtures even when he was working out of a small single-car garage. Demand for Collings guitars, specifically for updated versions of Martin and Gibson flat-top styles from the 1930s, prompted his move to a 1,000-square-foot shop in 1989. Two woodworkers were hired, including Bruce Van Wart, who is still in charge of wood selection and top voicing on the firm’s acoustic guitars. By this time, production had increased to a level that allowed sales to a few retailers.

In late 1991 the company relocated to a much larger facility on the outskirts of Austin, and the number of Collings guitar models, and employees, began to grow. Bill Collings was one of the first flat-top guitar builders to offer fully carved arch-top models as well. These deluxe jazz guitars were quickly accepted as the equals of those from premier American builders, and they sold for similar prices; but only a few were completed each year. Collings was also one of the first small, independent guitar companies to incorporate CNC (computer numerical control) carving machines for building both guitar parts and the precise tooling to aid in their assembly, which is still done by hand. One of the signature differences between the Collings models and the Gibson and Martin originals that inspired them is that Collings uses an unglued bolted mortise and tenon neck joint, rather than a traditional dovetail....

Article

Laurence Libin

(b Napier, New Zealand, May 14, 1946). Intermedia artist whose transdisciplinary practice includes video/sound work and installations, experimental instruments, graphic scores, and improvisation. He studied at Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland (DipFA Hons, 1971) and the University of West Sydney, Nepean (MA Hons, 2000). Since the early 1970s his sound-based artworks have involved newly invented instruments. A member of the original Scratch Orchestra in London (1968–9), Dadson founded Scratch Orchestra (NZ) in 1970 and later From Scratch (1974–2004). A key part of From Scratch’s development was instrument invention, from using found objects to making unique, custom-designed devices. Tunings evolved from randomly pitched sounds to 12-note and microtonal tunings, and just intonation. Central to this development were tuned percussion stations composed of rack-supported, four-tiered assemblies of PVC pipes, tuned-tongue bamboos and bells (in which parallel slots cut in the materials produce a vibrating tongue matching the resonant frequency of the open or closed tubes), and roto-tom drums, combined with special methods of playing. These percussion stations, along with other novel struck and spun acoustic instruments, produced the characteristic From Scratch sound. More recent instruments include the Zitherum (long-stringed instruments that are drummed and bowed), the metal-pronged Nundrum, the stroked RodBaschet, the gong tree, Foley-trays, the Water Cooler Drumkit, water bells, the Gloop-spring-string-drum family, the Sprong family, and other fanciful types....

Article

Laurence Libin

(b Jirapa, Ghana, June 22, 1958). Ghanaian xylophone maker, player, and teacher. Born into a family of gyilli makers and players in northwest Ghana, Doozie began playing at six years of age. When he was 12 his father taught him to make his first gyilli and he was a practised maker by age 15. After secondary school Doozie moved to Accra to become a xylophonist with the Ghana Dance Ensemble. He was also an instructor at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon. Among other appointments, he has performed with the National SO Ghana and has been associated with the Institute of African Studies and the music and performing arts departments of the University of Ghana. In 1990 he established a workshop to produce xylophones; he made the xylophones used in the Broadway production of The Lion King. He has also restored instruments in museum collections. He continues to teach and perform and is managing director of Dagarti Arts and Music in Accra and a member of the Arts Council of Ghana. He is also involved in promoting fair trade practices. Doozie’s xylophone bars—from eight to 18 for each instrument—are made of aged, fire-dried planks of wood from male shea trees. Gourd resonators are affixed under the bars, which are tied to the curved frame. The tips of the wooden beaters are padded with rubber recycled from tyres....

Article

Duo-Art  

Article

(fl Russia, mid-16th century). Russian bell and cannon founder. Of unknown origin, Ganusov might have come from Germany or the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to Moscow, where in the mid-16th century he worked at the court of Ivan the Terrible. A very large bell cast at the Moscow cannon foundry in 1550 has been tentatively credited to him; it has not survived. Presumably before 1564 he moved to Smolensk, where a cannon bearing his name or names of his apprentices survived into the 19th century. Ganusov is not named in documents after the late 1560s. His apprentices included Bogdan Andreytokhov, Yuri Bochkaryov, Semyon Dubinin (who moved to Pskov), Nikita Tupitsyn, and most famously Andrei Chokhov (Chekhov) (c1545–1629), whose castings in Moscow included many famous pieces of artillery and other massive bronze armaments as well as bells. Boris Godunov donated two of Chokov’s bells, cast in ...

Article

(b Luxembourg, Aug 16, 1884; d New York, Aug 19, 1967). American writer, publisher, and inventor. In 1904 he emigrated to America, where in 1908 he founded the first of a series of radio magazines (including Radio-Craft) which he wrote for and edited. He later turned to science fiction magazines (from ...

Article

J. Bryan Burton

[Goyaałé, Goyathlay, Goyahkla ]

(b New Mexico, 1829; d Fort Sill, OK, Feb 17, 1909). Native American instrument maker, singer, medicine man, prophet, and military leader. He is better known in Western history for his military leadership of Western Apache resistance to reservation life during the 1880s. Goyaałé (“One who yawns”) was given the name Geronimo after an attack on a Mexican village on St. Jerome’s day when terrified Mexican soldiers cried out “Jeronimo” appealing for help from St. Jerome. After his surrender he was held as a prisoner of war, first in St. Augustine, Florida, then in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, until his death. His celebrity was such that he often made public appearances, including at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, rode in Theodore Roosevelt’s inaugural parade in 1904, and wrote an autobiography with S.M. Barrett, the Oklahoma superintendent of education.

As a medicine man (Apache: diyan), Goyaałé performed Apache sacred ceremonies and rituals that required the knowledge of a vast repertoire of traditional songs sung during the ceremonies. A number of the songs he created were collected for Natalie Curtis’s ...

Article

Hugh Davies

(M.Y. de P. )

(b Rheims, France, 1899; d La Varenne St-Hilaire, St-Maur-des-Fossés, France, Nov 9, 1963). French engineer and physicist. He was one of the pioneers of electronic instruments and especially of the electronic organ in the 1920s and early 1930s; some of his instruments were constructed in collaboration with the organ builder Edouard Eloi Coupleux. In 1917 or 1918, while working in the radio laboratory at the Eiffel Tower in Paris (at the same time as Maurice Martenot and Joseph Béthenod), Givelet first conceived the idea of electronic instruments based on the pitches that could be produced and varied by placing one’s hand near or on certain components in a radio receiver. His idea for a dial-operated instrument (similar to the later Dynaphone and Ondium Péchadre) was not followed up until the mid-1920s, when he returned to studying the possibilities of electronic instruments.

Givelet’s first completed electronic instrument, the monophonic keyboard ...

Article

Herbert Heyde

This article discusses trends in organizing the production of European instruments from the 15th century to the mid-19th.

During the 15th century European instrument making entered a new phase with the rise of polyphonic instrumental music. Previously, folk and minstrel instruments had been made mostly by the players themselves. The intricacies of polyphonic music and the social context in which sophisticated instruments such as clavichords, trombones, lutes, and viols were played demanded craft refinement and specialization. The professional traditions of organ building and bell founding provided precedents upon which the new branches of trade could build. While the production of folk instruments continued as it had previously, the new, commercial approach to instrument making gradually evolved into two major forms, which were first observable in the processes of both bell founding and organ building. These forms were small craft-workshops and entrepreneurial businesses. These two forms sometimes intersected; small workshops would sometimes grow and develop into entrepreneurial businesses....

Article

Barbara Owen

(b Boston, 1708; d Boston, May 8, 1767). American organ builder, music engraver, craftsman and musician. In 1739 he led the singing in the Brattle Street Church, Boston, and was paid for singing in King's Chapel in 1754–6. He was active as an ornamental painter and japanner, and as an engraver of maps, certificates, trade cards, music etc.; he is also regarded as Boston's first professional organ builder. He is recorded as having tuned and repaired some of the imported English organs in Boston, which presumably served as his only textbook in the craft of organ building. In 1744 Johnston made repairs to a small English organ in Christ Church (Old North Church), Boston, and he later tuned the three-manual Richard Bridge organ imported by King's Chapel in 1756, which appears to have been the model for the two-manual organ he built for Christ Church in 1759. Other organs he is known to have built were for St Peter's Church, Salem, Massachusetts (...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

(b Bermuda, July 10, 1957). American audio engineer, musician, and owner of Keith McMillen Instruments, based in Berkeley, California. He received his BS in acoustics from the University of Illinois, where he also studied classical guitar and composition. In 1979 he founded Zeta Music, which designed and sold electric and electronic violins and basses. In 1992 he organized a research laboratory for Gibson Guitars. He developed a computerized composition, notation, and performance system, and also helped devise ZIPI, a MIDI-like music control language. At the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies at the University of California, Berkeley, he researched audio networking, synthesizers, and string instruments. In 1996 he became director of engineering for the audio processing and distributed music networks division of Harmon Kardon. In 1999 he founded Octiv, Inc., an Internet audio signal processing company, which produced the ‘Volume Logic’ plug-in for iTunes that allows digital audio remastering to improve the sound produced by computers and MP3 players....

Article

Laurence Libin

(b ?1857; d Petrograd, Russia, Aug 22, 1916). Russian luthier, developer of the modern balalaika. He has been called the ‘Russian Stradivarius’. His life is not reliably documented; some sources place his birth in the 1870s. An unschooled peasant but gifted woodworker, he had been apprenticed to a carpenter in Vologda province. It is said that, intending to seek work in St Petersburg, he was able to travel only as far as Eremkovo, where he worked for two years as a carpenter and began to make balalaikas, assembling the bodies from pieces of wood rather than carving them. His work attracted the attention of V.V. Andreyev (1861–1918), a virtuoso performer and reviver of Russian folk instruments, who in 1890 persuaded Nalimov to start a balalaika workshop near his home in Márino. Supposedly, Nalimov began using maple taken from the door and window jambs of Andreyev’s house. With Andreyev’s encouragement Nalimov built about 170 balalaikas in a family of sizes as well as many other string instruments during the following 20 years. With his salary from Andreyev he was able to buy a house opposite Andreyev’s manor. In ...

Article

Paula Conlon

[‘Doc’ Tate ]

(b Fletcher, OK, July 3, 1932; d Lawton, OK, March 5, 1996). Native American (Comanche) maker and player of juniper flutes. He attended the Fort Sill Indian School and Haskell Indian Institute. He learned flute making from the Kiowa maker Belo Cozad (1864–1950) and the Lakota maker Richard Fool Bull (1887–1976). He used the traditional method of splitting the wood, carving the channel, boring the holes, and inserting the plug, then gluing the flute back together with sap, binding it with leather thongs, and attaching the external block. His first album, Indian Flute Songs from Comanche Land (NAM 401C, n.d.), was the first commercial recording consisting entirely of music for solo Indian flute. He introduced new playing techniques, including cross-fingerings to extend the range, and extending the warbling sound on the lowest tone to all the available pitches, thus expanding the flute’s repertoire and contributing to its revival in the latter 20th century. Tate (the English name given to him) was recognized as a National Heritage Fellow in ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Term for any device, mechanism, or means by which a player controls an instrument. It embraces keys and keyboards, valves, mouthpieces, bows, plectra, beaters, ribbon controllers, joysticks, touchscreens, other computer input devices and displays running control software, and any other intermediary between player and instrument (real or virtual) giving the player control of the sound-producing elements....

Article

Timo Leisiö

[Feodor Safronoff ]

(b Soikkola, Russian West Ingria, Nov 7, 1886; d Helsinki, Finland, Jan 5, 1962). Ingrian musician and instrument maker who became a symbol of Finnish folk music. As a boy on the southeastern shore of the Gulf of Finland he worked as a shepherd during several summers and learned to make and play local flutes (soittu), trumpets (wooden torvi, truba), and the Baltic psaltery (kantele). Being an orphan he lacked social status, and therefore emigrated to Finland in 1913. During World War I he played the french horn in a Russian army band. After Finland gained independence, in 1917, he settled there, changed his name Feodor Safronoff to Teppo Repo, and worked as a policeman and later as a mechanic (chiefly employed by the Singer sewing machine company); instrument making was always a part-time occupation. After starting to play Ingrian music in Helsinki he was recruited as an entertainer by patriotic forces in the early 1930s, and soon performed across Finland and abroad; his improvised melodies represented to his public the folk music of all Finnic peoples (Estonians, Karelians, Finns, etc.) even though his style was based on the music of his childhood and not truly representative of other national traditions. His flutes, horns, and trumpets, of which he made and sold an unknown number, can be found in museums from Japan to the USA. Some represent 19th-century Ingrian traditions foreign to Finland; others are of widespread European types. His straight and curved ...

Article

Mark Tucker

(b Belzoni, MS, March 21, 1930; d Chicago, IL, April 24, 1970). American blues pianist and singer. He received instruction as a boy from such local pianists as Frank Spann (his stepfather), Friday Ford, and Little Brother Montgomery, and played piano in church. He worked with various blues bands, performing in bars and clubs in the area around Jackson, Mississippi, then served in the U.S. Army (1946–51). After settling in Chicago in 1951 he led his own group at the Tick Tock Lounge, then in 1953 began to play with Muddy Waters, remaining a key member of the band until the late 1960s. In later years he began singing more frequently, often leading his own groups or performing as a soloist; he appeared at the Newport and Monterey festivals on several occasions and also toured England and France. Spann’s strengths as a blues-band pianist were his aggressive, hard-driving keyboard style (influenced most strongly by Maceo Merriweather, whom he replaced in Muddy Waters’s band) and his highly refined ensemble skills....