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Article

Joachim Braun

The various musical instruments mentioned in the Bible (Old and New Testaments). The nature and significance of the biblical instruments has been the subject of considerable discussion from the early Middle Ages onwards. The following article focusses on the meaning of the words as they appear in the original languages of the various biblical texts (Heb., Aramaic, Gk.), using archaeological evidence and other literary sources to establish as far as possible the identity of the individual terms; it also addresses the interpretation of other musical terminology in the Bible. (See also Jewish music, §II.)

References to particular biblical passages follow the Revised Standard Version and the abbreviation IAA is used for the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The controversy surrounding the identity and significance of the ‘biblical instruments’ derives from the complexity of the original source. Even the term itself is ambiguous, since it may denote the instruments of the period described by any given text of the Bible, those of the period and environment in which the written tradition originated, or those that have remained in the memory of society from a certain stage of the oral tradition. Furthermore, should a reference to an instrument be regarded as a theological symbol or a historical document? Must it be placed in the relevant context by archaeological finds before it may be regarded as concrete fact? It is possible to discuss the subject only if an interdisciplinary approach is adopted involving ‘new and processual archaeology’, recent studies of the Pentateuch, and modern archaeomusicology. Although the organological information provided by the biblical texts themselves is scanty, the social and symbolic context of the music can often be established quite precisely (see Kolari, ...

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Cloch  

Peter Crossley-Holland

Clapper-bell of ancient and medieval Wales. Several types were known, all with suspension loops. They include one quadrangular and one circular bell of Romano-British (La Tène) type, found in the Vale of Neath, and Celtic ‘saints’ bells’, including a long quadrangular bell now in the National Museum of Wales. Historical references to the cloch date from the 12th century, but the traditional performing practice has not survived....

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Alastair Dick

The most ancient known drum name of India, found in Sanskrit texts from the late 2nd millennium bce to about the 13th century ce. Its type has not been identified with certainty, but references throughout the period indicate a loud drum connected especially but not exclusively with war. The name is doubtless onomatopoeic.

The Ṛgveda mentions the dundubhi in contexts associated with Indra (god of thunder, war, etc.), and the Yajurveda states that the spirit of the trees resides in it, as in the flute and the harp, thus indicating that it was of wood; the Atharvaveda, in an incantation, has the dundubhi played by ‘the Goddess around the house’, together with the karkarí (probably a chordophone). Ritual texts of the 1st millennium bce record an earth-drum (bhūmidundubhi) used in the winter-solstice rite mahāvrata, which consisted of the hide of the sacrificed beast being stretched over a pit and beaten with its own tail. The association of the dundubhi with war continues in epic and classical literature, and terms such as ...

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Halil  

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Alastair Dick

[karkariká]

Sanskrit term that appears in the earlier Vedic literature of India (Ṛg- and Atharvaveda, c1000 bce). It has been translated by Indologists as ‘lute’, but without justification; it might have been a musical bow played by scratching and resonated by a bottle-gourd or a pot (a later available meaning of karkarí etc., as well as of gārgara) with a skin, probably of lizard, stretched over it and the vessel embedded in the earth, ‘lest the wind stir it up’. It could well thus be a transitional stage between a ground harp (cf the bhūmidundubhi) and the bow harp. Its half-buried vessel is compared with a nest, and the deep sound to the flying up (from the nest) of the sacrifice-bird. It was played in association with the āghā ṭá by the Apsaras nymphs in the Atharvaveda, and in later texts (Śrautasūtra, called ghā...

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Kinnor  

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Kuḻal  

Alastair Dick

[kuzhal, kuṛal]

Ancient Tamil name for the transverse flute, found in the literature of south India in the 1st millennium ce. Another name was vankiyam. Descriptions suggest the flute was about 38 cm long and 9 cm in circumference; it was generally made of bamboo, but bronze, sandalwood, and rosewood are also mentioned. The left end was closed and ringed with thin bronze. The embouchure was about 4 cm from the left end and there were seven fingerholes, with an eighth hole (muttirai) left open. Other kuḻal are mentioned, such as the mullaiku ḻal with five holes. The flute was a leading instrument of the dance orchestra. It is nowadays usually called ve ṇu. The same name is found in modern times for a reed or bamboo panpipe played by shepherds in south India.

H.A. Popley: The Music of India (Calcutta, 1921, 3/1966) S. Ramanathan: Music in Cilapatikaaram (diss., Wesleyan U., Middletown, 1974)...

Article

James W. McKinnon

(from Heb. garaph: ‘to scoop’ or ‘shovel’)

A shovel employed in the Temple of Jerusalem and possibly a kind of ritual pipe organ. The magrepha is first mentioned in the Mishnaic tractate Tamid, a work written soon after the destruction of the Herodian Temple by the Romans in 70 ce that describes the Temple and its daily sacrifice. It is depicted as a bronze shovel used by a priest to clear away the accumulation of ashes from the continually burning sacrificial fire. At one point in the service it is cast down upon the pavement near the altar with a great clatter (presumably as a threatening cultic symbol): ‘No one in Jerusalem’, the Tamid reports, ‘could hear his neighbour’s voice because of the sound of the shovel’.

A number of somewhat later rabbinic sources speak of the Temple’s magrepha as a kind of pipe organ. Yasser has reconstructed the instrument on the basis of these sources, concluding that it consisted of a cube-shaped chamber housing the bellows from which projected a long shovel-like handle. The handle serves a number of purposes: its stem is hollow and contains a wind-pipe leading from the bellows; its spade-like ending functions as a wind-chest, from each side of which protrude five clusters of ten small pipes; and the entire handle is worked back and forth to inflate the bellows. Such an organ would have all 100 pipes playing simultaneously to produce a shrill and menacing sound, one fulfilling with greater efficiency the purpose of casting down the original shovel. If Yasser’s reconstruction seems strange, it corresponds nonetheless with the later sources and has a certain historical plausibility in view of the fact that instrument repair experts from Alexandria (the home of mechanical signalling devices) are known to have visited the late Temple. The possibility cannot be ruled out, however, that the ...

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Alastair Dick

Old south Indian Tamil name for a clay pot drum with a narrow neck covered with skin and found in texts of the 1st millennium ce. It was sounded as a ceremonial instrument together with the cankam (conch) and kombu (trumpet) and presented as a prize by the king to warriors; it also appeared in the dance orchestra....

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Muracu  

Alastair Dick

Old South Indian Tamil name for a large cylindrical drum of state, sacred to kings, in texts of the 1st millennium ce. It was kept in the palace on its own cot and carried out on an elephant to announce proclamations, battles, and the dawn. Its sound is compared to thunder. The Sanskrit ...

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Alastair Dick

Variable tension waisted drum of ancient India, important in the theatre orchestra. It is described in the Nāṭyaśāstra as 16 fingers (perhaps 32 cm) long with a narrow waist. The shell at the heads is 8 fingers wide externally, but as the shell here is 1½ fingers thick the internal diameter of the opening is 5 fingers; the diameter of the waist is 4 fingers. Elsewhere in the same text the drum is said to be bound all around with strings. Its playing technique is also described: the fingers of one hand or the armpit are used to tension and release the heads, producing low, high, and portamento (socchvāsa: ‘sighing’) sounds. The paṇava can thus very probably be identified with the waisted armpit drum seen in ancient sculpture. The name also occurs in general Sanskrit literature, often linked with tūṇava (paṇavatūṇava: ‘pipe and tabor’.

C. Marcel-Dubois: Les instruments de musique de l’Inde ancienne...

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Alastair Dick

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Alastair Dick

Elongated barrel drum of ancient and medieval India. The name occurs in Sanskrit from epic and classical times, and is probably of non-Aryan origin. Ancient references are to a loud drum, in contexts of war, public announcements, and so on, often compared to thunder by the classical poets, and also used in palaces and in temple worship. The dramaturgic treatise Nātyaśāstra (early centuries ce) classes the paṭaha among the secondary (pratyaṅga) drums of the theatre, not precisely tuned, and used for their sound effects and associations.

By medieval times, however, though still of this loud nature, the paṭaha had clearly become of greater musical importance; the encyclopedic Sangītaratnakara (early 13th century) gives it first place among drums, and by far the greatest space to its techniques and repertory. This work discusses two types of this drum, the larger mārga paṭaha and the smaller deśī, or regional, one. The former name connotes the ‘high tradition’ (it is used both in recital music, ...

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Qarna