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A (i)  

Robert C. Provine

Obsolete Korean barrel drum considered to be of Chinese origin. As described in the treatise Akhak kwebŏm (1493), the a was a brightly decorated bulging barrel drum with small heads. It was 146.8 cm long with a circumference in the middle of 64.4 cm and a head diameter of 18.1 cm. The player lifted the instrument with both hands by means of two cloth loops tied to metal rings in the middle of the body and then pounded it against the ground.

The a was used only as part of the mumu (‘military dance’) ensemble and only in ritual music (aak). With the sang (drum) and the ŭng and tok (both idiophones) it was played after the regular sounding of the large drum chin′go, that is after every four-note phrase in the very slow melody.

Sŏng Hyŏn, ed.: Akhak kwebŏm [Guide to the study of music] (Seoul, 1493/...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Suspension rattle of Iñupiat peoples of Alaska and Canada. Several dozen fin-shaped, 2-cm pieces of walrus tusk are sewn on a dancer’s arm wrapping made from a strip of sealskin about 25 to 30 cm long. Around the top of the wrapping is stitched a circle of polar bear fur. Some believe that the sound of the rattle represents the north wind....

Article

Aangún  

Brian Diettrich

[angun]

Nose flute from the islands of Chuuk, Micronesia. It is made from bamboo or mangrove root. Similar bamboo nose flutes have been documented for the atolls surrounding Chuuk, with instruments reported in the Mortlock Islands (there called áttik), as well as on Pollap, Polowat (anin), Houk (likáttik), and Satawal (janil). All these flutes are obsolete. In Chuuk the mangrove flute was made by removing the core from an aerial root of the mangrove tree, then inserting a plug of coconut meat with a small hole made in the centre in one end of the tube as the blow-hole. The bamboo flute was made from a single length of cane with the blowing end fitted like the mangrove flute. Museum specimens range in length from 18 to 87 cm, with an average diameter of 1.5 cm. These examples and historical reports represent instruments with one to three fingerholes as well as overtone flutes without fingerholes. Chuukese men played the melodies of ...

Article

Abadá  

John M. Schechter

Obscure drum, presumably of African origin, of the Babasué (Babassuê) syncretic sect of Belem, Pará, Brazil. It might be related to the atabaque. The body is slightly conical and the single head is secured by a hoop that is laced to four iron hooks that jut from the body below the upper rim. ...

Article

W.H. Husk

revised by Marc Leroy

(York )

(b Whilton, Northants., England, Dec 22, 1785; d Versailles, France, Feb 19, 1859). English organ builder. The son of a local joiner, he first learnt his father’s trade. Against family wishes he was apprenticed to the organ builders James and David Davis and in 1818 went to work with Hugh Russell. Abbey became acquainted with Sébastian Erard in London and went to France in 1826 to build an organ that Erard designed for the 1827 Industrial Exhibition at the Louvre; before 1864 it was moved to the Paris Conservatoire. After moving to Paris and then Versailles, Abbey received a royal commission to build an organ for the chapel of the Légion d’honneur at St Denis and another designed by Erard for the chapel of the Tuileries Palace (1827; destroyed 1830). In 1831 with Meyerbeer’s support Abbey was employed to build an organ for the Paris Opéra (destroyed by fire, ...

Article

Michael Sayer

English firm of organ builders. It was established in Leeds in 1869 by Isaac Abbott, who had worked for 20 years with William Hill in London. William Stanwix Smith, also a former Hill employee, was the firm’s manager until Abbott retired, in 1889; thereafter Smith and Abbott’s son continued the firm, which subsequently passed to Smith’s sons and grandson. In 1964 the firm was sold to its foreman, J.H. Horsfall, and in 1975 it moved to the premises of Wood Wordsworth & Co. Up to 1964, Abbott & Smith built or rebuilt hundreds of organs throughout Britain, including some 250 in Yorkshire, and more than 60 around Leeds. James Jepson Binns was head voicer from 1875 until 1880. Their earlier instruments, using mechanical action through the 1880s, have a robust singing quality suited to Yorkshire Methodist congregations, though several were in town halls, including those in Leeds and Ryde. Their organ for St Mark’s, Manningham, had four manuals and 48 speaking stops. The firm also built organs in St Albans Cathedral (...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

German firm of piano hammer manufacturers. Helmut Abel GmbH was founded in 1982 in Frickhausen by Helmut Abel (b Sonneberg, Thüringen, 6 July 1936), who had earlier worked for Renner. His son Norbert (b Schalkau, Thüringen, 24 March 1957) has managed finances, marketing, and research since the beginning. In 1985 the business name was changed to Abel Hammer Company. Helmut Abel’s younger son, Frank (b Wernau, Baden-Württemberg, 21 Sept 1963), joined the firm in 1986. In 1993 the company moved to a larger facility in Frankenhardt. After Helmut’s retirement as technical manager, in 2001, Frank assumed that position. Norbert’s son Alexander (b Ruit, Baden-Württemberg, 14 March 1990) completed an apprenticeship as a piano technician and in 2001 entered a course to become a piano master, with the intention of joining the firm after completion.

The firm makes piano hammers based on historical methods, yet employing modern technology for consistent quality. Abel also restores and duplicates hammer parts and recovers original hammer heads, using an old Dolge hammer press imported in ...

Article

Abiba  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Small double-headed cylindro-conical drum of the Buda and Mangbetu peoples of the northern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The head is made of antelope skin and beaten with the hand. It was used in (forbidden) mambela rites. The abiba deni is a drum of the Lengola people of the DRC....

Article

Abigolo  

Jeremy Montagu

Article

Abita  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Article

Ableton  

Brandon Smith

Music production software company based in Berlin, with a branch in New York. Ableton (Ableton AG) was founded in 1999 by Gerhard Behles, Robert Henke, and Bernd Roggendorf. Its main product is a computer program called Live, which was released in 2001. This is a digital audio workstation (DAW) environment for recording audio and MIDI with an emphasis on working in real time, essentially allowing the user to play the software as an instrument. Practically any operation can be controlled via MIDI. Since its introduction, Live has become popular among electronic music artists for its ability to allow spontaneous manipulation of audio in a performance situation. Many manufacturers of MIDI controllers have developed control surfaces for Live, bridging the gap between software and hardware.

Live is equally suited to arranging and production applications, with abilities similar to those of other popular recording platforms such as Cubase and Pro Tools. It can run in tandem with most other DAW systems using the ReWire protocol by Steinberg Media Technologies (the creators of Cubase), allowing Live and other programs to share audio and MIDI information with a host DAW. In many ways Live has redefined the role software and computers in general have had in music creation and production. It was among the first programs able automatically to ‘beat match’ (synchronize audio files with different tempos). An integrated Max/MSP platform (a visual programming language) allows users to program their own virtual instruments by linking together pre-made blocks or ‘objects’. Ableton also produces virtual instrument plug-ins and libraries of samples for their Live platform....

Article

Abombo  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Bowl-shaped drum of the Angba people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is about 50 to 75 cm tall. The single antelope-skin head is laced to the body. It is beaten with one hand and one stick. The abowa mokindja of the Lengola people is similar.

G. Knosp...

Article

Abu  

[bu]

Large, complex horn of the Luo people of Kenya. It is formed from a round gourd to which is affixed an elongated gourd neck joined at the top to a cow or antelope horn. It is side-blown through a hole near the tip of the animal horn. The sections are joined with beeswax, and the instrument is dampened with water before use to seal any cracks. It is played at funerals and other functions. The player introduces a song, and after the chorus enters he plays the ...

Article

Gordon D. Spearritt

Water drum of the Iatmul people, Papua New Guinea. It is made of hardwood, similar in shape to an hourglass drum, but lacks a membrane and has a projecting handle at the top, carved as the tail of a crocodile. When plunged into a water-filled pit, it produces sound as it breaks the surface, the sound representing the voice of an ancestor such as a crocodile. It is used mostly in or near ceremonial houses at initiation ceremonies. The term ‘abuk waak’ also refers to a senior age grade among Iatmul men and to the crocodile procession that precedes the initiation ceremony. Another water drum, the kamikaula, is in the shape of an upturned dish; during initiation, pairs of them are dropped upside down using ropes into a pit which might or might not contain water. Such water drums appear to be unique to the Middle Sepik region....

Article

Abume  

Article

K.A. Gourlay

Cylindro-conical or barrel-shaped open drum of the Akan people of Ghana. The single head is secured with cords to pegs driven diagonally into the body. The base opening is narrowed by inserting a flat circular board with a hole in the centre. The drum is beaten with two curved sticks, and is played in pairs (‘male’ and ‘female’) in the same manner as atumpan talking drums, the drummer varying the point at which his sticks strike the head in order to change the tone. The drum is used with others by warrior associations in state drumming. Its sounds are said to imitate the cry of the bird of the same name....

Article

Jeremy Montagu

End-blown conical flute of the Mombutu people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is made of antelope horn and has two fingerholes. Such flutes, with a curved or straight blowing edge and two or three fingerholes, are common all over this area of the DRC under various names....

Article

Ābzem  

Jeremy Montagu

Double-headed hourglass drum of the Reddi people of Andhra Pradesh, southeastern India. It is 75 to 90 cm long. Each head, less than 30 cm in diameter, is tensioned separately with cords and wedges through a rope ring around the nearer end of the long cylindrical waist. It is suspended across the body by a neck-strap and beaten with the hands, one hand on each head....

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Article

Febo Guizzi

[azzarinu]

Name for the triangle in Southern Italy (su triángulu in Sardinia). Acciaio (steel) literally means the steel tool used to light a fire by striking it with a flint. The triangle is widely used in Central and Southern Italy. In Sardinia it is played with the tumbarinu (double-headed cylindrical drum), the organetto (accordion), the pipiolu, pipaiolu, or sulittu (duct flutes of different areas of Sardinia), and the Jew’s harp. In Campania and Calabria it is often made by the Roma (Gypsy) blacksmiths who also make and sell Jew’s harps. In genre painting of the 17th and 18th centuries it is depicted as the instrument of beggars, while in Neapolitan Nativity scenes it appears as an instrument of wandering ensembles. The latter use is widely attested in the 19th and 20th centuries, particularly by the Viggianesi ensembles (with the harp of Viggiano and other instruments), or to accompany the hurdy-gurdy or violin. In wandering ensembles, the triangle is usually played by a child....