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date: 22 November 2019

Ānandalaharī [gubgubī, khamak]locked

  • Alastair Dick
  • , revised by Jeremy Montagu

Extract

[gubgubī, khamak]

Variable tension chordophone of Bengal (east India and Bangladesh). Ānandalaharī (‘waves of joy’) appears to be a literary name; in the countryside the instrument is more often called by the onomatopoeic names gubgubī or khamak. The body is a wooden cylinder open at both ends and somewhat barrel-shaped or tapering inward towards the top. The lower opening is completely covered by a skin and the upper by a skin with the centre cut away; both skins are laced to plaited leather hoops and braced by cord V-lacings, each having a metal tuning-ring, giving an inverted Y-shape. (Older models had only a lower skin, glued on.) A gut string is looped through two holes and a protective button (or piece of bamboo etc.) in the centre of the lower skin, passing up through the body as a single or double string to a hole in the bottom of a small brass pot, where the string is attached with another toggle. The body is tucked into the left armpit and the string tensioned by the left hand gripping the small pot; the right hand plucks the string with a small plectrum of bone, plastic, or other material. The tension of the string, and hence its pitch, can be greatly and instantly varied by the left hand to produce a dramatic accompaniment for song or dance; it can play both rhythms and melodies, with swooping portamento leaps within about an octave. The ...

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