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date: 05 December 2019


  • Gerhard Kubik


Modern single-string bass instrument of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, and adjacent areas. It became popular in the early 1950s with kwela flute (tin whistle) music and is probably derived from the American washtub bass or tea-chest bass. The resonator is usually an empty plywood tea chest, its open end resting on the ground. The string is anchored through a central hole in the top of the chest and its other end is tied to the top of a stick (resembling a broomstick) that stands vertically on the chest, near the side closest to the player (but is not attached to it). With one foot on the chest to steady it, the player holds the top of the stick with his left hand, pulling it towards him with varying pressure to alter the tension of the string as required, to change the pitch, while plucking the string with his right hand.

A. Benseler...

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