- Sydney Hutchinson
Single-headed drum of the southern and eastern Dominican Republic. It is a hollowed log with a goatskin head attached by ropes tied to small bolts on the body or to a cord around the middle of the body. In the east, the head is affixed with bent nails and no ropes. Its size varies widely by region, from about 32 cm in diameter and 34 cm tall, to 26 by 51 cm for the balsié largo (long drum). The exterior is usually conical in the southwest but cylindrical in the east and south-central regions.
The balsié may be held between the knees, under the arm, or laid on the ground with the player sitting on top. It is used to accompany folk dances, often together with the pandero frame drum, and religious songs, together with other small percussion instruments. A glissando produced either by rubbing the head with the fingers or depressing it with the heel, depending on the manner of playing, makes the characteristic sound that gives it the alternate name of ...