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date: 14 November 2019

Bling toklocked

  • Elaine Dobson


Percussion idiophone of the Lepcha people of Sikkim (North India). It is a flat blade of wood 20 to 60 cm long with one rounded end, and with a string through or around notches or grooves at the opposite end, by which to hold it. It is struck by a wooden stick with a short, right-angled ‘hook’ at the thicker end, giving a metallic sound like a continuous ‘ting, ting’. Bling tok come in large and small sizes, usually tuned one octave apart. It is played in ceremonies with shamans, especially when they go into a trance. The speed of the beats depends on the song or ‘how many spirits are present’. The legend of the origin of the bling tok tells of a woodcutter who observed that when he cut a certain type of wood it made a lot of noise and was more resonant than other types of wood. The woodcutter took it to people building the pot pyramid so that they could use it to summon the people to work and tell them when to go home. This was a large ...

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