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Ferdinand J. de Hen


Bas (i)  

revised by Margaret J. Kartomi and Mayco A. Santaella

Bamboo trumpet of the Toraja people in the province of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. It comprises a forward-projecting mouthpipe (blown directly, without mouthpiece) about 20 cm long and 1 cm in diameter, inserted and sealed with wax to a downward section about 9 cm by 1 cm, this connected to a horizontal section, and this to the main, vertical tube, 36 cm long and 3 cm in diameter, closed by a node at its base. The instrument is reinforced by a horizontal bamboo beam near the top of the main tube and by rattan string wound around the joints. These measurements are for the smallest bas; the largest is about 135 cm in overall tube length. It produces a single low-pitched tone. Various sizes of bas provide the main harmonic element in the Bas-suling ensemble. A similar trumpet played in the orkes bambu metalu of Minahasa, North Sulawesi, is called overton...



Arvydas Karaška

Folk bass fiddle of Lithuania. It is shaped like a double bass and varies in size from that of a cello to a double bass. The body is assembled from pieces of fir and maple, or sometimes ash or birch wood. The tuning mechanism is a system of cogwheels and metal pegs as on a double bass, or occasionally wooden pegs as on a cello. The basedla has three (less often two or four) gut or metal strings, usually tuned in 4ths to match the pitch of the instruments it accompanies, such as the concertina, birbune (folk clarinet), and clarinet. The short home-made bow is called bosiklis. A large basedla is played standing, smaller ones are held like a cello.

The basedla made its way into folk music from palace or manor-house orchestras. Often played in village bands for weddings, dances, and occasionally funerals, the basedla was used throughout Lithuania and was especially popular in Samogitia (western Lithuania). The ...


Inna D. Nazina

[basolya, bas]

Bass fiddle of Belarus and Ukraine. Some are the size of a cello; others are as large as a conventional double bass. The three or four strings are tuned in 5ths and 4ths. The three-string type is commonly used in the southwest of Belarus, while four-string basses are endemic to parts of the west, central, and northern regions. Both are used in folk instrumental ensembles that perform mainly dance music and wedding marches. In southern ensembles the basetlya typically accompanies one or more violins and a double-headed drum; in central Belarus it traditionally joins a violin, a dulcimer, and a frame drum; in the north it plays with a violin, a clarinet, an accordion, and a double-headed drum. The basetlya first appeared in the 18th century, when professional orchestras (‘capellas’) were developed at the courts of Belarusian-Polish magnates. Both sizes of basetlya were made locally by general woodworkers, not by specialized luthiers; hence their construction, appearance, and tone vary widely....


Alastair Dick and Geneviève Dournon

[bansi, bā̃slī]

Term in the north Indian languages for flutes of different types (ba ̄̃s: ‘bamboo’).

In the eastern regions of the subcontinent—Bengal, Orissa, Assam, and so on (eastern India and Bangladesh)—ba ̄̃sī (here pronounced ba ̄̃shi) commonly denotes a transverse flute, mostly of bamboo, which abounds in the area. The most usual type is stopped by a natural node at one end, and has a simple lateral mouth-hole and a number of fingerholes. Sizes vary greatly, but the typical rustic flute is fairly small; large versions are found especially in Bangladesh. Flutes of the tribal peoples of the region include the tirāyu, tirio, rutu, and murlī. In Orissa the duct flute is also termed ba ̄̃sī (dobandī ba ̄̃sī, ekbandī ba ̄̃sī).

In the Raipur and Bilaspur districts of Madhya Pradesh (central India), ba ̄̃sī denotes an end-blown duct flute. The bamboo tube, 40 cm long, has five fingerholes and a thumbhole. The duct at the upper end consists of a plug of wax partly blocking off the bore, which causes the air to strike the sharp edge of a small opening made in the wall. The opening is partly covered by a slip of bamboo bark which conducts the air current in the correct direction. Like the ...



Patricia Matusky


Musical bow of the Iban people of central Sarawak, Malaysia. The single string is attached to the ends of the wooden bow. The bow rests on a wooden disc, which in turn rests on a ceramic or metal bowl that serves as a resonator. The string is tapped or plucked with a plectrum....



Ferdinand J. de Hen


Geneviève Dournon and Mireille Helffer

[bāṃsurĩ, bānsurī, bānsrī, bā̃surī bā̃sī]

North Indian term for flutes of various types, one of many words deriving from Sanskrit va ṃśa and new Indo-Aryan ba ̄̃s, ‘bamboo flute’. The ba ̄̃surī played by the Rawat shepherds of Raipur district, Madhya Pradesh, central India, is a double duct flute consisting of two bamboo (or plastic) pipes about 53 cm long; one is a melody pipe with five fingerholes and the other a drone. A duct, similar to that of the Rawat Ba ̄̃sī, is formed by a block inserted at the upper end of each pipe. The two pipes are bound together at their upper ends so that they can be blown simultaneously, but diverge below; hence they are also called dandha ba ̄̃sī, ‘joined flute’. The instrument is played with circular breathing. For the large transverse flute ba ̄̃surī used in Hindustani or north Indian classical music, see Vaṃśa.

The ba ̄̃surī of the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal is a transverse flute made of a turned wooden tube, with six fingerholes at the front and one thumbhole at the back. It can be decorated with carvings and silver inlays. It is played in groups by Newar farmers in procession and to accompany dance, lifecycle, and other rituals. ...



Jan Stęszewski


Bass fiddle of Poland. It can be from 100 to 140 cm long; the body is sometimes carved from one piece of wood, apart from the top. It has two to four strings tuned usually in 5ths, or 4ths and 5ths. For example, in the Tatra mountains the tuning is ...



Malena Kuss

Set of three Afro-Cuban double-headed hourglass drums of Yoruba origin. Batá are the sacred instruments of the religious system of Ocha/Ifá (Santería). The largest and lowest-pitched drum, which carries the main oratorical role, is called iyá (‘mother’) because other drums are born from the sacred presence within it. The smallest and highest-pitched batá is known as okónkolo, a term denoting its size, among other names. The term itótele for the medium-size drum refers to the order in which it enters the rhythmic locution of patterns and strokes (toque), following the iyá. The batá ensemble retains the West African disposition of timbric functions that assigns virtuosic locutions to the lowest-pitched drum, while the higher-pitched instruments perform more stable and reiterative patterns.

Batá are the drums of Changó, the spirit-god of fire, lightning, thunder, war, dance, and music, but they are played for all the orichas (saints). The ceremonies in which ...



Rainer Polak

revised by K.A. Gourlay and Amanda Villepastour

Set of double-headed conical drums of the Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria and neighbouring Benin. The heads, of different sizes, are fastened with leather straps and small bells may be attached to the drums. An ensemble normally includes the lead drum ìyáàlù (‘mother drum’, the largest), the ‘female’ accompanying drum omele abo (medium-sized) and the small accompanying drums omele akọ and kúdi. The latter two are often strapped together as a single instrument. A typical ìyáàlù is 70–75 cm long, with heads about 24 and 14 cm in diameter. The omele abo is 50–60 cm long, with heads about 22 and 12 cm in diameter. The omele akọ and kúdi are 23–33 cm tall with heads about 15 and 11 cm in diameter. The ìyáàl̀ù and the omele abo are held horizontally. The smaller head is beaten with a rawhide thong, producing a sharp, high sound. The larger head is tuned with black paste, which allows the bare hand to produce a deep open tone, a slightly higher muffled tone, and a slap tone. The ...


John M. Schechter

revised by Amanda Villepastour

Drum of the Ẹ̀cgbá Yorùbá people of Nigeria. It is constructed from two large gourds strung together (koto is a Yorùbá word for ‘deep gourd’). One end is then cut open and covered with a skin head. The bàtá koto ensemble consists of the ìyáàlù (mother, lead drum), two omele (accompanying drums), and a sẹ̀ckẹ̀crẹ̀c (gourd rattle). There is also a Cuban batá kotó of the Lucumí people, which is a long, single-headed cylindrical drum with a nailed head. It resembles the Cuban arará drum, which has Fon (Benin) antecedents and was formerly used in Cuba as a war drum. In spite of its name, the bàtá koto is unrelated to the batá/bàtá drum family of the Lucumí and Yorùbá people; these are double-headed, hourglass or conically shaped, closed drums laced with rope (in Matanzas) or hide (in Nigeria and Havana). The Cuban batá-kotó is played with curved sticks (...


Natalie M. Webber

Small cane flute of Sri Lanka. It occurs in various sizes and is made from the ba ṭa reed, found throughout the island. The instrument, known occasionally as vasdanḍa, is often side-blown (arāta); there are six or, less often, seven fingerholes. The pipe is always stopped and varies in length from 23 to 56 cm. These flutes are occasionally lacquered but are far more often plain or polished. Although made in Sri Lanka they resemble closely the side-blown flute of south India and are often used for playing Carnatic music....



Patricia Matusky

Struck idiophone of the Illanun in the Muslim Kota Belud area of Sabah, Malaysia, and of the Malays in Peninsular Malaysia. It is an upturned brass bowl, struck by a small stick or the fingers of the right hand. In Sabah it accompanies pantun singing, formerly a courtship ritual, performed throughout Malaysia. In the state of Kedah and Perlis in northwest Peninsular Malaysia it accompanies the singing and speech rhythms of the ...



K.A. Gourlay

Term used by the Gunga and Duka peoples of northwestern Nigeria for a calabash drum. The Duka drum is also known as kworria. The Gunga batta is almost spherical and measures about 55 cm in diameter. The goatskin head, about 25 cm in diameter, has a large piece of tuning wax. Metal jingles are attached to the lacing. The drum is beaten by hand and is usually played with the smaller stick-beaten ...



Gerhad Kubik

Stamped aerophone of the Khoisan and !Kung people of South Africa and Angola. Three gourds of the Strychnos spinosa plant, open at both ends, are fastened end to end with black wax to form a tube. The bavugu is stamped on the player’s left thigh and the upper end is either hit with the right hand or covered more or less with it to change the pitch....



Ferdinand J. de Hen

Mouth bow of the Aïmeri people of the Watsa Gombari region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The string is sometimes coupled (braced) to the bow stave by a cord that divides the string into two unequal segments, thus obtaining two different pitches when the segments are plucked by the fingers; the bracing cord itself can also be plucked....



Alan R. Thrasher

Free-reed aerophone of the Miao (Hmong), Dai, Yi, Hani, and other minority cultures of southwestern China. Bawu is a Chinese name believed to be borrowed from Miao language; local names include bi (Dai), meiba (Hani), and jifeili (Yi). The Thai pī saw is a related instrument. The bawu is constructed from a tube of bamboo about 30 cm or longer, closed at the blowing end by a natural node, open at the bottom. Near the closed end a small rectangular opening is carved through the side of the bamboo and a free reed of bamboo or bronze secured over the opening—traditionally with beeswax, nowadays with other adhesives. This reed is similar to the rectangular free reed of the sheng mouth organ, except that the bawu tongue is essentially in the form of a steep gradient triangle, in which the two long sides are of equal length (c1.5 cm) and the attached base is very small (...



Mireille Helffer

revised by Gert-Matthias Wegner and Simonne Bailey

[bãycā, kvaku]

Small beaked duct flute of Nepal. The bamboo tube is about 25 cm long with a diameter of 2.5 cm. It has seven fingerholes and one thumbhole, giving a range of 14 notes. Now obsolete except for a performance group at Kathmandu University, the bãy was formerly played by tailor-musicians of the Kathmandu Valley in the Bhaktapur ...



Ferdinand J. de Hen

Side-blown animal horn or ivory horn of the Zande people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The ivory examples have a carved lozenge-shaped embouchure. All have a fingerhole in the tip. The term also refers to a composite side-blown horn of the Zande, made of ivory and wood, also with a similar embouchure and a fingerhole in the tip....