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Article

Hulusi  

Alan R. Thrasher

Mouth organ of the Dai, Achang, Wa, and other minority cultures in southern Yunnan province, China. Hulusi is a Han Chinese name; local names include bilangdao (Dai), huluxiao (Achang), and baihongliao (Wa). The instrument has a bamboo melody pipe and one or two bamboo drone pipes inserted into the bottom (flower) end of a small bottleneck gourd windchest. Traditionally the pipes are secured with hardened beeswax though nowadays usually with a stronger adhesive. A thin blowpipe is similarly mounted in the neck end of the gourd. The melody pipe (c25 cm or longer) has six or more fingerholes and (attached near its closed end within the gourd) a thin, triangular free reed of bamboo, bronze, or silver in a rectangular frame, similar to the reed assembly of the bawu. On some instruments, one short drone pipe, with the same kind of reed, runs parallel to the melody pipe; more commonly nowadays, a second drone is attached to the opposite side of the melody pipe, either with its reed tuned to a different pitch, or without a reed for symmetrical appearance....

Article

J. Richard Haefer

(Apache: ísal, ‘pot’ or ‘bucket’; ‘bucket bound around’)

Water drum of the Apache people of Arizona and New Mexico. A large iron pot or kettle with the handle removed is partially filled with water and sacred materials (corn pollen and ash). A buckskin head (or nowadays sometimes rubber from a truck tire inner tube) is lashed tightly over the opening with buckskin thongs or strips of cloth or inner-tube rubber, with the excess skin or rubber draped around the pot. Historically a large pottery vessel was used; there is no evidence for use of a wooden vessel. The drumstick, of pine, is wrapped in buckskin at the distal end.

The drum accompanies singing, secular and religious (na-i-es, girl’s puberty ceremony; edotal, diagnostic; gojital, curing). It is usually played in groups of four with the performers standing and holding the drums under the left elbow, but in the curing rites it is held in the lap of a seated player. The earliest representation of the drum is a painting by George Catlin of ...

Article

Richard Keeling

Strung rattle of the Hupa and other native peoples of California. The Maidu call it temsisili. It is a cluster of deer hooves or dew claws tied to a wooden or bone handle 30 to 45 cm long. When shaken, the hooves create a sharp clicking sound. Among tribes of northern California and the San Joaquin Valley, it is used in the girls’ puberty ceremony. Luiseño hunters shook the rattle for luck before setting out for deer. Other southern California tribes such as the Chumash, Fernandeños, and Gabrielinos used it in mourning ceremonies....

Article

Mary Riemer-Weller

[ka’wásta’] (Seneca: ‘stick’)

Stamping sticks of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois Confederation peoples of northeastern North America. The sticks, used in pairs, are hickory wood poles from 1.5 to 1.8 m long and about 5 cm in diameter. They are held vertically by two women of the towisas (society of women planters) and are used to beat time to the songs of the women’s rite, performed at the Green Corn and Midwinter ceremonies. According to Seneca belief, the stamping is said to represent thunder, wind, and rain....

Article

Mary Riemer-Weller

[ká:ˀke:taˀ] (Seneca: ‘whistle’)

Vertical whistle of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois Confederation people of north-eastern North America. It is made of cane, about 45 cm long with an external duct, like the courting flute, but no fingerholes. Only two notes are produced, the fundamental and its overblown octave. It is used only during the ceremony of the Little Water Medicine Society and in the Eagle Dance, a curing ritual....

Article

Mary Riemer-Weller

revised by J. Richard Haefer

[kana’tsio:wi] (Seneca: ‘covered keg’ or ‘bucket’)

Water drum of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois Confederacy peoples of northeastern North America. It is called gana’atso [gä no jo’ o] in Cayugan. The drum is a small wooden vessel covered with a soft-tanned hide which is held taut by a cloth-wound wooden hoop. Water is kept in it at all times and before being played it is inverted to soak the skin, which is then tightened until a characteristic high ‘pinging’ tone is heard when it is tapped lightly with a wooden beater. The body can be carved from a solid block of wood, in which case a binding ring is wrapped around it to prevent it from splitting, or it can be made from a staved wooden nail keg. The drums are usually 13 to 15 cm in diameter and 11 to 13 cm deep. A bung hole about halfway up the side allows water to be added without removing the head; if allowed to dry, solid-bodied drums tend to split and staved drums loosen and could collapse. The drumstick (...

Article

Beverley Diamond

revised by J. Richard Haefer

[kalluraq, kalluak, kaylukuk, kotlookuk]

Ceremonial box drum associated with the Messenger Feast of the Iñupiaq-speaking people of Alaska. It is a rectangular wooden case (usually made of poplar), 45 to 90 cm tall by 18 to 30 cm long and wide. A fur-padded rail, attached along one side with a strip of black whale baleen, is struck with a thick, short stick while the drum is suspended from the ceiling of the ceremonial house. The drum is played by a seated drummer (usually male) wearing the tuutlik, a loon-skin headdress. A soundhole can be cut in the bottom of the drum and a handhold attached to one side. The drum is decorated with a zigzag pattern on the top edge and with eagle feathers. In the native cosmology that explains the origin of the feast, the drum is said to represent an eagle’s heartbeat.

The Tlingit people call the box drum lákt gaaw. Such instruments are often decorated in red and black stylized raven patterns....

Article

Mary Riemer-Weller

revised by J. Richard Haefer

[ka:nóˀskä:ˀ]

Rasp, or scraper, of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois Confederation peoples of northeastern North America. It is called gaksaga:nye (‘chipmunk sticks’) in Cayugan. It is a pair of flat hickory sticks, each about 30 to 35 cm long, 1 to 3 cm wide, and 2 cm thick. One stick is notched along two-thirds of its length and the other is smooth with slightly rounded edges. The notched stick is held at its unnotched end while the notched end rests on the player’s left leg. The smooth stick, held in the right hand, is scraped up and down over the notches. The sticks produce a rasping sound in the same rhythm as the water drum ka’nohko’wah that leads the singing.

Rasping sticks are used only at wakes, held in people’s homes, and even here their use is quite rare, with preference given to the drum. The sticks are either buried with the person for whom the wake is held or are broken and burned with the drum-beater used during the singing....

Article

Kapelye  

Article

Mary Riemer-Weller

revised by J. Richard Haefer

[ká’nowa’, gasdöwøe’ sä]

Generic term for vessel rattles of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois Confederacy peoples of northeastern North America. Haudenosaunee vessel rattles are made from horn, bark, gourd, tin, and coconuts, as well as snapping, box, and painted turtles.

The most important rattle is the kanyáhte’ [kánˀo:waỉ] (‘great turtle rattle’) made from the shell, head, and neck of the common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentine). It is called ganya:hde gano:wa or ganya:hde gasdawedra in Cayugan. Its construction is a skilled and lengthy process: the legs, tail, and viscera are removed and the shell is placed in the earth for ants to clean it; chokecherry pits are placed inside the shell and all openings are sewn closed. The head and neck are stretched out to form a handle, which is supported by a wooden rod or splints and wrapped with a rawhide thong, friction tape, or strips of inner tree bark (hickory or slippery elm are preferred). After the rattle has dried, it may be varnished and painted with red, black, or brown dots, bands, or crosses. The dimensions vary according to the size of the turtle and the total length can be from 25 to 50 cm. Instruments of about 30 cm are considered best for playing....

Article

Article

J. Richard Haefer

[cōcōkai]

Suspension rattle of the Wintu people of Northern California. It is made from insect cocoons filled with small seeds and strung on a cord about 2 metres long. The cord is worn around the neck of male dancers for the h’up chonas, traditionally a war dance, nowadays used to symbolize tribal authenticity....

Article

Chad Stephen Hamill

Term in the Sahaptin language for a bell used by Native Americans of the Columbia Plateau. It is a normal hand bell of thin brass with a wooden handle. Assimilated into the Washat (Seven Drum Religion) by the Sahaptin peoples, especially the Nez Perce, it is rung at the opening of the ...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

[labaleo]

Violin of the Yoeme Yaqui Indians of Arizona and Northern Mexico. It is a variant of the European violin, made from local woods. The Yaqui and Mayo Indians originally learned violin making from missionaries in the 18th century. The instrument is used to accompany the pahko’ola (pascola) dancers. There is no standard size, but most are close in size to the modern violin. They lack a separate bass bar and are not varnished. The four strings can be either normal violin strings or made from monofilament nylon; the bridge is usually purchased. Tunings vary in patterns of 4th and 5ths between adjacent strings according to the series of songs played throughout the night, and are referred to by the names of animals. The bow is hand made and a peg is inserted in the frog end to tighten the horsehair, which might or might not be woven into strands. Two violinists play in 3rds or 6ths accompanied by the ...

Article

Leli  

Richard Keeling

Bone whistle of the Maidu and other native peoples of northern California. It is made from the leg bone of a large bird, a deer or other animal, or local cane. The whistles, from 12 to 20 cm long and 1.5 to 2 cm in diameter (the larger of cane), are usually played in pairs, hence the Kato name tulnok kleyulit (‘whistles tied together’); other names for them include xosa:ng’ay (Hupa); speryspery (Yurok); məpu (Southeastern Pomo); tōka (Patwin); and delni (Wailaki). The bones are bound together with sinew or cord near each end and plugged at one end with pitch. Each tube has a V-shaped hole at or near the centre, with a block of pitch to direct the airstream over the opening. The two whistles produce different notes but are not played melodically; rather, they mark the rhythm of dancing. In ceremonial and secular dances, several men blow them at the same time, producing a rich texture that also includes contrapuntal singing. Historically they were used in shamanistic rituals. ...

Article

John M. Schechter and J. Richard Haefer

Notched flute, a large kena, of the Bolivian Alti Plano, also found in Tarapacá Province, Chile. Called pheta by the Chipaya people, it is made from tokoró, a local cane, with six fingerholes and a thumbhole. The instruments are played in groups to accompany dancing, particularly at the feast of Santiago (July 25) among the Chipaya of the Department of Oruro. The ...

Article

Mary Riemer-Weller

(Creek: ‘turtle rattle’)

Vessel rattle of the Creek Indians of the southeastern USA; it is also used by the Yuchi, Cherokee, and Seminole tribes. The name was documented in the early 20th century. The rattle is made from six to ten dried terrapin shells. Holes are bored in the shells, which are filled with pebbles and attached to a piece of rawhide. Dancers wear one set on the outside of each leg, tied just below the knee. The rattle is worn only by women, in the corn and stomp dances of the Cherokee and Seminole, and in the ribbon dance which is part of the Green Corn ceremonial of the Muskogee Creek....

Article

Ma’wo  

Mary Riemer-Weller

revised by Richard Keeling

[mawu, mawuwi]

Musical bow of the native peoples of northern California and the San Joaquin Valley. The Yokut name is ma’wo; the Maidu term mawu or mawuwi; other Maiduan groups call it pan’da, and the Kato name is cele (‘singing’). It is the only string instrument used by native peoples of California, but musical bows are also found among the Tlingit of Alaska and the Carrier of northwest Canada. Among some Maiduan groups the bow was made especially for musical purposes and used by shamans for communicating with spirits. Some authorities say the shaman’s bow was rubbed with human blood. Most cultures including the Yokuts use a normal hunting bow, but more elaborate versions with a central bridge are also found. The Yurok played a regular hunting bow for amusement. The quiet bow sound was sometimes augmented by humming.

The method of playing was similar for all types. The bow was held in the left hand with most of the instrument projecting towards the player’s right side. The wooden part of the lower end, or sometimes the string, was held between the teeth or in front of the open mouth; the string was either plucked with the fingers of the right hand, or was struck lightly with the fingernails, a twig, or a bone. The mouth cavity was used as a resonating chamber and different notes could be produced by varying its size and shape....

Article

Mary Riemer-Weller

(Cheyenne: ‘bass drum’)

Large double-headed drum of the Cheyenne Indians of the northern Plains of the USA. The ‘big drum’, a common name used to distinguish the bass drum from the smaller handheld frame drum, is found throughout North America. It is generally broad and shallow, about 60 to 80 cm in diameter and 20 to 40 cm deep and traditionally made from a hollowed log. The heads, of untanned hide, are laced together in criss-cross fashion around the body. Although a commercial bass drum is often used nowadays, its calfskin or plastic heads may be replaced with deer hide (as among the Flathead people of Montana) or buffalo skin (as among the Dakota for use in their sun dance). The padded beaters, 35 to 45 cm long, can be of wood or fibreglass, the latter favoured for its flexibility. Drums made by the Ojibwa of the western Great Lakes have painted heads and are elaborately decorated with cloth and beadwork; they are suspended from four stakes driven into the ground....

Article

Klisala Harrison

[kingáan, hat’awt’isk]

Terms for whistles and reed instruments of First Nations peoples of the North American Pacific Northwest, including the Kwakwa̲ka̲’wakw (ma̲dzis), Haida (kingáan), Nuuchahnulth, Tlingit, Tsimshian (hat’awt’isk), and Coast Salish. The instruments appear with and without fingerholes and can be blown by mouth or mechanically. The mouth-blown whistles appear in three forms: stopped pipes, half-stopped pipes, and open pipes. Some older literature and museum catalogues use the term sk’a’na to denote Haida (Xa’ida, Skittagetan) single- and multiple-pipe whistles. The mouth-blown reed instruments include single reeds, double reeds, retreating reeds, and ribbon reeds.

(1) Mouth-blown whistles with stopped pipes have from one to six sounding chambers and fundamental pitches. The whistles are carved from straight-grained wood, preferably red cedar or spruce. Generally the whistle is oval or cylindrical; sometimes it is pear-shaped, square (having a flat face and a rounded back), or a flattened, truncated cone. A block of wood is split lengthwise along the grain. One of the resulting halves is hollowed so that its walls are very thin. In it is carved the whistle’s sounding chamber or chambers, but a small block is left uncarved at its lower end (thus stopping the pipe), as is a larger block at the upper end (for the embouchure). The other half, which will form the top side of the whistle, is hollowed in the same way, but not so deeply. An airway for the embouchure is then carved, and sometimes a lip on the outside at the embouchure opening. A mouth with an edge like that of a recorder, commonly rectangular, or a crescent, circle, or irregular shape, is cut in the top side. The mouth, in the case of a whistle with one sounding chamber, is often near the embouchure. In whistles with more than one chamber, a mouth for each is located near the top, middle, or end of the whistle. The two halves generally fit together airtight without gluing; they are bound together in one or more places with split spruce root or shredded cedar bark, or rarely with animal sinew that is painted or left in its natural form. Modern binding materials include string, gauze, and cloth. If the wood dries and shrinks over time, the joint can be made airtight again by applying resin. Paper is applied on the sides of some modern instruments....