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Article

Arvydas Karaška

Article

Bisanji  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

[tshisaandji]

Lamellaphone of the Luluwa people of the south-western Democratic Republic of the Congo. The resonator, usually rectangular, can be made of hard wood with a variable number of metal tongues or of very soft wood with bamboo tongues.

F.J. de Hen: Beitrag zur Kenntnis der Musikinstrumente aus Belgisch Kongo und Ruanda-Urundi...

Article

Bizitu  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Set of whistles of the Mbanja people of the north-western Democratic Republic of the Congo. The whistles are made of wood in different sizes and shapes, though all have a conical bore and are threaded on a cord or wire and worn around the neck or wrist. Other names are ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Blul  

Robert At’ayan

revised by Jonathan McCollum

End-blown flute of Armenia. It is usually made from apricot wood, though other materials such as bone and cane can be used. The pipe is 38 to 70 cm long. The bore diameter at the lower end is 15 to 20 mm, and 10 to 15 mm at the top. Pitched most commonly in C, D♭ or E♭, it has seven (occasionally eight) fingerholes, a thumbhole, and two lower tuning vents, producing a diatonic scale, usually in the Aeolian mode. Chromatic notes are obtained by partly opening or closing the holes. The blul is easily overblown and has a wide range, up to two and a half octaves. The timbre in its lower register is soft, velvety, and slightly nasal; the middle register sounds similar but lighter. Playing softly, it is possible to sound an octave, a 5th or (in the high register) a 3rd simultaneously with the fundamental pitches. Shaking the instrument or fluttering the fingers produces a distinct vibrato....

Article

Blwêr  

Article

[percussion board]

Percussion idiophone, usually a board of resonant wood that is struck with beaters. In the Philippines, for example, a board suspended a few centimetres above the ground is struck and jars suspended close above it serve as resonators. Boards can also be placed over resonating pits in the ground. Sometimes a trough is cut along the lower side of a board to enhance its tone. If not suspended, the board can be raised on supports so that it can vibrate freely. Presumably the board drum is the prehistoric precursor of the xylophone....

Article

Boboman  

Margaret J. Kartomi

Large xylophone of the Mentawai Islands, Indonesia. The name is derived from pasibobo (‘to beat’). It has four heavy wooden bars up to 1 metre long. They can be tuned by thinning the lower side for up to half its length. The larger bars rest on crossed sticks over a square hole in the ground about 20 cm deep, acting as a resonator. There is no standard size or tuning. The ...

Article

Bocina  

John M. Schechter

revised by J. Richard Haefer

Generic term for a horn in Latin America, specifically a natural horn of the mestizos and more especially the Quechua people of the highland Ecuadorian provinces of Imbabura, Chimborazo, Tungurahua, Cotopaxi, Cañar, and Azuayi. Each highland zone possesses its own type. The long (2 metres or more) and straight bamboo end-blown instrument is called huarumo or guarumo in the highlands; it is played in ensemble with flute and bombo. Among the Salasaca of Tungurahua and the Imbabura Quechua it is made up of a number of curved cow-horn segments joined together and ending with a guadúa (bamboo) bell. (It is sometimes called churu, not to be confused with the conch churu or quipa used for similar purposes in the Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, and Chimborazo provinces.) Bocinas are used by Quechuas to call men to fight, to minga (community work projects), to gather to celebrate the completion of a house or other festive occasions, and for other purposes....

Article

Birgit Kjellström

[kohorn]

Swedish signal horn. A ram’s or bovine horn would be boiled or otherwise softened and the soft parts scraped out; then the tip was sawn off and an aperture made in the end to serve as a mouthpiece. The bockhorn was used until at least the end of the 19th century, mainly in connection with herding cattle, but also as a signal in hunting or fishing and as a means of outdoor communication. The horn (known also as vallhorn, tuthorn, tjuthorn, or björnhorn) was used for calling the cattle and for frightening away wild animals; for the latter use the kvickhorn, taken from the living animal, was supposed to have special magical power. Drilled with three or four fingerholes, the horn was also known as the lekhorn, låthorn, spelhorn, prillarhorn, fingerhorn, and many other names, derived either from the instrument’s function or its substance. Similar or identical horns are used all over the Baltic region. Archaeological discoveries of bovine horns with fingerholes date from the Iron Age....

Article

Bocú  

Malena Kuss

[bokú]

Single-headed drum of Cuba. It is tall, relatively thin, and open at the base. One of the oldest drums from eastern Cuba, it is a creole instrument blending elements of African and European ancestry and shares musical functions with the tumbadora. There are three types of bocúes: (1) cylindrical or conical wooden body, with nailed head; (2) conical wooden body with the head held by a hoop; and (3) conical wooden body made of staves, with the head fastened by a system of hoops and metal screw tuners (modern).

Traditionally, the body was made from a log or staves, preferably of cedar, although pine and other woods were also used. The oldest drums were cylindrical and carved from a log, with a nailed head; the conical shape resulted when staves from food barrels were reused, being thinned only at the lower end to glue them together. Goatskin was preferred for the head, although bovine, deer, horse, or calf skin could be used. Height commonly ranges from 65 to 95 cm, head diameter from 20 to 27 cm, and base diameter from 10 to 19 cm. The tallest ...

Article

Boembas  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

[blaze-vere, Vlaamse bas]

Flemish bowed monochord. There are three types: 1) a bow stave with a bladder held between the string and the stave; 2) a stick zither with the bladder between the string and a small board fixed to the stick; and 3) a wooden bow affixed at one end in a hole in a board, held in a strong curve by a string looped around the other end and passing through two small holes in the board and knotted below it, clasping a bladder between the arms of the loop. Bells can be added. The name boembas is onomatopoeic. The stick zither type is analogous to the bumbass. The boembas was formerly played from All Saints Day until Carnival; attempts have been made to revive it. It seems to be unknown in the French-speaking parts of Belgium.

F.J. de Hen: ‘Folk Instruments in Belgium’, GSJ, vol.25 (1972), 110–12.

See also Bumbass...

Article

Bofu  

Alan R. Thrasher

Barrel drum of the Han Chinese. The wooden body is about 40 to 45 cm long, with two tacked heads between 20 and 25 cm in diameter. It rests horizontally on a low rectangular frame. As with other instruments used in imperial Confucian rituals, its body is usually lacquered red, a colour associated with ritual and ceremony, and it may be further decorated. The ...

Article

Bogongo  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Obscure three-string harp-zither of the Binga of the Central African Republic. It probably resembles the mvet, a stick with a notched bridge in the middle but no added resonator. It is played resting on the thighs of a performer seated on the ground, to accompany hunting and other songs.

See also...

Article

Bokenza  

K.A. Gourlay

[bonkenza, bonkenja, bonkendja]

Cylindro-conical double-headed drum of the Konda and Nkundo peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Konda drum is about 58 cm tall and the Nkundo about 44 cm. The cone is narrow and elongated, giving a goblet-shaped appearance without a supporting base, and the upper head is fastened by parallel cords which, at the point where the cylinder gives way to the cone, take the form of a net covering the cone. Traditionally the bokenza was a war drum, beaten in battle to encourage the warriors. The drums have leather carrying straps and often contained small rattling pebbles. The Lia lokiru (116 cm) (cf. Nkundo lokiro and Sengele lokilo) was of the same type and served the same function. The Nkundo term for a large drum (140 cm) of this type, bondundu, would appear to be cognate with the Yembe and Konda ndungu and the Dia and Sakata ...

Article

Bokio  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

[bonkeli]

Single-headed drum of the Kota and Kutu peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The footed wooden body is about 80 cm tall. The head can be of antelope, snake, or crocodile skin, usually laced to the body with leather thongs. It is beaten by the hands.

O. Boone...

Article

Bokuka  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Trapezoidal slit drum of the Mongo, Nkundo, and Kota peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is made of wood and averages about 50 to 70 cm tall and 75 to 90 cm long. It is wider at the bottom than at the top. Larger examples have been reported. The Mongo also call it ...

Article

Bol  

Timkehet Teffera

Flute of the Berta people of western Ethiopia and southern Sudan. It is an end-blown one-note bamboo pipe without fingerholes. 12 to 25 bols of different pitches are played in hocket in ensemble (called bol negero and variant names) with a wooden kettledrum (negero) struck with two wooden beaters. During the 19th century this ensemble was a status symbol of the royal court. The instruments were kept in the royal palace and used only at private and official events of the court. Each bol had its own name: al meshir al awel, al meshir atani, tego bala, aqidare, amadine, asholfa, bolmoshan, etc.; nowadays the names differ according to locale and dialect. The pipes are made in sets from 9 to 80 cm long and 2 to 5 cm in diameter, with a sharpened blowing edge and slightly conical tube stopped at the bottom by a natural node. The ...

Article

Bolange  

Article

Bolima  

Ferdinand J. de Hen