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Article

Bināyo  

Mireille Helffer

revised by Gert-Matthias Wegner and Simonne Bailey

[kom mikalā, khaprāṅg]

Bamboo Jew’s harp of Nepal. It is about 6 cm long and 1.5 cm wide, narrowing halfway along its length. An idioglot tongue is cut following the outline of the frame and free at the narrow end. The bināyo is used by the Rai and Limbu people of East Nepal and other ethnic groups. The Thakali of the Annapurna region call it ...

Article

Binga  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

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Bion  

Article

Bipa  

Robert C. Provine

revised by François Picard

Pear-shaped fretted lute of Korea, corresponding to the Chinese pipa and Japanese biwa. The body and neck are typically made of chestnut wood, the soundtable of paulownia. The five-string hyang-bipa (‘native bipa’, also known as ohyeon, ‘five strings’), together with the geomungo and the gayageum, was popular during the Unified Silla dynasty (668–935), which reportedly inherited the lute from the Goguryeo dynasty. The number of frets increased from five to ten during the Joseon dynasty; modern examples can have 20 frets or more, extending far onto the soundtable past the soundholes. The four-string dang-bipa (‘Chinese bipa’) was supposedly introduced during the Silla dynasty although it is documented only from 1076 in the history text Goryeo-sa; modern types have 12 frets or more and a range exceeding three octaves. Although considered defunct after about 1930, both types have been revived in the 21st century.

The hyang-bipa, according to the treatise ...

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 ...

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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....

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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

Vasil S. Tole

(b Elbasan, Albania, Aug 4, 1911, Albania; d Tiranë, Albania, April 17, 1970). Albanian folk music performer. He created and performed about 70 popular songs in the folk music idiom. Born in Elbasan, in a traditional family, he completed his primary and secondary education in Elbasan, which is renowned for the folk music traditions and the spectacular scenery. Bodini’s voice captured the attention of audiences when he was 15. He continued his education in the capitol, Tirana, also appearing as a singer in the traditional music clubs. His repertory included songs made by him, as well as traditional Italian and Greek songs. In 1937, he started his studies in acting in Rome (Italy), but he had to discontinue because of a disease in 1940. Back in Tiranë, he married an Italian, Ada Sarmi, and had two sons. After the establishment of the communist regime, Ada was repatriated to Italy together with the two sons in ...

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...