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Richard Taruskin

The doctrine or theory according to which the primary determinant of human character and destiny, and the primary object of social and political allegiance, is the particular nation to which an individual belongs. Nationalism is recognized by historians and sociologists as a major factor in European cultural ideology by the end of the 18th century, and it has been arguably the dominant factor in geopolitics since the end of the 19th. Its multifarious impact on the arts, and on music in particular, has directly paralleled its growth and spread.

Nationalism should not be equated with the possession or display of distinguishing national characteristics – or not, at any rate, until certain questions are asked and at least provisionally answered. The most important ones are, first, who is doing the distinguishing? and second, to what end? Just as there were nations before there was nationalism, music has always exhibited local or national traits (often more apparent to outsiders than to those exhibiting them). Nor is musical nationalism invariably a matter of exhibiting or valuing stylistic peculiarities. Nationality is a condition; nationalism is an attitude....


(from Omaha ne’xe: ‘water vessel’; and gaku: ‘to beat’)

Water drum of the Omaha people of the central Plains area of the USA. It is made from a hollowed log partially filled with water and with a head of buffalo skin. The drum is tuned by tipping it to wet the skin, then partially drying it near a fire to produce the correct sound. As with the Ojibwa ...


Paula Conlon

[‘Doc’ Tate ]

(b Fletcher, OK, July 3, 1932; d Lawton, OK, March 5, 1996). Native American (Comanche) maker and player of juniper flutes. He attended the Fort Sill Indian School and Haskell Indian Institute. He learned flute making from the Kiowa maker Belo Cozad (1864–1950) and the Lakota maker Richard Fool Bull (1887–1976). He used the traditional method of splitting the wood, carving the channel, boring the holes, and inserting the plug, then gluing the flute back together with sap, binding it with leather thongs, and attaching the external block. His first album, Indian Flute Songs from Comanche Land (NAM 401C, n.d.), was the first commercial recording consisting entirely of music for solo Indian flute. He introduced new playing techniques, including cross-fingerings to extend the range, and extending the warbling sound on the lowest tone to all the available pitches, thus expanding the flute’s repertoire and contributing to its revival in the latter 20th century. Tate (the English name given to him) was recognized as a National Heritage Fellow in ...



Mary Riemer-Weller

(Omaha: ‘whistle’)

Bone whistle of the Omaha Indians of the central Plains of the USA. It is made from the wing bone of an eagle and is about 15 cm long, and it has a V-shaped flue opening in the centre but no fingerholes. It produces only one shrill note which, when played repeatedly, was said to imitate an eagle’s call. The whistle was played during parts of the ...



(Heb.: ‘melody’; pl. nigunim

In the liturgical music of the Ashkenazi Jews, an early form of centonized chant, also known as nusa . Among the East European Ḥasidic Jews, the term refers to a type of vocal music, often sung to nonsense syllables and accompanied by dancing, of which one of the important forms is the ...



Andrew C. McGraw

A modern keyed zither of Bali, Indonesia. It resembles the Japanese taisho-goto. Four to six guitar strings are stretched across the resonator, a shallow wooden box approximately 55 cm long and 20 cm wide, often elaborately carved, painted, and gilt in the manner of many Balinese gamelan instruments. The instrument is placed on the ground before a musician sitting cross-legged. The strings are hitched at the right end of the box and cross a metal bridge over which a wooden guard is placed where the player rests his right hand, strumming all of the strings together with a guitar pick. A small soundhole pierces the soundtable to the left of the bridge. The strings then pass under a keyboard of seven to 12 metal levers with small circular touches resembling typewriter keys, which, when depressed by the fingers of the left hand, each bring a metal bar down upon all of the strings, stopping them against a narrow wooden board (equivalent to a fingerboard) glued to the top of the box. The strings then pass over a metal nut (the same shape as the bridge) and are tuned with small guitar tuners at the left end. Tuning is not standard but most players tune the first two strings to the same pitch, two more an octave above. Some players tune one or two of the strings to the fifth....


Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(d Kensington, London, bur. Aug 28, 1784). English soprano, actress and dancer. The daughter of a Jewish merchant (or tavern keeper) she made her début as Polly in The Beggar’s Opera at the newly opened Covent Garden Theatre in December 1732, with a run of 20 nights in succession. She played Deidamia in Gay’s posthumous ...


Chad Stephen Hamill

Whistle of the Salish Indians of the Columbia Plateau. 10 to 15 cm long, it can be made from various hollow dry creek weeds, cow parsnip stalk, willow or elder wood, the ulna bone of a bald eagle, or the leg or wing bone of a crane or similar wading bird. The proximal end is cut at a 45-degree angle to rest against the lower lip of the player. A wedge-shaped hole is cut on the side opposite the angled cut and partially filled with pine pitch to direct the air to the lower edge of the cut. It produces a single sound. Whistles are used by young boys and men for personal enjoyment. The term ...


Richard Moyle

Nose flute of Hawaii. It is a tube of thin-walled native Hawaiian bamboo, traditionally between 25 and 50 cm long, with a nose hole cut at an angle below the upper end, closed by a node. Two or three fingerholes penetrate the tube towards the open end. The traditional way of playing the flute was to hold it with the right thumb and forefinger and use the rest of the fingers of the same hand to cover the holes. The left thumb was used to hold the left nostril closed with the left hand cupped over or under the flute. Like the ...


J. Richard Haefer


Generic term for a bone scraper of the Aztec (Nahua) people and other central Mexican cultures. The name was derived from omitl (‘bone’) and chicahuaztli (‘power’). It was a long serrated stick or bone scraped with a smaller stick. Two types have been identified, one a long femur with deep notches and incised with images relating to Quatzalcoatl and Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, found in the central Mexican highlands. The second type, notched but not incised, was from the Toluca and Tarascan areas. It is pictured in ...