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Mary Riemer-Weller

revised by J. Richard Haefer

End-blown flute of the Tohono O’odham (Papago) Indians of southern Arizona and northern Sonora, Mexico. It consists of two internode sections of wa:pk (‘river cane’, Phragmites communis) and about 4 cm of each adjoining section for a total length of 48 to 55 cm and 2.5 to 4 cm diameter. The two end nodes are perforated, but the centre node is left intact and is bridged by a rectangular hole cut in the side of the instrument and covered with a piece of cloth or leather. Three fingerholes are cut in the lower portion of the flute. The index finger of the left hand is placed over the cloth or leather to help direct the air over the internal partition, thus creating a flue for the passage of air, and allowing for minor adjustments in the airstream. The fingerholes are controlled by the right hand.

One does not ‘play’ the flute but rather ‘sings’ it. Although the cane flute may have been used as a courting instrument and in the ...

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Whilkut  

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J. Richard Haefer

[xaws mewktses]

Scallop-shell rattle of indigenous peoples of the North American northwest coast. The term literally means ‘shellfish rattle’ in the Kwakwa̲ka̲’wakw language; xaws mewktses means ‘new rattle’ in Salish. It exists in two forms: (1) A number of scallop shells strung on a long cord, with the concave sides of pairs of shells facing each other; the rattle is shaken by hand; (2) Two pairs of shells tied to cord held in a dancer’s fist. The rattles are said to have come to the Kwakwa̲ka̲’wakw from the Coast Salish of Comox and are used in the ...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Marimba of Central America. Popular in both mestizo and indigenous cultures since the 19th century, it is found from southern Mexico south through Nicaragua and is a predecessor of the modern Mexican-Guatemalan marimba. It is distinguished from the modern marimba by its small size (rarely more than three octaves) and the use of gourds as resonators for the bars (...