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Article

Bwi  

Article

Bwinza  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Wooden whistle of the Makere people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Two types have been reported: a cylindrical whistle, and a whistle with slender conical bore, sometimes bound in animal skin. Other Makere names for this instrument are abimbo, bwanza, eli, mapengo, nabimbaye, nahimbo, and odendo.

F.J. de Hen...

Article

David K. Rycroft

(pl. tussúmbi)

Open-ended, footed drum of the Chokwe of the Lóvua/Lunda district, Angola. The name derives from the word for ‘hen’, and the instrument is said to make a ‘cackling noise’. In construction and playing technique it closely resembles the mucundo drum, and it is played in conjunction with that and with the ...

Article

Gerhard Kubik

Term used for old drums found in caves north of the town of Singida in central Tanzania. Since about 1935, 78 drums have been found distributed in 16 sacred caves, as reported by the National Museum in Dar es Salaam. The age of these instruments, many of which had partly disintegrated, was estimated at more than 200 years. The makers belonged to neither the Iramb, nor the Nyaturu, nor any other people living there nowadays; the Ihanzu claim that when they moved into the area long ago, the drums were already there. Some one-string bowed lutes were also found in the caves. A huge ancient drum discovered near the summit of Samaja Hill in Irambaland, approximately 45 miles north of Singida, can also be seen in the National Museum. The drum’s body is cut from the stem of an acacia tree and looks like a big tooth with two roots. To produce the tension needed for the skin, large wooden plugs laced with strings were used. It is thought that some of these ‘hidden drums’ were used in religious or ritual contexts, perhaps associated with rain-making....

Article

Cheng  

[çeng]

Harp of Turkey, popular in the Ottoman empire until the late 17th century and related to the Georgian changi and the ancient Persian chang. It is an open angled harp (i.e. without forepillar) that resembles Assyrian and Egyptian predecessors, held vertically with the carved wooden resonator upward and the neck below. It was made in large (açık hava çengi) and small (kucak çengi) sizes, the former played standing and the latter, with about 12 strings (presumably of horsehair), held in the lap by a seated player, male or female. Long considered obsolete, the cheng was revived in modernized form by the Turkish musician Fikret Karakaya, who in 1995 made an instrument based on literary and iconographic sources, but with the playing positions of the resonator and neck reversed, and using modern tuning devices. More recently another harp was made by Mehmet Soylemez for the harpist Şirin Pancaroğlu....

Article

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Single-headed conical drum of the Tuutsi people of Rwanda. The struck head is laced to another skin that covers the closed end of the drum. The chihumurizo is the largest and lowest-pitched in a set of 15 drums; others include the ishako (ishaakwe, ‘high pitched one’), nterero (the second smallest), ...

Article

Andrew Tracey

Term for a recently extinct type of nine- or ten-note mbila xylophone of the Chopi of southern Mozambique, and said by them to be the original form of mbila. The chikonje was unusual in having the second lowest bar placed out of order at the right-hand (treble) end of the instrument. It was primarily used during ...

Article

David K. Rycroft

revised by Andrew Tracey

[chimvokomvoko]

Musical bow of the Shona/Ndau and Shona/Karanga peoples of south-eastern Zimbabwe. It is about 60 cm long and is unusual in having a stick about 10 cm long serving as a bridge. The bridge divides the wire string into unequal segments and stands on the membrane of a small drum-like gourd resonator that is pierced by the bow near its centre. The pitch interval between the two string segments is about 200 cents but varies at the whim of the player, always a child. The ...

Article

Andrew Tracey

Struck idiophone of flat or corrugated iron, of the Bitonga of the Inhambane region, Mozambique. It is played very loudly in conjunction with the bombo and other percussion instruments, to accompany dancing. Among the Chopi people of southern Mozambique the related term chingomana (literally ‘small drum’) denotes an unmarried girls’ initiation dance. The dance is accompanied by one ...

Article

Article

Andrew Tracey

[tshipendani]

Braced mouth bow of the Shona people of Zimbabwe and the Ndau, Chopi, and Shangaan of Mozambique. The stick is thinned except for a handhold near the centre. A light piece of cotton or fibre braces the wire string at a point that gives the interval of a 4th or 5th between the string segments. The string can be ‘pinch-plucked’ or struck with a plectrum. For resonance, the bow is held to the player’s open mouth at the brace point. Various techniques of damping and plucking with both the right hand and the index finger of the left hand (which holds the bow) allow production of four fundamental notes. The resulting harmonics make this one of the most versatile of southern African mouth bows. It resembles the Zulu isithontolo and the Sotho setolotolo in appearance and in playing technique, except that these latter bows are made of three separate sections assembled together....

Article

K.A. Gourlay

Idioglot reedpipe of West Africa; the position of the reed requires the instrument to be held horizontally. (The only known instance of such instruments outside Africa is the caña de millo of Colombia.) The West African instrument is found throughout the savannah region, from Guinea to Cameroon. It is made from a stem of guinea-corn or sorghum millet from which the pulp has either been pulled with a piece of wire (as among the Angas people of Nigeria) or pushed out with a metal rod (among the Birom of Nigeria) or with a stick of henna shrub (the Hausa of Nigeria and Niger), leaving both ends open. Small clarinets consist of a single internode and larger ones of two internodes; others are intermediate in length. Short versions include the clarinet of the Kilba people, Nigeria (23 cm); the Hausa tilboro (30 cm); the tsiriki of the Kebbi, Nigeria (35 cm); the ...

Article

Cocowa  

Konin Aka

Article

James Blades

revised by James Holland

Small Cymbals tuned to a definite pitch. Probably dating from the middle of the 1st millennium bce, bronze crotales (probably cast) have been found in Egypt, Rome and Greece; these generally have a large central boss and upturned rim, producing well-defined bell-like notes of high pitch (the ‘well-tuned cymbals’ of Psalm cl). Modern crotales do not have the upturned rim; they are rather heavier than Finger cymbals (which are unpitched and may also be classified as metal Clappers or castanets). The term ‘antique cymbals’ (Fr. cymbales antiques) may refer to pitched or unpitched instruments. As a rule, if no pitch is indicated the intended sound is that of finger cymbals. Berlioz, Debussy and Ravel all scored for antique cymbals with definite pitches: their intention was that two crotales of the same pitch should be struck together, resulting in a better sound than when they are struck with hard xylophone mallets, which is the more common technique....

Article

Margaret J. Kartomi

revised by Andrew C. McGraw

[doli-doli]

Xylophone of Nias, Indonesia, found also in Mentawai, Kalimantan (Punan areas), the Toala area of South Sulawesi, and in Madagascar. In Nias it consists of three or four loose wooden bars about 30 to 40 cm long, either flat or with curved tops, suspended across the thighs of the players or across a hollow wooden box. Traditionally they were tuned to the first three pitches of an unfixed pentatonic scale common to Nias that varies greatly between regions. When included, a fourth bar is tuned to the fifth pitch of this scale. Da’uli-da’uli were traditionally constructed by farmers in the field and often discarded there after the harvest. Women played them while guarding the rice fields at harvest time. Nowadays the bars are often mounted on a tall frame and played by standing musicians. In this modern form the bars are attached to the frame as with the Javanese gambang...

Article

Daiero  

Article

Daluka  

Goblet drum of Sudan. It is traditionally made of clay and played by women, notably by the main singer during spirit possession ceremonies. The Arabic name daluka, of Nubian origin, denotes a small drum beaten by the hand; in a bowl excavated from Tumulus VI at Hobagi, Meroe, one such drum is shown hanging from the drummer’s neck....

Article

Damba  

Article

Dambak  

Article

Dang  

Root term in the Chadic and Adamawa language groups for double-headed cylindrical drums of north-eastern Nigeria. Examples are the dang (Fali, Sukur, Jen, Gola, Munga, some Wurkun groups, and Kilba peoples), danga (Bata, Gudu), dangga (Mboi), and idara (Libo). Little is known of these drums, though it may be assumed that in construction, method of performance, and use they bear some relation to the Kilba ...