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Article

K. A. Gourlay

Large, slightly barrel-shaped, double-headed drum of the Kilba people of north-eastern Nigeria. It is approximately 75 cm long and 45 cm at its widest diameter. The drum is distinguished by having two snares on the upper head and bracing cords arranged in sets of three, without a central ligature. It is used on both ceremonial and social occasions, being the principal instrument in all death-dance ceremonies and for the communal bearing of a corpse to the grave. It is also played with the ...

Article

Open, variable-tension hourglass drum of the Kilba people of Nigeria. It is played under the arm and struck with a hooked stick. The narrowest part of the waist is nearer the head than the open end. The dang fokku is traditionally associated with the warrior class and used only in their dances and those of the hunters; it allegedly has the power both of inspiring courage and of enticing leopards out of hiding....

Article

Jeremy Montagu

Frame xylophone of Burkina Faso. It has 17 or sometimes 18 rectangular wooden bars; all except the one to three lowest bars have large calabash resonators below them with buzzing membranes (mirletons) over holes in the side. It is tuned to an anhemitonic pentatonic scale of three octaves and a tone, with the intervals varying between a slightly narrow whole tone and a minor third. The lowest bars, because they are not resonated and are used differently, are not part of the scale system. The instrument is used for funeral rites, the name meaning ‘funeral repertoire’. It is played with wooden sticks tipped with natural rubber.

The lowest one to three bars, called jìl kpàwre (jìl or gyil: xylophones in general; kpàwre: beating, hence in this context ‘accompanying the xylophone with these bars’), serve a special purpose, being played by a second player with wooden sticks (often with the normal beaters reversed) only to mark the rhythm. The second player is thus regarded not as playing the xylophone but as accompanying it, so that, unlike other xylophones, the ...

Article

Dende  

Andrew Tracey

[tshikala]

Braced gourd-resonated musical bow of the Venda of South Africa. It resembles the Shangana/Tsonga (Shangaan) xitende/tshitende in Mozambique and South Africa and the Zulu and Swazi umakhweyana in South Africa and Swaziland. The bow stick averages 1.4 metres long, but can vary from 0.6 to more than 2 metres. It is held vertically with the opening in the gourd held against the player’s chest. The string is struck with a light stick or grass stem. The pitch interval between the two segments of the string characterises each language, the Venda and Zulu using about 200 cents, the Shangaan about 300. One or the other segment is usually fingered up by 100 or 200 cents to give a minimum of three fundamental notes. The opening in the gourd is moved off and onto the player’s chest to provide some measure of selected resonance of harmonics or for a ‘wa-wa’ effect. It is mostly a man’s instrument, used to accompany social and political commentary, but among the Zulu and Swazi it was largely played by young women before marriage. However, like most musical bows in southern Africa, it has become rare. In the 1970s the Zulu musician and Benedictine Brother Clement Sithole pioneered the use of the ...

Article

Deza  

Andrew Tracey

[mbila deza, mbila dza madeza]

Lamellaphone of the Venda of South Africa. It is essentially the same as the better-known mbira dza vadzimu of the Shona of Zimbabwe, with some variation in note layout. The full name, mbila dza madeza, means ‘mbila of calabashes’, referring to the large calabash (see below) in which it is propped for resonance. It has a heavy tray-type body with a little-finger hole in a bottom corner with which to hold the instrument while playing, and about 26 tongues, often broad and spatulate, in two superimposed ranks, covering more than three octaves in a heptatonic tuning. The two lower octaves are the domain of the left thumb; the upper range is played by right thumb and, plucking upwards, the right index finger. Instruments with bass and treble sides reversed are also found. The deza is the particular instrument of the Lemba sub-group of the Venda. Its repertoire includes several sacred songs identical to those played on the Shona ...

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Dialle  

Article

Dichela  

Andrew Tracey

Article

J. Gansemans, K.A. Gourlay and F.J. de Hen

Single-bar Xylophone of the southeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The resonator is a large, spherical calabash with the stem end cut out. Two bow-shaped pieces of wood are attached to the hollowed shell with wax, one on either side of the opening, and a hardwood bar, about 40 cm long, is hung between the bows over the opening by thin laces of antelope skin. The bar is struck with a rubber-tipped beater. By moving the left hand under the bar alternately with regular striking, the player decreases the size of the opening and obtains a slight change of tone. The Luba call this instrument didimbadimba or kidimbadimba; the Bemba, Sanga, Shila and Zela call it mbila. Among the Luba and Shila it is associated with hunters of the buyanga sect, who play it during ceremonies to invoke spirits for success in the hunt and protection of the hunter.

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Article

Difna  

Article

Diga  

Article

Dikanza  

Article

Dikembe  

K.A. Gourlay

revised by F.J. de Hen

[dikembi]

Small Lamellaphone of the Luba of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has a rectangular wooden box resonator containing small rattling stones or pieces of metal, and ten to 12 metal tongues (milondo) tuned heptatonically and often fitted with buzzing rings. Tuning is effected by lengthening or shortening the vibrating length of the tongues, which are secured by a metal pressure bar (...

Article

Article

J. Gansemans

revised by F.J. de Hen

Scraper of the Luba of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is made from a raffia-palm branch, dikulo, 30 to 50 cm long, in which a slit 25 cm long and 1 cm wide is cut. The musician rubs a thin but strong stick against notches cut along both sides of the slit. The ...

Article

Dilele  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Article

Dimba  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

[djimba]

Xylophone of the Luba of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has eight to 20 bars, each over a calabash resonator. The bars rest on a frame made of two parallel rails pierced and held together by a long rod bent in a semicircle. When the dimba is carried while being played, the bent rod passes over the musician’s neck to support the instrument. The Lunda and Tshokwe call it ...

Article

Dindo  

K.A. Gourlay

revised by F.J. de Hen

Conical drum with two laced heads, of the Ngombe of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Drums of this type differ from the Mangbele nabita in that the cords linking the heads are supplemented by transverse ligatures sometimes forming an intricate network (as with the Sere sembe and Mbanja and Zande gaza). Drums can be straight-sided, for example the Mbanja and Ngbaka bia (100 to 120 cm long), or, like the Poto ndundu (ndumba) (about 45 cm long), have curving sides and a lower head considerably smaller than the upper. Often the upper part of the body is cylindrical and the lower part tapered. The Ngombe dindo (60 cm), the dindo moana (50 cm) and the dingita (35 cm) are essentially dance drums.

There appears to be a group of related terms for drums of this type, which includes ndundu (used by both the Ngombe and the Poto), Ngombe ...

Article

Dingba  

F.J. de Hen

Board zither of the Mangutu of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The five to eight vegetable-fibre strings are formed from one long cord that runs back and forth between notches at both ends of the board. The Mamvu call it kpai. When a calabash resonator is attached to it, the instrument can be played only by men. ...

Article

Dino  

F.J. de Hen