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Article

John M. Schechter and Amanda Villepastour

Drum of the Ẹ̀cgbá Yorùbá people of Nigeria. It is constructed from two large gourds strung together (koto is a Yorùbá word for ‘deep gourd’). One end is then cut open and covered with a skin head. The bàtá koto ensemble consists of the ...

Article

Batta  

K.A. Gourlay

Term used by the Gunga and Duka peoples of northwestern Nigeria for a calabash drum. The Duka drum is also known as kworria. The Gunga batta is almost spherical and measures about 55 cm in diameter. The goatskin head, about 25 cm in diameter, has a large piece of tuning wax. Metal jingles are attached to the lacing. The drum is beaten by hand and is usually played with the smaller stick-beaten ...

Article

Bavugu  

Gerhad Kubik

Stamped aerophone of the Khoisan and !Kung people of South Africa and Angola. Three gourds of the Strychnos spinosa plant, open at both ends, are fastened end to end with black wax to form a tube. The bavugu is stamped on the player’s left thigh and the upper end is either hit with the right hand or covered more or less with it to change the pitch....

Article

Bawa  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Mouth bow of the Aïmeri people of the Watsa Gombari region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The string is sometimes coupled (braced) to the bow stave by a cord that divides the string into two unequal segments, thus obtaining two different pitches when the segments are plucked by the fingers; the bracing cord itself can also be plucked....

Article

Baya  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Side-blown animal horn or ivory horn of the Zande people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The ivory examples have a carved lozenge-shaped embouchure. All have a fingerhole in the tip. The term also refers to a composite side-blown horn of the Zande, made of ivory and wood, also with a similar embouchure and a fingerhole in the tip....

Article

Baza  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Xylophone of the Gobu people in the Ubangi region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has 5 to 10 bars lying on braids of vegetable fibre that isolate the bars from the frame, which is made from two boards linked by a semi-circular wooden bar that forms a handle. The calabash resonators can have a hole in the side, covered by a thin membrane (mirliton) of fish bladder, spider web, or cigarette paper to add a buzz to the sound, a magical practice by which the player contacts the gods....

Article

Bazara  

Stamping tube of the Shambala people of Tanzania.

Article

Beganna  

Ronald Lah and Stéphanie Weisser

Lyre of the Christian Amhara of central and northern Ethiopia. The most carefully crafted of Amhara string instruments, the beganna is noteworthy for its ornately sculpted crossbar and engraved arms. Its soundbox (gebeti) is either a square-face wooden bowl or an open box shaped as a truncated square pyramid, made of plywood in recent instruments. The open face is covered with untanned cattle skin sewn at the back of the soundbox. The ten sheep- or cattle-gut strings are bound with tuning levers and twisted around the crossbar. Their opposite ends are attached to a tailpiece held by two leather strips inserted through incisions in the skin head and fastened inside the soundbox. A hole, often shaped as a cross, pierces the back of the soundbox. The ...

Article

Bel  

Set of seven stopped end-blown flutes of different sizes of the Angas people of Nigeria. The pipes are made from river reeds and blown in hocket by young men on social and ceremonial occasions.

See Stopped flute ensemble.

Article

Bele  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Side-blown antelope horn of the Sango in the Ubangi region, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The horn has a fingerhole in the tip and a rectangular embouchure.

F.J. de Hen: Beitrag zur Kenntnis der Musikinstrumente aus Belgisch Kongo und Ruanda-Urundi (Tervuren, 1960), 179–81.

Article

Term occasionally applied to West African harps with half-gourd resonator held to the player’s stomach. The gourd can be moved away from or pressed against the belly to alter the sound.

Article

Amanda Villepastour

Double-headed cylindrical drum of the Yorùbá people of Nigeria. One or both skins have snares and one head is struck with a curved stick held by the right hand while the left hand presses on the other skin to regulate the tone. The largest bẹ̀m̀bẹ́...

Article

Bendre  

Rainer Polak

Kettledrum of Gur-speaking peoples (Mossi, Sisala, Mamprusi, and others) in Burkina Faso and northern Ghana. It is an almost spherical calabash with a small goat- or antelope-skin head, tuned with black adhesive paste at the center. It is beaten by the hands. The player either stands with the drum suspended from his neck or sits on the ground. Often metal plaques with rings along the edges are attached to the instrument creating a jingling sound. The ...

Article

Bene  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Lamellaphone of the Sango people in the Ubangi region, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has a carved wooden resonator fitted under an ovoid soundboard, and seven to ten wooden tongues.

J.S. Laurenty: Les sanza du Congo (Tervuren, 1962), 192.

Article

Beng  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Mouth bow of the Fang people of Gabon. It accompanies songs of the shamans of the Eboghe society.

Article

Transverse flute of the Nzakara people of the Central African Republic. It has two fingerholes and is used during hunting and to accompany dancing.

Article

Benta  

K.A. Gourlay and Gavin Webb

Mouth bow of the Asante (Ashanti) and Akan people of Ghana. The instrument was first noted by Bowdich in 1817 and described as a stick bent in the form of a bow with a thin piece of split cane fastened across it as a string. This was held between the lips at one end and the string struck with a small stick whilst being stopped by a thick stick, the mouth acting as a resonator....

Article

Bentere  

Gavin Webb

Calabash kettledrum of northern Ghana whose use has spread to southern areas, including the Akan. The head is tensioned with rawhide thongs tied to a ring at the bottom of the shell. Players either sit or stand with the drum suspended from a strap around the neck and beat the drum by hand....

Article

Béré  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Set of bamboo or cane whistles of the Mamvu people in the Uele region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

J.-S. Laurenty: La systématique des aérophones de l’Afrique centrale (Tervuren, 1974), 208.

Article

Beru  

Struck idiophone of the Kikuyu people of Kenya. It is a circular or S-shaped piece of steel (such as a piece of automobile scrap), played very loudly together with a button accordion to accompany dances.

H. Tracey: Catalogue of the Sound of Africa Series, vol.2 (Roodeport, 1973), 360....