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Ferdinand J. de Hen

Lamellaphone of the Boa people in the northern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The resonator is made of bark bent around three sticks curved in an arch and stuck in the underside of the rectangular wooden soundtable, forming a shape like a boat hull. The number of wooden tongues varies from six or eight (the usual number) to fourteen....

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Makembe  

K.A. Gourlay

Clapperless bell of the Ngbaka people of the Central African Republic. It is a large instrument made of welded iron, and has a protruding handle and divided V-shaped mouth. The bell is held upright by a seated player with the instrument’s mouth resting on the player’s leg above the knee and its handle in his left hand. He lifts the bell clear of contact to strike it with a curved beater in his right hand. The instrument is played with drums to accompany singing, for example, warriors’ or hunting songs. The name seems not to be found among the Ngbaka in the Democratic Republic of the Congo....

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Manzisi  

Jeremy Montagu

Trumpet of the Bongo people of Sudan. It is made from a hollowed-out tree trunk, carved on the outside into the shape of a limbless man, about 125 cm tall and 30 cm wide. The instrument is held vertically, the man’s head at the top, and the player produces low staccato sounds by blowing into a square mouth hole in the upper part of the back....

Article

Mapengo  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

(1) Set of whistles of the Boa people of the northern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Typically seven or nine cylindrical stopped pipes are threaded on cord or wire. Other names reported are gude and moleno.

(2) Wooden cylindrical whistle of the Makere of the DRC.

J.S. Laurenty: Systématique des aérophones de l’Afrique centrale...

Article

Mazhar  

Large circular frame drum (40 to 60 cm wide, otherwise more) with one membrane. It is found in Egypt, Syria and Turkey (see Drum, §I, 1(vi)). There has been some confusion between mizhar and mazhar. The former, a chordophone of early Islamic times, is copiously discussed in written sources, while the second is known chiefly through oral transmission and is rarely mentioned in the texts. The two words share the same plural, mazāhir.

There are contradictions in the sources, Arab as well as Turkish and Western, on the question of whether the mazhar has jingles on the circumference of the frame, as in the historical Arabian duff (see also Ṭār). In resolving these contradictions, it should be noted that the rings are not of Arab origin but were introduced under Islam and probably came from Iran.

The mazhar has religious significance, though in Syria its usage extends to secular music. It is called on in places of worship, where about a dozen may be assembled. Anyone may play, but usually they are entrusted to those with fine voices. The beating of the ...

Article

Mbenza  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

[binza]

End-blown whistle of the Boa people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Related names for similar instruments are gwinza (Bati), bwanze (Makere), and mwanzi (Zande). The mbenza is made of wood, about 40 cm long, and has a slender conical or cylindrical bore with no fingerholes.

F.J. de Hen...

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Mbila  

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Mbinga  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

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Mbio  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Article

Laurence Libin

Unique drum of the Nyanja/Chewa people of the Kasungu district, Malawi. It is used in rain-making rites. The cylindrical wooden body has geometric designs on the side reminiscent of rock paintings of the BaTwa Pygmies, and it is thought that the drum might originally have belonged to that people. The body contains rattling elements, said to be human teeth, inserted through a hole in the side. The two heads are made from varan lizard skin. The mbiriwiri formerly resided in a hut at a rain shrine at Msinja, resting on two poles and covered with dark cloth. Every year it was oiled. It was removed only to be beaten at the start of the rainmaking ceremony or for repairs. Only a special functionary (tsang’oma, ‘drum beater’) was allowed to handle it. Another functionary provided new skin for the heads when needed. Reportedly, when invaders sacked the shrine in the 1860s the ...

Article

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Xylophone of the Fang (Pahuin) people of southern Cameroon and northern Gabon. Its bars rest across two banana trunks. These instruments are used exclusively in the Melane ancestor cult, in an ensemble with five xylophones of four different sizes having a variable number of bars. The Eton/Fang use an ensemble of four xylophones....

Article

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Article

Mizwid  

Jeremy Montagu

Bagpipe of North Africa. It is basically a mijwiz played through a bag, i.e. a double clarinet with two parallel cane chanters, each with a single reed. Each chanter usually has five fingerholes, often with a short cowhorn bell on the end. The bag is normally made from a minimally cured goatskin with the chanters set into the neck hole. The mouthpipe, in one leg hole, often lacks a non-return valve, so the player must stop the pipe with the tongue while inhaling. The other leg holes are plugged with wooden sticks....

Article

Mokoto  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Very large cylindrical slit drum of the Mbuja people in the Ubangi region, Democratic Republic of the Congo; it is also known as mongungu, a name also used by the Komo. The term mokoto also denotes a large slit drum of the Ngombe in the Ubangi-Uele region; it is carved in a zoomorphic form....

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Molea  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

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Molimo  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

[isumba]

Wooden or bamboo voice modifier and trumpet of the Mbuti Pygmies of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A long metal drainpipe has been used instead; the material is considered unimportant, although a hollowed length of wood is preferred. The term molimo also refers to a ritual celebrated to awaken the forest, protector of the Mbuti people, and for related ceremonies. The instrument is sounded during the ritual by a young man after it has been immersed in water and rubbed with leaves and earth; sometimes it is passed through fire and rubbed with hot ashes. Its sounds imitate animal noises, and it is often referred to as the ‘animal of the forest’. When the ...

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Molu  

Article

Jeremy Montagu

Flute of the Tswana people of southern Africa. It is made of hardwood, shaped to a cone, split, conically grooved to form the bore, reunited, and then covered by a tubular section of antelope-leg skin, which shrinks as it dries. A feather treated with ‘medicine’ is kept inside it. The instrument is blown while placed on the hollowed tongue, and is very difficult to play. A series of pitches is obtained by opening and closing a small hole in the end. It is a warrior’s instrument, also used as a summons to meetings, and a valued personal possession. It resembles the Pedi ...

Article

Motutu  

K.A. Gourlay

revised by Ferdinand J. de Hen

[moturu, mbia]

Side-blown waterbuck horn of the Ngbaka people in the Ubangi region, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is traditionally blown only on the death of a notable. Similar horns of the Nkundi and the Logo are known respectively as ekungu and irili. Large horns were traditionally single-note instruments used for war or funerals. Smaller ones, used for sub-chiefs and signaling, had a fingerhole; in performance, the bell was opened or closed by a hand, enabling four or more notes to be produced. These horns have a square or lozenge-shaped embouchure and sometimes also an attached wooden bell. The Eso ...