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Article

Mireille Helffer

revised by Gert-Matthias Wegner and Simonne Bailey

Kettledrum of Nepal. The bowl, of various shapes, is made of brass, copper, iron, pottery, or wood, typically with a diameter of 14 to 23 cm and depth of 17 to 23 cm. The skin head is lapped to a hoop that is held to the body with V lacing. It is suspended at waist level from a neck strap and played with two sticks. The drum is not tuned to a definite pitch. It is used by the ...

Article

James W. McKinnon

revised by Robert Anderson

[tymbal] (Lat., from Gk. tumpanon)

Ancient hand drum (a Membranophone). Approximately 30 cm in diameter, it consisted of a rim of metal or wood covered on both sides by a skin membrane. It is usually shown held in the left hand being struck by the fingertips of the right. Normally it was associated with the orgiastic cults of Dionysus and Cybele where it appeared almost invariably with the Aulos. The absence of any reference to it in Homer or the Archaic lyric poets, and its sudden appearance in the art and literature of the 5th century bce, have prompted the suggestion that it came to Greece from Asia Minor in that century with the cult of Cybele and spread thence to the cult of Dionysus; nevertheless, it may only have become more prominent then, since the almost universal appearance of hand drums and pipes in orgiastic cults might speak for its usage in the Dionysian cult of pre-classical Greece....

Article

Henry Johnson

Frame drum of Japan. The name refers to the shape of the instrument: uchiwa (fan); daiko/taiko (drum). It has a circular wooden or metal frame about 21 to 60 cm in diameter with a handle about the same length as the diameter, and resembles a traditional Japanese flat fan. The single head, of cow or horse hide, can be struck on either side, using a wooden beater. Other names for different forms of frame drums with long handle, and sometimes two heads, include edaiko, etsukedaiko and etsukidaiko. In some modern settings, the uchiwadaiko is played in sets of different sizes and pitches, and often with other types of Japanese and Western percussion instruments. The handle is held in one hand and the beater in the other. The player might sit or stand while playing, or even walk while chanting. In the Nichiren Buddhist sect, the drummers normally chant the ...

Article

Vejiga  

J. Richard Haefer

(Sp.: ‘bladder’)

Inflated animal bladder used as a percussion instrument in Panama and Puerto Rico. The bladder, usually that of a pig or cow, about 20 to 30 cm in diameter, is struck with a stick to provide rhythmic accompaniment to the music and movements of the ‘little devil’ street dancers. It may be worn as part of a dancer’s costume. In the gran diablos (’big devils’) ceremony the sound of the instrument symbolically mimics the fight between good and evil.

In Loiza, Puerto Rico, at the Fiestas de Santiago Apostol (‘St James festival’), a popular street character is called the Vejigante, named for the vejiga made from an inflated cow’s bladder that he carries. He represents the Moors in the battle between good and evil. While the primary purpose of the bladder is as a rhythmic instrument, the character will sometimes chase children and hit them with it to knock off evil spirits....

Article

Waka  

Ronnie Graham

Yoruba percussive and vocal genre. Waka has its origins in south-west Nigeria, where extensive Islamic conversion during the 19th century produced a variety of musical genres performed during key periods in the Muslim calendar. Waka (Hausa term for song or poem) was originally sung by women, accompanied by handclaps and beaten seli or pereseke (tin discs with metal rings attached), and remains one of the earliest of these genres. With the addition of drums in the Ijebu area, waka increasingly parted company with Islam by the 1920s, and with the involvement of professional musicians it became a more commercial and recreational music, devoid of religious purpose. The style continued to flourish informally over the next 40 years, until it assumed a new significance in the 1970s through the recordings of leading purveyors such as Madam Comfort Omoge and Salawa Abeni, the queen of Waka.

With men confined to instrumental ensembles, the modern ...

Article

Gareth Dylan Smith

(b Kalamazoo, MI, April 23, 1952). American drummer, producer, and composer. The drum major in his high school marching band, he majored in music for three semesters at Western Michigan University, and then joined a soul band from Fresno, California. After witnessing the Mahavishnu Orchestra in concert, he sought to learn from that band’s leader and guitarist, john McLaughlin. At 21 years of age, following lessons from McLaughlin, he played on Apocalypse as a member of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, replacing Billy Cobham. Propelled by the advice of his (and McLaughlin’s) guru Sri Chinmoy (who gave him the name “Narada,” meaning “supreme musician”) to “compete with himself,” Walden has maintained a highly successful and versatile career as a drummer and a producer, known equally for his work in each of these roles. He also contributed as a composer, vocalist, and percussionist to the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s 1976 album Inner Worlds...

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Article

Waning  

Andrew C. McGraw

[laba wai, wani, laba]

Drum of Flores, Indonesia. It has a cylindrical wooden body, often closed at the bottom, and one goatskin head affixed by leather straps attached to a counterhoop. The head is tuned by moving wooden pegs placed between the straps and the body of the drum. Two are used in the gong waning ensemble in the central Sikka region: the larger waning inan, about 35 cm in diameter and 60 cm long, played with a bare hand and a stick in the other hand, and the smaller waning anak, about 25 cm in diameter, played with two sticks. The drums lie on the ground, the musicians sitting upon them. The ensemble includes up to five medium-sized, shallow bossed gongs (gong or go) ranging from 35 to 20 cm in diameter and named, from low to high pitch: inan, depun, beit, udon, and anak. Single gongs are held in the left hand and struck with a rubber-padded mallet held in the right, performing rapid interlocking patterns; the gong is dampened against the chest. These patterns are semi-improvised, the higher gongs being allowed more freedom. One or two larger suspended gongs may be added to play slower ostinatos. A bamboo time keeper (...

Article

Wankara  

J. Richard Haefer

[wankarita]

Two-headed log drum of the Bolivian Alti Plano. It is about 50 cm in diameter and about 15 cm deep; the heads, of goat or sheep hide, are laced together in a V pattern. It has a snare (chariera) across the bottom head made from animal intestines to which cactus spines can be attached to amplify the resonance. It is played with a drumstick (baqueta, wajta) about 30 cm long tipped with a 7-cm hide ball. The drum accompanies Quechua ensembles of pinkillos (duct flutes), sikuris (panpipes), lakitas (panpipes), or paceños (end-blown notched flutes). The drums are played in groups of seven in the sikuri ensembles.

The similar pfutu-wankara is a higher-pitched, double-headed log drum about 60 cm deep and 45 cm in diameter. The drum stick is similar to that of the wankara but with a smaller leather ball. Indians and mestizos use these drums in the dance of the ...

Article

Mary Riemer-Weller

Single-headed drum common in Native American culture, having as a distinctive feature a hollow body containing water. The volume of water is adjusted for tuning purposes, and, among the Iroquois, Ojibwe, and Navajo (and formerly among the Omaha and Pawnee), the head is made wet before use, usually by inverting the drum. The body may be of wood, or may be an earthen or iron pot, or a kettle (the Seminole drum was a kettle with a buckskin head, played with a padded wooden beater about 25 cm long). Wooden drums may have a bung-hole in the side so that the quantity of water can be changed without removing the head. A padded wooden stick is generally used as a beater, but the Iroquois use an unpadded stick for their small ka’nohko’wah drum. The Navajo beater consists of a flexible twig, the tip of which is bent and tied in a circular loop....

Article

Matthew Alan Thomas

(b Pittsburgh, PA, Jan 20, 1960). American percussionist. He began playing snare drum at nine years old and performed with the Pittsburgh Youth SO as a teenager. He studied classical percussion at Duquesne University before transferring to Berklee College of Music, where he met Kevin Eubanks, Branford Marsalis, and Wallace Roney. He frequently performed on vibraphone as a Berklee student and played with Marvin “Smitty” Smith in the school’s fusion ensemble. Watts recorded and toured regularly with Wynton Marsalis’s quintet (1982–8). His acting debut came when he was invited to play the role of fictional drummer Rhythm Jones in Spike Lee’s film Mo’ Better Blues (1990).

Watts collaborated with pianist Kenny Kirkland and bassist Charles Fambrough on his first album as bandleader Megawatts (1991, Sunnyside). After making several recordings with Branford Marsalis, Watts moved to Los Angeles to play with Branford in the Tonight Show Band (...

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Article

Cynthia Adams Hoover, Roslyn Rensch and Hugh Davies

American firm of instrument makers and dealers of German origin.

Cynthia Adams Hoover

(Franz) Rudolph Wurlitzer (b Schöneck, Saxony, 31 Jan 1831; d Cincinnati, 14 Jan 1914) came to the USA in 1853; he settled in Cincinnati and began dealing in musical instruments in addition to working in a local bank. It is likely that he was one of a long line of Saxon instrument makers, beginning with Heinrich Wurlitzer (1595–1656), a lute maker. By 1860 he had a thriving trade and is said to have been a leading supplier of military wind instruments and drums during the Civil War. In 1865 he opened a branch in Chicago and in 1872 joined his brother Anton to form the partnership of Rudolph Wurlitzer & Bro. On 25 March 1890 the firm was incorporated as the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company. Rudolph served as president of the corporation from 1890 to 1912...

Article

Cynthia Adams Hoover, Roslyn Rensch and Hugh Davies

Firm of instrument makers and dealers of German origin.

Rudolph Wurlitzer (Franz Rudolph Wurlitzer; b Schöneck, Saxony, 31 Jan 1831; d Cincinnati, OH, 14 Jan 1914) came to the United States in 1853; he settled in Cincinnati and began dealing in musical instruments in addition to working in a local bank. It is likely that he was one of a long line of Saxon instrument makers, beginning with Heinrich Wurlitzer (1595–1656), a lute maker. By 1860 he had a thriving trade and is said to have been a leading supplier of military wind instruments and drums during the Civil War. In 1865 he opened a branch in Chicago and in 1872 joined his brother Anton to form the partnership of Rudolph Wurlitzer & Bro. On 25 March 1890 the firm was incorporated as the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company. Rudolph served as president of the corporation from 1890 to 1912...

Article

Xiyaogu  

Alan R. Thrasher

Hourglass-shaped drum of the Han Chinese, historically known as zhanggu (‘stick drum’). Several related drum types were introduced from India or Central Asia into the Chinese courts of the Sui and Tang dynasties (6th to early 10th centuries ce), though according to Chen Yang’s Yueshu (‘Treatise on music’) of 1104, the zhanggu was obtained from Central Asia when Fu Jian (338–85) invaded the state of Kucha. Chen points out that in later times the zhanggu was distinguishable by its playing technique: a stick was used to strike the right head, the open hand playing the left. Their common feature is the South Asian tradition of lacing the two drumheads together, rather than tacking them onto the body. Body contour and striking method, however, differ from one historic type to another.

The xiyaogu (‘narrow waist drum’)—not to be confused with the barrel-shaped yaogu (‘waist drum’) which is merely held at the waist—is a large hourglass-shaped drum (between 60 and 80 cm long), with overwide heads attached to metal hoops (about 40 cm in diameter) extending beyond the body rims and secured by connective lacing. Historically, the body was constructed from either wood or ceramic. It was played by dancer-musicians, and was suspended from the neck with a strap and struck with a stick in one hand and open palm of the other. The ...

Article

Henry Johnson

[rōko]

Barrel drum of Japan. The name refers to its former context of performance (yagura or : turret/tower). The drum is especially known for its use in sumō (Japanese wrestling), when it announces the event, and from some historical kabuki performances, when the drum was positioned atop a high stage. It is about 60 cm long and 27 cm in diameter. The two heads are affixed to the wooden body by one or two rows of broad-headed nails. The drum can be positioned in several ways, including placing it on a tiny stand at a 45-degree angle in front of the player, who kneels perpendicular to the drum, or on a high stand at a similar angle for a standing player. The higher head is struck by two slender wooden sticks.

M. Yamaguchi: ‘Sumo in the Popular Culture of Contemporary Japan’, The Worlds of Japanese Popular Culture: Gender, Shifting Boundaries and Global Cultures...

Article

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Drum of the Yeke people in the Shaba region, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is a very large, double-headed instrument, part of the king’s regalia. The heads, of buffalo, antelope, or elk skin, are laced together and beaten with two sticks. The yamilango may be played only by the king and only on official occasions. (...

Article

John M. Schechter

Drum of Oriente Province, Cuba. The body, about 40 cm long and smaller in diameter, consists of 12 staves from the trunk of a yarey palm, hence the name of the instrument. The single head is attached with nails, and the drum is open at the lower end. The body is encircled with a small belt of wire, cactus fibre, or iron chain tightened with wedges placed against (not into) the sides. The belt has nothing to do with tensioning the head. The instrument, of African origin, is always struck by the hands in ensembles with the ...

Article

Zabumba  

Alice L. Satomi

[zambumba, bumbol]

Snare drum of El Salvador and Brazil. It is a double-headed cylindrical drum with a wooden body 20 to 30 cm deep and 40 to 56 cm in diameter. Zabumba is also called bumbo, bombo, bumba, caixa grande, tambor grande, or Zé-Pereira, preserving some Portuguese names. It is also known as zambê in Rio Grande do Norte and alfaia or bombo in the Pernambucan maracatu dance.

Traditionally, zabumba players also make the drums. The goatskin (or other animal skin) heads are attached by a system of hoop and cords. Squeezing or loosening the cords raises or lowers the pitch. The head can also be heated by the sun or fire to stretch and tune it.

The commercial zabumba, called bumbo zabumba, used in brass and military bands, has a stainless steel or zinc body, heads made of acrylic or nylon, and rim held in place by butterfly or Allen bolts. It is 15 cm deep and 16 to 22 cm in diameter. It hangs vertically in front of the player’s chest from a shoulder strap (...

Article