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Pwing  

Article

Qanbūs  

Christian Poché

[qabūs]

Short-necked lute of Yemen, widely disseminated with slightly varying terminology: gabbūs (Zanzibar), gabbus (Oman), gabusi or gambusi (the Comoros), Gambus (parts of Indonesia and Malaysia), qabūs (Saudi Arabia) and kabôsy (Madagascar). One of the earliest references to it is in Lane (1863–93): ‘a sort of tunbur made by the people of al-Yaman now called qabus or the lute’. The term derives from the root ‘q-n’, often found in the musical vocabulary of Semitic languages. A comparison between the existing ‘ūd and the qanbūs points to reciprocal influences and continuous interaction: the shape of the latter is certainly close to that of the early Islamic ‘ūd. The myths surrounding their invention are largely the same, and the influence of the ‘ūd on the qanbūs is observed in the borrowing of the former term to describe the qanbūs in Sana‘a, Yemen (the ‘ūd of Sana‘a) and in the use of double courses; the ...

Article

Rabāba  

Christian Poché

[rababah, rapapa]

Bowl lyre with five (occasionally six) strings, used in Eritrea (Ethiopia) and the Sudan, where the term is a generic one for the lyre. The instrument is also known in Zaïre and Uganda as rababah or rapapa, mostly with five strings, with or without bridge and with very small soundholes recalling those of the Ethiopian krar; some instruments have eight strings, no bridge and a single soundhole. The rababa is played by the Bari people of Zaïre and the same instrument is called tum by the Bari of the Sudan. At Omdurman (Sudan), the six-string rabāba lyre is central to what is called ṭambūra worship.

The rabāba has a hemispherical soundbox covered with cow-, antelope-, lamb- or (in Zaïre) lizard-hide; two arms extend from this and fit exactly on a cross-bar on to which the strings are wound, with or without strips of material. In the Zaïre models the soundbox may be oval or even rectangular. The tuning is anhemipentatonic....

Article

Rapapa  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Symmetrical bowl lyre of the Bari people in the Uele region, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has five to seven strings made of twisted leather strips, and a bridge (lacking in similar lyres of the Zande and Mangbetu). The Bari always use a resonator made of a tortoise shell with its bottom plate replaced by an antelope-skin belly. ...

Article

Ribab  

[amzad]

Single-string spike fiddle of the Tamazight (Berber) people of North Africa. The resonator is a shallow circular frame covered by a goatskin head and back. The horsehair string extends at an angle to the neck (not along it) from the end of a long lateral tuning peg, through a thong looped to the neck that acts as a nut, over an inverted V-shaped wooden bridge placed toward the upper side of the head, to a string holder that is looped around the short spike. The neck, of square section, is often ornately inlaid and terminates with a knob. The string is not stopped against the neck but is pressed by the left-hand fingers to produce mainly pentatonic melody within the compass of an octave. The horsehaired bow is a simple arch, the stick wrapped with cloth and the hair tension adjusted by the bow-hand fingers. The ribab is used, with drums, as a solo instrument and for the accompaniment of song and dance....

Article

Riqq  

Christian Poché

[rikk]

Small, circular frame drum with jingles, of the Arab countries (see Drum). It is used in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Sudan and Syria; in Libya, where it is rare, it is called mriqq. It is between 20 and 25 cm in diameter and is now effectively a man’s instrument. Descended from the duff (see Daff), like the Ṭār, the riqq acquired its name in the 19th century so that it could be differentiated.

Essentially an instrument of music for the connoisseur, the riqq, which is also called daff al-zinjāri in Iraq, is played in takht ensembles (Egypt, Syria) or shālghī ensembles (Iraq) where it has a particularly clearcut role, going beyond the simple rhythmic requirements of the duff, ṭār or mazhar, and exploding in a burst of imaginative freedom to colour the orchestra with gleaming sounds: this is quite unlike the role of the duff. In Sudan, where it seems to have been introduced recently, the ...

Article

Rongo  

Mahi Ismail

revised by Jamie Linwood

Xylophone of central Africa. The rongo of the Ndogo people of southern Sudan has ten ebony bars mounted on a wooden frame with ten matched gourd resonators attached below. A small hole in the bottom of each resonator is covered with a mirliton made from a spider’s egg sac. A leather strap attached to the ends of the frame enables the standing player to hang the instrument from his shoulders or neck. The frame extends in a semicircle that holds the instrument away from the player’s body (see illustration). The ten bars are pentatonically tuned and paired in octaves with the lowest pair at the player’s left, and the other pairs ascending in pitch from right to left. The musician uses a pair of rubber-headed beaters in each hand so that he can strike a bar and its lower octave simultaneously.

A form of this instrument, known as rango, is now played in Egypt, where it arrived with the Ndogo in successive waves of immigration, first when they came as conscripts into the Egyptian army in the 1820s and later as workers on cotton plantations. The ...

Article

Sabar  

Rainer Polak

[sabaro, serouba, saoruba, tantan(go)]

Family of drums and a drum/dance genre of Senegal and the Gambia. Specialist woodworkers carve the instruments from single pieces of hardwood. The drummers themselves attach the goatskin heads with wooden pegs. Most sabar drums are played with one bare hand and one light stick.

(1) In Senegal, sabar denotes a set of instruments associated with the griots of the Wolof people. The standard ensemble consists of two types of drums. The first type is slightly hourglass-shaped, open at the bottom; the single head (20–25 cm in diameter) is affixed to the pegs with extra lacings. Instruments of this type are often identified as sabar proper by outsiders, for instance on the international market for ‘ethnic’ percussion instruments. The nder, 80 to more than 100 cm tall, is the tallest and narrowest variety. Shorter and slightly more compact variants are called mbeng-mbeng (55–60 cm) and tungune (40–45 cm). The second type is slightly egg-shaped, has two heads 20–25 cm in diameter, and has no extra lacing around the pegs, making it easy to tune. The ...

Article

Sambani  

Clappers of the Hausa people of northern Nigeria. They are metal double clappers of dumb-bell shape (two shallow, connected cups) with small iron rings in holes around the rims of the cups, which can be oval, round, or pear-shaped. One pair is held in each hand, the fingers supporting the upper clapper, the thumb the lower. Women use them without other instruments to accompany religious songs during Islamic festivals and at wedding and name ceremonies....

Article

Sansa  

Article

Ferdinand J. de Hen

[banzi, gombi]

Box zither of the Zande people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has 9 or 11 strings. The semicircular resonator, open-ended at front and back, is made of bark stretched and tied over a frame of three to seven flexible sticks that are bent into semicircles and affixed to the underside of the soundboard, making a shape like a boat hull. (...

Article

Gavin Webb

[seprewa]

Bridge harp of the Akan and Ashanti people of Ghana. The name seperewa derives from the Akan terms se (‘talk’), pre (the word that describes the strumming motion from the thumb), and wa (‘small’). So seperewa roughly translates to ‘this small instrument that you strum speaks’. It has 6 (traditionally) to 14 strings, a wooden box resonator, and a skin soundtable. A gently curved wooden neck extends upwards from the front of the instrument away from the player. The tall bridge, notched or pierced with holes up both sides for the strings to pass through, stands vertically on the skin. The strings, nowadays often of nylon, are tied around the neck and extend to the tail. Textual sources date the instrument’s presence as far back as the late 17th century. Its tuning and hand positioning, with the strings for the left hand tuned to the first, third, and fifth degrees of the scale while the right-hand strings are tuned to the second, fourth, and sixth degrees, facilitates the modal harmonic progressions typical of Akan music. The instrument normally accompanies praise singing....

Article

Seto  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Arched harp of the Ngbaka people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has five (sometimes seven) fibre strings. The wooden soundbox is almost rectangular with slightly rounded corners, and is covered with antelope skin pierced by two soundholes. The wooden neck stands almost perpendicular to the soundbox and has a roughly carved human head at the top. This type of harp is also found in the northwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo among the Mbanja, Nzakara, Poto, and Sango peoples, and in the Republic of Congo....

Article

Shiba  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Panpipe of the Luba/Luluwa people in the Shaba region, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has two or three bamboo tubes. Four shiba panpipes are used, in conjunction with other instruments, for dance music. Siba or shiba is also a generic name among the Sampwe for panpipes with four bamboo tubes, and with four, five, seven, or eight bamboo tubes among the Luba....

Article

Christian Poché

[semsemiyya, sumsumiyya]

Bowl or box lyre with five strings, found in Egypt (from the Suez area to Sinai), Saudi Arabia (the Red Sea coast) and South Yemen (where it has six strings). This instrument is smaller than the ṭanbūra. In South Yemen the simsimiyya lyre has a circular soundbox, with two arms, less widely spread than in the Ṭanbūra , standing almost parallel. The strings tied on the yoke are held not by rings of material, as in the ṭanbūra, but by pegs, as in the beganna.

In Saudi Arabian popular usage, a petrol can may serve for the soundbox ( see Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of ). The Egyptian simsimiyya seems to adapt to the shape of the ṭanbūra, but rectangular models also exist – those on the Red Sea coast formerly called ṭanbūra and more particularly in the Egyptian port of Qusseir, where it is played by sailors.

The tuning of the simsimiyya...

Article

Sipi  

Article

Ṭabl  

Michael Pirker

Arabic generic term for drums. It is particularly applied to double-headed cylindrical drums in the Arab Middle East, including North Africa (especially Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and the Sudan). It may occur in combination with other words, indicating drums of the same type with regional differences of size or drums used in different regional combinations of instruments. The term ṭabl can vary from region to region; it is sporadically found as tabīl in Osmanli, and in modern Turkish the term davul is most commonly used for the double-headed cylindrical drum. The ṭabl baladī (‘people’s drum’) is regarded as the smaller version of the ṭabl turkī (‘Turkish drum’, davul).

Cylindrical drums were known in classical antiquity, and various different sizes of such instruments are still in use. The cylindrical drum is central to Islamic musical cultures; it is used in military bands and is also played at village ceremonies such as weddings, circumcisions and funerals and on religious occasions. During Ramadan, the month of fasting, the drum and ...

Article

Tabshi  

K.A. Gourlay

[taushi, zambuna]

Small snared kettledrum used by the Hausa and other peoples of northern and central Nigeria. The wooden body is 27 cm tall and 22 cm in diameter. It has a goatskin or duiker-skin head with a patch of tuning-paste. The head is lapped to a leather-bound rope ring and V-laced, with leather thongs and a horizontal tuning brace, to an iron ring at the base of the body. A hole in the side of the body is used to pour in a libation of oil and spices. In Hausa music the tabshi is one of the main instruments used by classical praise singers to accompany songs praising emirs or their senior officials, and its use spread to other peoples. For example, the drum was introduced in the 19th century into the Bauchi region, where in the 1970s it was one of the instruments accompanying praise singers of the Chief of Dass, and among the Nupe people at Bida it became part of the court music....

Article

Tama  

K.A. Gourlay, Lucy Durán and Rainer Polak

[tamanin, dumanu, dumanan, dunkan]

Variable-tension hourglass drum of the Wolof and Mande-speaking peoples (Khasonka, Soninke, Maninka, Bamana, Dyula) and their neighbours in Senegal, the Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Ivory Coast. The tama is struck with one curved drumstick with a flattened end, and by one hand. The two heads are lapped onto rings at the ends of the wooden body and joined by numerous cords so that, when the drum is placed under the player’s arm, pressure on the cords can vary the pitch. Most modern instruments are relatively small (25 to 30 cm tall, 10 to 15 cm in diameter); in Mande languages, these are known as tamanin (‘small tama’). Larger drums might have been in wider use historically. The tama resembles other, larger hourglass drums of West Africa, such as the Dagomba lunga of northern Ghana and the Yoruba gángan of south-western Nigeria. However, unlike these, it is not known for speech surrogacy and is not a ‘talking drum’, a term sometimes misleadingly applied to West African hourglass drums in general....

Article

Tambari  

Anthony King

revised by K.A. Gourlay and Roger Blench

(pl. tambura)

A common name for the Kettledrum used in sets as part of the regalia of many traditional savanna states of West Africa. Its association with royalty in, for instance, the Hausa states of Nigeria is chronicled in the 17th century, and in its form, usage and name the tambari is related to the 16th-century court ṭabl at Fez in the Maghrib.

The individual drums in a set vary considerably in size so that the membranes may measure from 23 cm to 65 cm in diameter, and the height of the drum bodies from 20 cm to 60 cm. The tambari is beaten with two heavy thongs of hippopotamus hide, producing a deep and resonant sound. In performances the drums may be mounted singly or in pairs on heavy stakes driven into the ground ( see illustration), or in pairs on the backs of camels for use in royal cavalcades....