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Robert L. Barclay and John R. Watson

Term embracing all efforts to preserve culturally significant objects. (For a discussion of the preservation of skills and traditions, see Sustainability.) Conservation of musical instruments can include examining their condition; documenting their physical and acoustical characteristics; intervening to stabilise, maintain, or restore them; and taking measures to prevent damage and retard deterioration. Conservators aim to preserve instruments as historical documents embodying evidence of design, construction, and function. This approach is sometimes balanced with restoration and maintenance for continuing use. Like all implements used continually over long periods, instruments can pass through phases of wear and repair, changes in fashion, and, in the case of those being restored to presumed previous states, changes in approach and methodology brought about by continuing research and experimentation. The practice of conservation involves a multifaceted approach to the many, often competing, demands placed upon instruments as historical documents and working objects. Further, reliable authentication often involves conservation skills....


Chad Stephen Hamill


Suspension rattle of the Native Americans of the Columbia Plateau. It is called čt ʼewá by the Interior Salish and c’al ʼá·kstin by the Sahaptin. Approximately 20 to 50 deer dewclaws, each about 3.5 cm long, are strung together on a buckskin thong 30 to 40 cm long. One or more lengths are wrapped around the ankles (or nowadays the knees) to accentuate ceremonial dancing, or fastened to a wooden staff or cane as used in the Medicine (or Winter) Dance, the oldest ceremony practiced today in the region. Among Sahaptin-speaking groups the ...


Victoria Lindsay Levine

Dance rattle of the Cherokee people of the southern USA. Each rattle consists of four to 20 containers made from box turtle shells or evaporated-milk cans, the number depending upon the dancer’s age and experience and on whether she is wearing shells or cans. The overall size of the rattle is approximately 28 cm by 31 cm, and a pair of rattles weighs about 2.7 kg. The containers are drilled with small soundholes at regular intervals, and each is filled with rounded pebbles. Shells and cans are tied vertically with wire to a leather backing so that they do not strike against each other. Cherokee women wear the rattles during nighttime dances at ceremonial grounds. First they wrap their lower legs with a towel or piece of foam rubber and then tightly tie the rattles on with leather thongs, wearing one rattle on each leg. The choreography involves a quick, double gliding step that provides rhythmic accompaniment to the song in an even subdivision of the beat. Ceremonial dances generally last all night; ideally, once a dancer dons her leg rattles, she wears them until sunrise. Chickasaw, Delaware, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Shawnee, Yuchi (Euchee), and other southeastern Indian female dancers wear similar leg rattles. Each tribe has its own word for leg rattles, for example Creek, ...



Goblet drum of Sudan. It is traditionally made of clay and played by women, notably by the main singer during spirit possession ceremonies. The Arabic name daluka, of Nubian origin, denotes a small drum beaten by the hand; in a bowl excavated from Tumulus VI at Hobagi, Meroe, one such drum is shown hanging from the drummer’s neck....


John S. Powell

(‘David and Jonathan’)

Sacred opera in five acts by Marc-Antoine Charpentier to a libretto by François Bretonneau; Paris, Collège Louis-le-Grand, 28 February 1688.

The drama is set in the Holy Lands during biblical times. King Saul (bass), on the eve of his battle against the Philistines, consults a Witch (haute-contre), who in turn summons the ghost of Samuel (bass); Samuel predicts defeat. David (haute-contre), banished from the camp of the Israelites by Saul, has joined the Philistine army. In spite of his desire for peace, David is forced to fight against the Israelites and his beloved friend Jonathas [Jonathan] (soprano), son of Saul. When he sees his sons dying and himself about to be captured, Saul falls on his sword. Jonathan, mortally wounded, dies in David’s arms, while the Israelites proclaim David to be Saul’s successor as their king.

David et Jonathas served as a five-part intermède to the spoken tragedy ...


J. Richard Haefer

Percussion board of the Dena’ina (Tanaina Athabascan) people of Alaska. It is a plank, usually of poplar, about 1 metre long by 25 cm wide and 3 to 4 cm thick. It is struck with two wooden sticks. Two holes about 4 cm in diameter are drilled near each end of the board for cords that suspend it from the rafters of the ceremonial house. The board may be decorated with the tail of a sea mammal at one end and the head at the other, or with other clan symbols such as the raven or beaver. The board is used to accompany singing in the potlatch ceremonies. The Yup’ik of Siberia have a similar instrument....


J. Richard Haefer

Generic term for drum among the Ojibwa Indians of the Great Lakes area of North America. It specifically refers to the large powwow-style drum that is a recreation of the historic war drum. The drum is made from a large log or from a staved washtub about 50 to 60 cm in diameter and 35 cm deep. Traditionally it was double-headed, but modern washtub drums have a circular wooden piece attached to the base to hold the staves in place, with a circular opening cut in the middle of the circular piece and a single cowhide head on the top. Leather straps attached to each side are used to mount the drum to the dedsaakwa’igan, a four-pole frame that holds the drum above the ground; the old term for the drum legs is waaganaakobijigan (‘scalp sticks’). The drum is played by four or more singers each with a baaga’akokwaan or ...


Nguyen Thuyet Phong

Mouth organ of the Êđê people of Vietnam. It has six bamboo free-reed pipes attached with wax through the gourd windchest in two groups of three, with the neck of the gourd serving as the mouthpipe. There is one fingerhole on each pipe, stopped with the thumb, index, and middle fingers of both hands....



Peter Walls

A French word meaning ‘again’, cried out by English audiences (not French ones, who use bis) to demand the repetition of a piece just heard or an extra item. This use of the word goes back at least to February 1712, when it attracted satirical comment in the Spectator: ‘I observe it’s become a custom, that whenever any gentlemen are particularly pleased with a song, at their crying out encore or altro volto, the performer is so obliging as to sing it over again’. In this period, the word had a fashionable status. Pope (1742) has the ‘harlot form’ of Opera telling Dullness (‘in quaint Recitativo’):

To the same notes thy sons shall hum or snore

And all thy growing daughters cry encore. (The Dunciad, iv. 59).

In both concerts and operas the progress of a work was freely interrupted for the repetition of arias or movements....


Patricia Matusky

[kerurai, keluri, keledi]

Free-reed mouth organ of the Iban community of Sarawak, Malaysia. It has seven bamboo pipes (the center pipe is mute) bundled in a circular formation and sealed with beeswax where they penetrate vertically into a gourd wind chamber 24 to 28 cm in diameter. The gourd encloses the brass reeds located near the bottom end of each pipe. The stem of the gourd serves as the mouthpiece, and the player can blow or suck to cause the reeds to vibrate. A reed sounds when a fingerhole in its pipe above the gourd is closed. Often a small cup-like resonator (terubong) is attached to the longest pipe to amplify it. The overall length of the Iban engkerurai can approach 80 cm. It is played for general entertainment and accompanies line dances. The Kajang, Kayan, and Kenyah people refer to a nearly identical instrument as keluri, keledi, keredi, and kedire...