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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, ...

Article

Daluka  

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....

Article

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....

Article

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 ...

Article

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....

Article

Encore  

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....

Article

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...

Article

Victor de Pontigny

revised by Paul Sparks

(b Heilbronn, 1802; d Styria, 1890). German jew's harp and guitar player. After an initial lack of success in his native country, he travelled through Switzerland in 1825–6, eventually arriving in Paris where he worked as a guitar virtuoso. In 1827 his op.1 (a set of 12 airs for solo guitar) was published by Richault in Paris, and in the same year he appeared in London as a guitarist and jew's harpist. He produced extremely beautiful effects by performing on 16 jew's harps, having for many years cultivated this instrument in an extraordinary manner. The patronage of the Duke of Gordon induced him to return to London in 1828; but he soon found that the iron jew's harp had so injured his teeth that he could not play without pain, and he therefore spent more time playing the guitar. At length a dentist devised a glutinous covering for his teeth, which enabled him to play his jew's harp again. He was very successful in Scotland and thence went to Bath (...

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Term for a percussion idiophone of Native Americans in the present-day USA. It is a plank or log stamped upon rhythmically. Planks are used in the kivas of the Pueblo Indians, in the Northwest and the Great Basin, while inverted hollowed logs are found in California. The plank or log may be placed over a shallow hole in the ground which acts as a resonator and may either be danced upon or beaten with sticks. In the Northeast a sheet of birch bark may be placed over a hole and struck with beaters, and boxes and poles are found as similar instruments in the Northwest....

Article

Klisala Harrison

[raven rattle; sheishoox]

Zoomorphic vessel rattle of the Tsimshian people of the North American Pacific Northwest Coast. Indigenous oral histories suggest that the concept of the ‘raven rattle’ originated with the Tsimshian, but it is also used by the Haida, Nuuchahnulth, Coast Salish, Kwakwaka’wakw, and Tlingit. The Tlingit, the most prolific carvers of the rattle, call it sheishoox, a seemingly onomatopoeic word.

The rattle is made of two hollowed sections of yellow cedar, alder, or maple wood. The outside is carved with a knife and polished with sharkskin or sandpaper. The handle is the bird’s tail. Typical dimensions are 10 cm wide and deep by 30 to 40 cm long. Small stones or buckshot are placed inside, and the two halves are sewn together with thin strips of vegetal fibre through small holes bored in the wooden pieces, one, two, or three stitches on each side. Withes bind the two halves of the handle together....