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Article

J. Richard Haefer

Single-headed conical drum of Surinam. Played with the hands or sticks, it is used in the winti cults of the Saramaka Maroon people, especially for the ampuku and kromanti, spirits of the forest and the sky pantheons, respectively. The drum is made from a hollowed log about 50 to 60 cm long and 35 to 45 cm in diameter at the base and 18 cm at the top. The skin head is held by eight pegs driven into the body about a quarter of the distance below the top. Driving the pegs further into the drum tightens the head. The drums are usually played in groups of three, the drummers seated and holding the instrument between their knees to accompany dancers who sing and play a ...

Article

Asis  

Hourglass drum of Kosrae, eastern Caroline Islands, Micronesia. Now obsolete, it was similar to the Aje drum of the Marshall Islands and is said to have been introduced from there. See E. Sarfert: ‘Kusae’, Ergebnisse der Südsee-Expedition 1908–1910, IIB, iv (Hamburg, 1920), 487.

Article

Atabal  

Mauricio Molina

Spanish term for a cylindrical double-headed drum. The drum was brought to Iberia by the Muslims, and its name comes from Arabic at-tabal. It is wider than it is tall and is played with two sticks. The atabal has been introduced into the Txistu ensemble in the Basque region. Sizes vary from that of a side drum with snares (for use with the ...

Article

Gerard Béhague and Alice L. Satomi

Generic term for various single-headed drums of Brazil, similar to the Afro-Cuban conga (batá) drum. The body is made of jacaranda wood, in a conical shape or rarely in cylindrical or hourglass shape. The drums vary from 1 to 2.5 metres tall. The head is of goat- or sometimes calf-skin and usually secured by wooden pegs. The drum is played with ...

Article

Atabule  

Hourglass drum of the Yela people of Sierra Leone. The small version of this drum is called atama.

Article

Atenesu  

K.A. Gourlay

Drum of the Teso people of Uganda and Kenya. In Uganda it was traditionally played only by women (with the flat of the hand), while men played the ideteta, a smaller stick-beaten drum made in various sizes; four ideteta were used with the atenesu to accompany the ...

Article

Jeremy Montagu

Single-headed open barrel drum of the Anlo-Ewe people of the southeastern coast of Ghana. Barrel drums from this region are distinct because they are made of wooden staves joined by iron hoops and are always painted red, blue, or green. The atsimewu, 130 cm or more tall and about 40 cm in maximum diameter, is the master drum of an ensemble that includes the ...

Article

Atumpan  

Goblet-shaped Talking drum (membranophone) of Ghana. See also Drum, §I, 2, (ii), (d).

Article

Atumpan  

K.A. Gourlay

Talking drum of West Africa. The atumpan, the principal talking drum of the Akan people of Ghana, is a large barrel drum with a tubular foot open at the base, thus resembling a giant goblet drum. The drums are played upright, usually in pairs (of different tones), by the master-drummer, who uses two angular hooked sticks. They also appear in ensembles as supporting drums. The ...

Article

Āvaj  

Alastair Dick

Indian drum name of medieval and later times, found nowadays only in certain compound and derivative forms. It probably derives from the Sanskrit ātodya, through the intermediate Prakrit (Middle Indo-Aryan) form āojja (‘musical instrument’, but with a root meaning ‘percussion’), rather than from vādya, as has been thought. The 13th-century ...

Article

Jeremy Montagu

Sanskrit term for ‘tied on’ and thus for drums in general. It is one of the four categ ories of Indian instruments as classified in Assam, the others being ghana (idiophones), su ṣira (aerophones), and tata (chordophones).

D.R. Barthakur: The Music and Musical Instruments of North Eastern India...

Article

Ax  

Laurence Libin

In the argot of American popular music, a term for any instrument. The word particularly denotes wind and string types common in bands, such as saxophones and electric guitars; it is less often applied to keyboards and drum sets. Of uncertain origin but widespread by the 1950s, this usage apparently emerged in the early 20th century, perhaps in connection with the colloquial terms ‘woodshedding’ (laborious practicing or performing) and ‘chops’ (a wind player’s jaws, mouth, or embouchure, and by extension, any instrumentalist’s technical ability), as in ‘He’s woodshedding with his ax to improve his chops’. ‘Cutting contests’ (performance competitions) between early New Orleans jazz players naturally involved their axes. Such rustic terminology implies effortful, demonstrative physical work, like chopping wood with an ax....

Article

Laurence Libin

Name given to an exceptionally large bass drum tuned to D, made specifically for the processional march in Benjamin Britten’s second church parable, The Burning Fiery Furnace (1966). This unique drum, probably designed for Britten by the percussionist James Blades and constructed under Blades’s supervision, seems now to be lost....

Article

A drumstick, or the stick of a Bow or a conductor’s Baton.

Article

Bachas  

Bass drum of Provence, France.

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Baghrā  

Friction drum of Orissa, eastern India. The body is made from a pot; a gut string affixed to the skin head passes through the body and is rubbed by the hand.

Article

A drumstick (as baguette de tambour), the stick of a Bow, or a conductor's Baton.

Article

Bājā  

Nepalese generic term designating a musical instrument or an instrumental ensemble, as in the pañca bājā (ensemble of five instruments), navā bājā (ensemble of nine instruments), Damāi bājā (band of musicians from the Damāi caste of tailor-musicians), jhā ṅkri bājā (instrument of the jhā ṅkri...

Article

Alan R. Thrasher

Single-headed frame drum of the Bai minority (Yunnan province) and the Han Chinese in areas of north China. Eight rectangular pieces of hardwood, each c5 cm long, are glued together to form the octagonal frame (width about 20 cm or less, about 6 cm deep). A head of python skin is glued around the top rim. The frame is often inlaid with bone decoration and has small jingles (...

Article

Bakubai  

J. Richard Haefer

Water drum of the Yoeme Yaqui Indians of Arizona and Northern Mexico and of their Mayo neighbours. It is used to accompany the singing of traditional songs for the deer dance. A gourd shell 30 to 35 cm in diameter is cut in half and laid open-side down in a pan of water which acts as a resonator. The gourd is struck with a stick about 35 cm long and the sound represents the heart beat of the deer. The drum is played simultaneously with two ...