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Article

Hugh Davies

(It.: ‘enharmonic bow’)

Special bow for string instruments developed by Luigi Russolo in Milan in 1925. It consisted of a rod wound spirally with wire to give it a slightly ridged surface. The string was bowed in the normal manner, but the result was two distinct notes from the sections of the string on either side of the bow; when only a single note was required, one section of the string could be damped by a strip of cloth affixed along the length of the bow. Strings did not need to be fingered since different notes could be obtained by changing the position of the bow, but normal fingering could, presumably, be used. For multiple stopping Russolo suggested tuning the top three strings to a major triad with the root doubled an octave lower on the fourth string. Depending on the pressure of the bow, the strings produced sounds ranging from a roughened legato to very rapid note repetitions; the timbres resembled those of two of Russolo’s Intonarumori, the ...

Article

Ardin  

K.A. Gourlay

Angle harp played by Moorish women of Mauritania. It usually has 11 to 14 strings and a neck more than 100 cm long. The neck is inserted into a hemispherical calabash resonator, about 40 cm in diameter, which is covered with a stretched sheepskin. The strings are attached to a curved wooden rod on the soundtable, into which each end of the rod disappears, and to tuning pegs at the upper end. Circular metal discs with small rings round the edges are fixed on the soundtable. The harp is played with its body in front of the seated player, the neck to the left of the player’s head. It can be played with both hands or only with the left, the right then providing a percussive accompaniment on the soundtable.

The ardin is used to accompany solo singing, usually by women (sometimes two harps accompany two women singers), together with either the drum ...

Article

Laurence Libin

Article

Article

Alfredo Colman

Folk harp of Paraguay. It derives from harps introduced by European Jesuit missionaries in the 17th century. Although the primary function of the arpa paraguaya is harmonic and rhythmic, short melodic passages in parallel 3rds or 6ths may interact with vocal lines by imitation or juxtaposition. When featured as a solo instrument, the harp may be accompanied by one or two guitars.

The parts of the instrument include the cabeza (head) or consola (console) where the clavijas (tuning pegs) are placed; the tapa armónica (soundtable) attached to the caja or caja armónica (soundbox); and the columna (column), mango (handle), or brazo (arm). The brazo can be ornamented with elaborate carvings such as leaves, flowers, or the silhouette of a Guaraní woman. Glued lengthwise down the centre of the tapa is a long thin piece of cedar called the escala (scale), which serves to anchor the lower end of the strings; they are wound around small metal bolts inserted into holes along the top of the ...

Article

Alexander Pilipczuk

(It.; Fr. Arpanette, harpe pointue; Ger. Spitzharfe, Harfenett; Sp. Arpaneta, arpa-citara)

An upright double psaltery, with each main side of the trapezial box acting as a soundboard; it is classified as a box zither. In Germany the instrument was sometimes known as the italienische Harfe (‘Italian harp’; e.g. Brockhaus; Welcker von Gontershausen). As shown in Renaissance and Baroque paintings, the instrument was placed on a table or on the seated player’s lap, with the shortest strings at closest reach. Those associated with the right-hand soundboard were of case-hardened iron and were used for the melody; those at the left were of brass (or some similar copper alloy heavier than iron) and, with their curved bridge quite near to the upper edge of the box, provided a bass accompaniment. A height of some 90 cm was common, but instruments between perhaps 60 and 150 cm tall were also made. The total range might vary between two-and-a-half and four octaves: Majer (1732...

Article

Gerald Hayes and Eszter Fontana

[guitar violoncello, bowed guitar] (Fr. guitarre d’amour; Ger. Sentiment, Bogenguitar, Violoncellguitarre)

A bowed string instrument. Both J.G. Staufer (Stauffer) of Vienna and Peter Teufelsdorfer of Pest claimed to be inventors of what came to be known as the arpeggione. Both built a new instrument they called a ‘bowed guitar’, and both introduced their respective instruments in the spring of 1823. The violin maker Johann Ertl of Vienna might also have contributed to the arpeggione’s invention. The concept of the instrument possibly originated with J.G. Leeb of Pressburg, who may have experimented with the construction of a bowed guitar 20 years earlier.

The instrument was essentially a bass viol with a guitar-type tuning, EAdgbe′ (see illustration ). The body was coarser in structure and the frets, 24 in number, were, guitar fashion, metal strips fixed to the fingerboard. It was bowed like a cello. The body was smooth-waisted, in imitation of the guitar rather than as a revival of the early viol form. The arpeggione was especially suited to playing runs in 3rds, double stops and arpeggios. Virtuosos of the instrument included Heinrich August Birnbach (...

Article

Laurence Libin

A novel, five-string bowed instrument like a viola but having an asymmetrical body and additional low E string. Introduced in 1996 by the Parisian luthier Bernard Sabatier, the arpegina derived its name from a conflation of arpeggione and ‘Gina’ (Lollobrigida, an Italian actress), the latter in view of the arpegina’s voluptuous shape. Championed by the violist Jean-Paul Minali-Bella, its repertoire consists mainly of transcriptions but includes three tangos (...

Article

Laurence Libin

Seven-string guitar produced by Pacquet (a native of Aix-en-Provence) in Marseilles towards the end of the 18th century. An example dating from about 1784 (B.B.mim) has a soundtable with a rose of pierced parchment surrounded by mother-of-pearl and ebony decoration, and a ‘moustache’ bridge. The unwaisted body tapers to a short carved neck and pegbox that extends forward and supports a ‘floating’ fingerboard with 18 frets that descends at an angle over the body to end near the soundhole. The instrument is 96 cm high and 26 cm broad; its tuning is ...

Article

Edwin M. Ripin

revised by Denzil Wraight

[arpichordium, harpichordium]

A device most commonly found on Flemish virginals of the ( Muselar ) type, but also mentioned in connection with German harpsichords, in which a sliding batten brings a series of metal hooks or wires close to the strings at one end. When the strings are plucked, they jar against the hooks or wires, producing a buzzing sound. On muselars, the arpichordum is normally provided only for the strings passing over the straight portion of the right-hand bridge, i.e. from C/E to f′. O'Brien suggests that only muselars, which pluck the strings in the middle rather than close to the left-hand bridge, provide sufficient amplitude of motion of the strings to make reliable contact with the hooks. Praetorius (Syntagma musicum, ii, 1618) describes the stop as giving a ‘harp-like resonance’, apparently likening it to the ‘bray pins’ commonly found on Renaissance harps ( see Harp §V 1. ). The term ...

Article

Denzil Wraight

[alpichordo, ampichordo, harpichordo] (It.)

Term most commonly used in 15th- and 16th-century Italy for a polygonal Virginal (see Cervelli). Other, less popular, names at this time for the same instrument were clavicordio and spinetta. Despite the etymological similarity, it is not to be confused with the harpsichord or the Arpichordum stop. The name probably derives from the layout on a polygonal virginal of the bridges and strings, which resemble the shape of a harp (It. arpa). Some early instruments were made with curved case sides also suggesting a harp shape (see Winternitz, pl.50a). It is unclear whether a rectangular-cased virginal would have been called an arpicordo, but in any case, these were not common in the 16th century. The term arpicordo leutato was coined by Adriano Banchieri (L'organo suonarino, 2/1611) to describe several instruments he had seen with a sound between a harpsichord and a lute (see...

Article

Denzil Wraight

A keyboard instrument designed by Adriano Banchieri and described in the 1611 edition of his L'organo suonarino, pp.3–4. Banchieri mentions having seen 21 instruments he called ‘arpicordo leutato’ in Milan, which had a sound between that of an arpicordo (i.e. a polygonal, wire-strung virginal) and a lute (see Lute-harpsichord). Inspired by the chitarrone, he added more notes to the bass end of the arpicordo and gave the new instrument a name derived from both instruments, saying also that it had the quality of a chitarrone in the bass and a harp (It. arpa) in the treble. As harps and chitarroni often used gut strings (although wire strings were sometimes used) it seems most likely that the arpitarrone was a gut-strung instrument. An arpitarrone was made for Banchieri by a Milanese instrument maker (of French origin) named Michel de Hodes (who had also made an arpicordo leutato), with the unusual compass of ...

Article

Christian Poché

[‘arṭab, ‘arṭāba, ‘urṭuba]

Abyssinian drum, lyre, or lute of the early Islamic era. The word sounds foreign to the language and has no known derivation in it, but an Ethiopian origin remains plausible. Some Arab lexicographers have identified the instrument as an Abyssinian drum, similar to the kūba, but there is no solid evidence for this. Others have identified it as a ṭunbūr, which might be a lyre or a long-necked lute. Evidence presented by the 9th-century historian al-Hamdān (Iklīl, viii, 160–65) suggests a lyre as the more likely, but the possibility of a lute cannot be rejected. Since the classical era (9th and 10th centuries) the instrument has been classed with the ‘ūd, as have other types such as the kinnāra, barba , muwattar, and mizhar. Andalusian writers specify the quality of the instrument’s strings, which they call ma ḥbad (‘bow string or string of a wool-carder’), but Abbasid authors are more general in their descriptions. The instrument was finally integrated into the lute family and the name transformed by metathesis into ‘atraba’, as mentioned by the 16th-century writer Ibn Ḥajar al-Haythamī (...

Article

Ašutas  

Arvydas Karaška

(Lithuanian: ‘horsehair’)

Plucked chordophone of Lithuania. One end of a strand of horsehair is held between the teeth without touching it with the lips; the other end is wrapped around the finger of one hand and is stretched tight. Plucking the string with a finger of the other hand and altering the tension produces faint notes of varying pitch, the mouth acting as a resonator. Until the early 20th century the ...

Article

Ata  

Article

Bill C. Malone

revised by Barry Mazor

[Chester Burton ]

(b nr Luttrell, TN, June 20, 1924, d Nashville, TN, June 30, 2001). American country-music guitarist and recording company executive. Although the first instrument he played professionally was the fiddle, he became internationally famous as a guitarist. Developed while he was in high school, his guitar style was influenced by Merle Travis, Les Paul, Django Reinhardt, and George Barnes and was characterized by the use of the thumb to establish a rhythm on the lower strings and multiple fingers to play melodic or improvisational passages on the higher strings, sometimes with complex voicings. In the early 1940s Atkins toured with Archie Campbell and Bill Carlisle playing both fiddle and guitar, and appeared with them on WNOX radio in Knoxville. He then toured with the second generation Carter Family as a sideman and in 1946 joined Red Foley. After beginning his association with the “Grand Ole Opry” he settled in Nashville in ...

Article

Article

Kevin Mooney

(from Lat. aura:‘breath’).

An instrument consisting of several heteroglot Jew’s harps, invented by J.H. Scheibler and described in his short treatise of 1816. It was largely a response to the contemporary – and short-lived – vogue of the jew’s harp on the European concert stage. Scheibler himself was one of its more accomplished practitioners, and published some of his own compositions and arrangments for the instrument in his treatise.

Scheibler’s aura consisted of two identical star-shaped frames made from sheet metal or horn, and joined in the centre by a handle with a screw. Mounted into the frames were two sets of five jew’s harps, each held in place by the screw of the handle so that their steel reeds pointed inward. The handle of each frame was grasped between the thumb and index finger and the reed was struck with a downward motion of the fourth finger. The harps in the right-hand frame were tuned ...

Article

David Kettlewell

revised by Lucy M. Long

A box zither of German origin, popular in the United States from the late 19th century. The player strums the strings with fingers, a fingerpick or a plectrum; damper bars controlled by buttons damp all the strings except those that sound the required chord. The basis of the instrument is a box, about 12” long, 18” broad and 1.2” deep. The strings, which are graded in thickness, are attached to wrest-pins; they number between 15 and 50, or even more, and the range is between two and four octaves (C–c ). Some instruments are diatonic, others partly or fully chromatic. A 15-string instrument is likely to have only three bars, giving the tonic, the subdominant and the dominant 7th of C major. A nine-bar instrument may offer a selection of chords, including these basic chords in two keys and a range of related chords. Autoharps used for folk music may offer fewer chords per key, but a wider range of keys. Some manufacturers supply spare, blank bars for the player to fit as desired. The circle of 5ths, normal on other extended diatonic instruments such as the accordion, the zither, and the dulcimer, is unusual on the autoharp. Examples of autoharps that are fully chromatic or include frets have also been manufactured....

Article

Ax  

Laurence Libin

[axe]

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....