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Howard Schott and Martin Elste


See Harpsichord


John Whenham

(b 1623–8; d Bologna, 1699, before 28 Jan). Italian singer, composer and instrument maker. He was an Augustinian monk who was employed from about 1649 as a soprano castrato at the Este court at Modena. On 13 November 1660 he was appointed to the choir of S Petronio, Bologna, with a stipend of 50 lire a month; he was discharged on ...



Umberto Pineschi

Italian family of organ builders . Pietro Agati (b Pistoia, 15 Feb 1735; d Pistoia, 10 Dec 1806) served apprenticeships in the Tronci workshop in Pistoia, and later with Filippo Gatti in Bologna. He opened his own workshop in Pistoia, where he built his ‘secundum opus’ for the church of S Vitale (...



Afro-Cuban rattle. It is a large gourd with a net of beads or seeds on cords around the outside acting as external strikers. It can be shaken or struck with the palm of the hand and might be played in groups of three different sizes, the largest about 50 cm long. Nowadays a tin sphere sometimes substitutes for the gourd; it is distinct from the ...



Jeremy Montagu

Vessel rattle of the Igbo people of Nigeria. It is named for the calabash agbo from which it is made.


J. Gansemans, K.A. Gourlay and Ferdinand J. de Hen

Lamellaphone of the Rubi-Haut-Uele area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has a box-shaped bark resonator and six to eight wooden tongues fastened to the soundboard by raffia fibre. According to de Hen a lamellaphone of this type, with wooden or metal tongues, is known by the Badjande people as ...



John M. Schechter

Double-headed drum of Cuba. It is 30 to 50 cm long and 15 to 25 cm in diameter at its ends, slightly wider in the middle. Initially constructed from a single piece of wood, it was sometimes made of staves, with its heads nailed on. For private religious rituals of the Yoruba-associated Egguado people, its function was to call and greet the female deity Obbá. The calls on the ...



Robert Barclay

Term for changes in materials and characteristics over time, often causing deterioration of appearance as well as of acoustical and mechanical behaviours of musical instruments. Almost all materials degrade over time, and most deterioration can only be slowed, not arrested completely, much less reversed. Arguably, some instruments improve tonally with age, at least initially during a ‘breaking-in’ period, for reasons that are not always clear or convincing. However, this article focuses on six basic agents of deterioration, which normally work in combination....


David P. McAllester and J. Richard Haefer

Term used by the Navajo of the southwestern USA for various rattles. It can also denote the decorated stick carried in the Enemyway ceremony, representing the power of Changing Woman and Enemy Slayer. ‘Aghááł nímaazígíí is the name for a wild gourd rattle, ndilkal ‘aghááł...


Alastair Dick

A Sanskrit term found in the older, Vedic literature of India (c1500–500 bce). It has often been translated ‘cymbals’, probably by association with the distinct word āghāta (‘percussion’; from han: ‘strike’); the root of āghā ṭá might connect better with gha ṭṭ...



J. Richard Haefer

Single-headed cylindrical drum of Suriname. It is played with the tumao and apinti drums and is the lowest sounding of the three. It is made from a hollow log commonly 2 to 3 metres long and about 15 to 20 cm in diameter, though drums vary in size. The head is fastened by cords with tuning wedges. The drum is laid on the ground, the performer kneeling beside it and playing with one stick and one hand. A steady beat is played against which the other two drums improvise. Two tones are achieved by striking either the centre or edge of the head. The ...


K.A. Gourlay and Amanda Villepastour

Lamellaphone of the Ọ̀yọ́ Yorùbá in Nigeria. It has diffused to the Nago peoples of Benin and Lucumí people in Cuba, where it is known as the marímbula. Five adjustable metal tongues are mounted on a large wooden box resonator, which can be 45 cm by 60 cm and 22 cm deep or larger. The instrument is played on the lap, suspended from the neck at waist level so that the tongues can be plucked with the fingers of either hand, or resting on the floor with the player seated. The ...



James Holland

(from Afro-Brazilian agogô). Percussion instrument. It consists of two conical bells mounted on a sprung steel hoop (it is classified as a percussion idiophone) and is used in samba bands. The player holds the instrument in one hand and strikes the bells with a wooden or metal stick held in the other. A variety of sounds and rhythmic patterns is produced by striking the bells in different spots and squeezing them together. There are also variations on the original, in the form of triple and quattro agogos and a blade agogo, which has a small metal blade between the two bells. There are also wooden agogos: in this case the ‘bells’ are side by side and not on a sprung steel hoop....



Ferdinand J. de Hen

End-blown gourd trumpet of the Logo people of the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. About 90 cm long, it consists of three hollow calabashes joined in a line and adhered together with clay. The Logo call the instrument also by other vernacular names such as ...


Slit drum of the Maranao people of the southern Philippines.



Cylindrical drum of the Tuareg people of the west-central Sahara.


Martha Novak Clinkscale

A device invented and patented by Sébastien Erard as part of his first repetition action of 1808, which replaced the nut (wrest-plank bridge) and nut-pin (bridge-pin) arrangement of earlier pianos. Érard’s early agraffe resembled a small brass staple with a concave top. One agraffe for each note was attached at a vertical angle to the front edge of the wrest plank, and the strings were passed underneath. Agraffes define one end of the strings’ speaking length and keep them in place by assuring downward bearing on the strings as the hammers strike. An Érard grand piano of ...



Gini Gorlinski

Bronze bossed gong of Minangkabau communities in western Sumatra, Indonesia. It varies in size and pitch but typically measures about 50 cm in diameter and provides a low-pitched rhythmic foundation for various ensembles, particularly the talempong duduak (‘sitting talempong’) gong chime ensemble. Depending on local tradition, the ...



Single-headed drum of the Igbo people of Nigeria.



José Maceda

Suspended bossed gong of Mindanao, Sulu, Palawan, Mindoro, Sarawak, Sabah, Brunei, peninsular Malaysia, Kalimantan and other parts of Indonesia. There are various sizes. Larger gongs measure approximately 60 cm in diameter, with a boss about 8 cm high and a rim about 24 cm wide. The degree to which the rim is turned in also varies, as do the instrument’s profile, weight and thickness. The smallest ...