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Article

Gerhard Kubik

A term coined by George Montandon (1919) and adopted by André Schaeffner (1936) to refer to the Central African instrument also known as a bow lute (Hornbostel and Sachs, 1914; Wegner, 1984) of which there are two types. A pluriarc consists of a hollowed wooden resonator with strings running either parallel or slightly inclined to the soundboard. In contrast to harps and lutes, however, pluriarcs are not held by one string-bearer, but each string has its own flexible carrier. For this purpose, in the first type of pluriarc short arcs are inserted into a series of holes bored into the top wall of the resonator or, in the second type, they are attached to the back of the resonator and/or partly inserted. These differences affect the method of tuning.

The term ‘pluriarc’ for this class of instruments has been contested, as has the term ‘bow lute’, mainly due to the fact that both terms suggest an evolutionary sequence from musical bows consisting of ‘one arc’ to an instrument of ‘several arcs’. Jean Sebastien Laurenty was also reluctant but opted for the term ‘pluriarc’ (...

Article

Ponge  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

[pongi, bompate, bonyo]

Side-blown ivory horn of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The ponge, used for signalling and in hunting by the Mbole people, is reported as 15 to 50 cm long with an oval or lozenge-shaped embouchure. The related term pongi, also used by the Mbole and by the Bia, is said to have come from the Lia. Similar horns are called ...

Article

Virginia Saya

Opera in one act by Dominick Argento to a libretto by John Donahue; Minneapolis, Cedar Village Theater, 14 October 1971.

From an abstract libretto by the children’s theatre director John Donahue (with lines in no set sequence, assigned to no particular character), Argento created a symbolic fantasy based on the guarded interactions of seven people waiting for a train. Their activities are interrupted by abrupt leaps of time and strange entertainments (a cabaret song to nonsense syllables, a puppet show with lifelike puppets, a Viennese operetta duet). Each character performs an aria of minimal self-revelation and carries an item of luggage, the contents of which he or she symbolically protects from the prying of the others. When Mr Owen (tenor), the only named character, is forced to reveal that his suitcase is empty, he is cut off from the group and, in heroic style, sets out on a voyage of self-discovery in a ship built by the puppets....

Article

City in the Republic of South Africa. It contains the headquarters of the Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal (PACT), which was established in 1963 and is responsible for opera and ballet performances in the Transvaal. Opera was first given at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre and at the Aula in Pretoria. Since its opening in 1981 the Opera, a 1322-seat theatre in the State Theatre complex in Pretoria, has become the principal venue for opera. Generally, seven productions, including one musical, are given throughout the year. On 24 November 1988 The Fall of the House of Usher, a one-act opera by the South African composer Hendrik Hofmeyr, received its première at the Arena, a small experimental part of the State Theatre. The PACT orchestra was founded in 1965, and in 1987 it merged with the National SO to form the National Orchestra. In 1991 this orchestra split again, into the National SO of the South African Broadcasting Corporation and the Transvaal Philharmonic (for PACT). Through its Opera for Youth programme, school tours are also undertaken by PACT. An opera school is attached to the Pretoria Technicon’s School of Performing Arts....

Article

Psalm  

Christian Troelsgård, John Arthur Smith, Terence Bailey, Paul Doe, Alejandro Enrique Planchart and Malcolm Boyd

(Lat. psalmusGk. psalmos)

An ancient Near Eastern or ancient Egyptian sacred poem exhibiting the following main characteristics: a theocentric subject, short bifurcated units of literary construction and parallelism of clauses (parallelismus membrorum, ‘thought rhyme’); or a setting of such a poem to music. The Greek word itself, used in the Septuagint and the New Testament for the book of Psalms, referred properly to a song with plucked string accompaniment (elsewhere in antiquity it referred also to the movement of the fingers in plucking strings, or to the sound of string instruments). In later usage, the word referred loosely to a metrical or non-metrical sacred poem or song.

This article discusses the music associated with the biblical Psalms and other psalmodic texts such as the biblical canticles, in ancient Judaism, early Christianity and the traditions springing from Eastern and Western Christianity. No detailed account is given here of the various independent musical forms of the Christian liturgy that originated ultimately in psalmody, even though these often retained psalmodic texts; for these ...

Article

Charles de Ledesma and Barry Kernfeld

[Mtutuzel ]

(b Port Elizabeth, South Africa, July 18, 1938; d London, June 30, 1990). South African alto saxophonist. He grew up in a musical family. Having first played piano in Port Elizabeth (late 1950s), he took up alto saxophone and worked with his own group, the Jazz Giants (1962), and then joined Chris McGregor’s Blue Notes (1963); with the latter group he traveled to France for an appearance at the Festival Mondial du Jazz Antibes–Juan-les-Pins (1964), worked in Zurich and Geneva (1964–5), and moved to London (1965). He was a member of McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath through the 1970s, but he also played in reggae bands and performed with such musicians as Han Bennink, Misha Mengelberg, John Surman, and Mike Osborne. At the same time he led his own groups – Spear (which toured South Africa briefly in 1969), Assagai (which recorded in ...

Article

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Article

Pwing  

Article

Peter Cooke

revised by Michelle Kisliuk

The term ‘Pygmy’ has been used by anthropologists (and more generally by speakers of European languages) to denote the indigenous hunter-gatherers of the Central African rainforest. However it is a problematic term in that it has often been used in a derogatory sense which reflects the socially oppressive circumstances under which some forest people still live. These people often refer to themselves in their own languages as ‘forest people’ or ‘children of the forest’. They include the Baka of Cameroon, the Ba(Aka) of the Central African Republic and the Republic of the Congo, the Ba(Ngombe) of the Republic of the Congo, the Ba(Mbuti) of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the (Ba)Gyeli of Gabon, and several sub-groups and peripheral groups, such as those referred to as ‘Pygmoids’ living in Rwanda and Burundi. They number in all about 170,000 (though census data collection among Pygmies is obviously difficult to conduct and more difficult to verify). Musical styles and lifestyles among these groups vary across regions and change over time. African Pygmies have traditionally lived in semi-nomadic hunting camps, exchanging forest goods with neighbouring farmers in patron-client relationships, and sometimes working on their neighbours' farms. Pygmies across equatorial Africa are increasingly farming their own plots in the forest, which in some ways allows them more independence....

Article

Qanbūs  

Christian Poché

[qabūs]

Short-necked lute of Yemen, widely disseminated with slightly varying terminology: gabbūs (Zanzibar), gabbus (Oman), gabusi or gambusi (the Comoros), Gambus (parts of Indonesia and Malaysia), qabūs (Saudi Arabia) and kabôsy (Madagascar). One of the earliest references to it is in Lane (1863–93): ‘a sort of tunbur made by the people of al-Yaman now called qabus or the lute’. The term derives from the root ‘q-n’, often found in the musical vocabulary of Semitic languages. A comparison between the existing ‘ūd and the qanbūs points to reciprocal influences and continuous interaction: the shape of the latter is certainly close to that of the early Islamic ‘ūd. The myths surrounding their invention are largely the same, and the influence of the ‘ūd on the qanbūs is observed in the borrowing of the former term to describe the qanbūs in Sana‘a, Yemen (the ‘ūd of Sana‘a) and in the use of double courses; the ...

Article

Article

Rabāba  

Christian Poché

[rababah, rapapa]

Bowl lyre with five (occasionally six) strings, used in Eritrea (Ethiopia) and the Sudan, where the term is a generic one for the lyre. The instrument is also known in Zaïre and Uganda as rababah or rapapa, mostly with five strings, with or without bridge and with very small soundholes recalling those of the Ethiopian krar; some instruments have eight strings, no bridge and a single soundhole. The rababa is played by the Bari people of Zaïre and the same instrument is called tum by the Bari of the Sudan. At Omdurman (Sudan), the six-string rabāba lyre is central to what is called ṭambūra worship.

The rabāba has a hemispherical soundbox covered with cow-, antelope-, lamb- or (in Zaïre) lizard-hide; two arms extend from this and fit exactly on a cross-bar on to which the strings are wound, with or without strips of material. In the Zaïre models the soundbox may be oval or even rectangular. The tuning is anhemipentatonic....

Article

Darius Brubeck

(b Alexandra township, South Africa, March 2, 1946). South African alto and soprano saxophonist, flutist, and penny whistle player. In a career that typifies the history of jazz in South Africa in the second half of the twentieth century, from the age of 11 he played penny whistle on street corners in a group called the Little Bunnies, then continued in the same vein with the Kwela Kids. He was self-taught, but passed Royal Schools exams through Grade VI in music theory and flute. In the 1960s and 1970s he played saxophone with Abdullah Ibrahim, and he may be heard on albums that are now considered to be classic. He also performed in Chris McGregor’s Castle Lager Big Band (1963) and such groups of the 1960s as the Big Five (alongside Johnny Mekoa and the drummer Early Mabuza) and the Soul Giants (which included the trumpeter Dennis Mpali). Two of his compositions from this era, ...

Article

Raï  

Tony Langlois

A genre of North African popular music, most closely associated with the city of Waharan (Oran) in western Algeria and nearby towns on both sides of the border with Morocco.

The earliest music of this name was performed by female singers in the bars of Oran during the 1920s and 30s. They were accompanied by the gaspah (an end-blown flute) and the guellal (a pottery, single-headed cylindrical drum). During this period of French colonial rule Oran was a busy port, largely inhabited by Europeans and surrounded by bidonvilles, the homes of dispossessed Arab migrants. This mix of peoples and cultures gave rise to an entertainment business which appropriated elements of the sexually frank medhatte repertory, moving it from its traditional place at single-sex wedding parties into a public and morally ambiguous context.

Cheikhat (female equivalent of cheik, ‘elder’) performed songs which expressed passion, powerlessness and lamentation and also included elements of local religion. These themes traditionally belonged to a discrete female repertory. The presentation of these topics to a mixed audience and the boldness of the singers themselves were widely condemned by a local Arab community striving to present a morally superior identity in opposition to that of European colonialists....

Article

Ian Kemp, Hubert van der Spuy and Justin Vickers

(b Howick, Natal, Feb 3, 1903; d Besse-en-Chandesse, France, Oct 10, 1986). South African–English composer of English-Huguenot origin. After early childhood in Zululand, she entered the South African College of Music, Cape Town, as a violin student (1913); in 1920 her playing won her the Cape of Good Hope University Scholarship to the RAM. She then settled permanently in London, earning her living as a violinist and teacher until 1935, when an anonymous grant enabled her to concentrate on composition. In 1937 she studied with Nadia Boulanger for three months, and she was a professor of composition at the RAM (1943–61). Her compositions were given premières by Janet Craxton, Philip Langridge, Jacqueline du Pré, and Yehudi Menuhin; first performances were heard at the Aldeburgh Festival, the Bath Festival, the Edinburgh Festival, the Promenade Concerts, the Royal Albert Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, and the Wigmore Hall. In ...

Article

Rapapa  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Symmetrical bowl lyre of the Bari people in the Uele region, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has five to seven strings made of twisted leather strips, and a bridge (lacking in similar lyres of the Zande and Mangbetu). The Bari always use a resonator made of a tortoise shell with its bottom plate replaced by an antelope-skin belly. ...

Article

Samha El-Kholy

(Ahmed )

(b Cairo, 1896; d Cairo, 1969). Egyptian composer . As a boy he played the violin in Egypt and in England. He read agriculture at Durham University (also singing baritone and composing), and returned to Cairo in 1918. He began to compose vocal music to Arabic texts, an activity which culminated in the first opera composed by an Egyptian, ...

Article

Samha El-Kholy

(Aḥmad)

(b Cairo, July 10, 1896; d Cairo, May 25, 1969). Egyptian composer. As a boy in Cairo he played the violin, which he continued to study for many years, both in Egypt and in England, where his wealthy family sent him to be educated: he read agriculture at Durham University, also singing baritone and composing. In 1918 he returned to Cairo and married Bahīga Sidqī, the pianist and composer of children's songs. The Rashīds were among the most active members of the Egyptian Amateur Music Association, which they founded with others in 1942, the aim of the organization being to spread the appreciation of classical Western and new Egyptian music. Besides performing in the association's concerts, Rashīd began to compose vocal music to Arabic texts, an activity which culminated in his single opera Antony's Death, to the first part of Aḥmad Shawqī's Cleopatra's Death. This was the first opera composed by an Egyptian with an Arabic text and subject. Parts of it were produced in ...

Article

Daniel Kawka

(b Alexandria, Egypt, Dec 12, 1943). French composer and musicologist. She studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Claude Ballif (analysis), Olivier Messiaen (composition) and Alain Weber (counterpoint), gaining first prize in counterpoint and analysis and winning the composition prize. She also holds a degree in literature from the Sorbonne. She has been resident at the Casa de Velasquez, Madrid (1979–81) and has taught analysis at the Paris Conservatoire. Hallmarks of her style include slow transformations of sound material, as in Métèores (1978) and Les jeux de Protée (1984), and the use of repetition, as in Le cercle du vent (1988). Her sophisticated technique always serves the emotional content of the music, the substance of which is inspired by visual art and literature. Reverdy’s writings include two books on the music of Olivier Messiaen: L’oeuvre pour piano d’Olivier Messiaen (Paris, 1978...

Article

Ribab  

[amzad]

Single-string spike fiddle of the Tamazight (Berber) people of North Africa. The resonator is a shallow circular frame covered by a goatskin head and back. The horsehair string extends at an angle to the neck (not along it) from the end of a long lateral tuning peg, through a thong looped to the neck that acts as a nut, over an inverted V-shaped wooden bridge placed toward the upper side of the head, to a string holder that is looped around the short spike. The neck, of square section, is often ornately inlaid and terminates with a knob. The string is not stopped against the neck but is pressed by the left-hand fingers to produce mainly pentatonic melody within the compass of an octave. The horsehaired bow is a simple arch, the stick wrapped with cloth and the hair tension adjusted by the bow-hand fingers. The ribab is used, with drums, as a solo instrument and for the accompaniment of song and dance....