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Article

Hnyìn  

John Okell

Small mouth organ of Burma. It consists of bamboo pipes (their number varies) with free reeds, mounted in a long-necked gourd or pottery windchest; the neck serves as the blowpipe. A typical example has ten curved pipes in two rows of five, ranging from about 13 to 56 cm exposed length, affixed to the gourd with a dense paste. Holes near the lower ends of the pipes are opened or closed by the fingers to sound the pipes. The ...

Article

Hoa  

Mary Riemer-Weller

revised by J. Richard Haefer

[tamoa]

Idiophone scraper and drum of the Tohono O’odham (Papago) Indians of southern Arizona and northern Mexico. A common household woven basket about 25 to 45 cm in diameter and 10 to 15 cm deep is inverted and held in the crook of the left arm. It is scraped with a stick across the basket’s ribs during the first part of a song and beaten with the stick in the second part. Older baskets woven from willow branches are preferred over the modern baskets woven from yucca fibre over a bear grass foundation. Densmore indicates that the basket was inverted on the ground and played by several singers simultaneously. Nowadays it is usually played by one person. Russell wrote that among the Akimel O’odham (Pimans) the hoa made from willow branches could be beaten softly with the hand at the beginning of songs instead of being scraped. The Pimas sometimes substitute a cardboard box if a basket is not available....

Article

J. Richard Haefer

Cylindrical drum of the Aztec (Nahua) people of pre-Contact Mexico. The body was open at the bottom and had a single head of jaguar skin or deerskin pegged to it and beaten with bare hands to accompany songs, the player either sitting beside the drum or on top of it. Along with the teponaztli (wooden slit drum), it was one of the most important instruments of Aztec culture, frequently inscribed with symbolic carvings. The name huehuetl is derived from the name of the tree ahuehuete (Pinus sabiniana), which supplied the wood from which the instrument was made, though examples of oak and walnut exist (earlier ones might have been made of precious metal or clay). It was tuned by heating the interior with live coals to dry and tauten the head. High and low pitches were produced by striking near the rim and centre of the head, respectively. Drum patterns were apparently learned by reciting the syllables ...

Article

John M. Schechter

revised by J. Richard Haefer

In modern Nahutl, a generic term for an Aztec flute. Traditionally it was a ceramic globular vessel flute. Stanford equates it with the flute çoçoloctli. Clay huilacapitztli have been found up to 20 cm in diameter and with five to eight tone holes. More developed examples are found throughout Central America. It was played together with the tlapitzalli by ‘Adonis’ (the Aztec sacrificial young man) as he ascended the steps of the pyramid for sacrifice.

The tlapitzalli is an Aztec end-blown flute, usually made of clay but sometimes of wood or bone. It is found in various shapes (straight, curved, Y-shape) and sizes from 15 to 35 cm long. The proximal end has a duct mouthpiece and the distal end is often flared. It can have up to four bores which can be blown together or separately. The body might be painted with images of Aztec dieties or decorated with three-dimensional figures. Traditionally it was blown by priests at solemn ceremonies, and Montezuma is said to have been entertained by one while eating. Adonis played the ...

Article

Alan R. Thrasher

Mouth organ of minority cultures of southwest China, notably the Yi, Lahu, and Lisu in Yunnan province. Hulu sheng (‘gourd mouth organ’) is a Han Chinese name. Local names include ang (Yi), nuo or naw (Lahu), and maniu (Lisu). The instrument is constructed from a dried bottle gourd (hulu) with its narrow neck serving as the blowpipe and its enlarged rounded bulb as the windchest. From four to seven (usually five) bamboo pipes of graduated length (c20 to 45 cm) are vertically inserted through holes in the upper and lower walls of the gourd and secured with beeswax. The pipes are open at their top and bottom ends, the bottoms sitting flush with the outside wall of the gourd where their openings serve as thumbholes. Enclosed within the gourd, a free reed assembly of bamboo or bronze is attached to each pipe with hardened beeswax. The reed frame is rectangular, but the reed can be rectangular or triangular. Above the windchest, each pipe has one fingerhole in its side. The reed is activated upon closing its fingerhole (which couples the pitch of the reed to that of the pipe) and alternately exhaling and inhaling through the blowpipe....

Article

Hulusi  

Alan R. Thrasher

Mouth organ of the Dai, Achang, Wa, and other minority cultures in southern Yunnan province, China. Hulusi is a Han Chinese name; local names include bilangdao (Dai), huluxiao (Achang), and baihongliao (Wa). The instrument has a bamboo melody pipe and one or two bamboo drone pipes inserted into the bottom (flower) end of a small bottleneck gourd windchest. Traditionally the pipes are secured with hardened beeswax though nowadays usually with a stronger adhesive. A thin blowpipe is similarly mounted in the neck end of the gourd. The melody pipe (c25 cm or longer) has six or more fingerholes and (attached near its closed end within the gourd) a thin, triangular free reed of bamboo, bronze, or silver in a rectangular frame, similar to the reed assembly of the bawu. On some instruments, one short drone pipe, with the same kind of reed, runs parallel to the melody pipe; more commonly nowadays, a second drone is attached to the opposite side of the melody pipe, either with its reed tuned to a different pitch, or without a reed for symmetrical appearance....

Article

J. Richard Haefer

(Apache: ísal, ‘pot’ or ‘bucket’; ‘bucket bound around’)

Water drum of the Apache people of Arizona and New Mexico. A large iron pot or kettle with the handle removed is partially filled with water and sacred materials (corn pollen and ash). A buckskin head (or nowadays sometimes rubber from a truck tire inner tube) is lashed tightly over the opening with buckskin thongs or strips of cloth or inner-tube rubber, with the excess skin or rubber draped around the pot. Historically a large pottery vessel was used; there is no evidence for use of a wooden vessel. The drumstick, of pine, is wrapped in buckskin at the distal end.

The drum accompanies singing, secular and religious (na-i-es, girl’s puberty ceremony; edotal, diagnostic; gojital, curing). It is usually played in groups of four with the performers standing and holding the drums under the left elbow, but in the curing rites it is held in the lap of a seated player. The earliest representation of the drum is a painting by George Catlin of ...

Article

Richard Keeling

Strung rattle of the Hupa and other native peoples of California. The Maidu call it temsisili. It is a cluster of deer hooves or dew claws tied to a wooden or bone handle 30 to 45 cm long. When shaken, the hooves create a sharp clicking sound. Among tribes of northern California and the San Joaquin Valley, it is used in the girls’ puberty ceremony. Luiseño hunters shook the rattle for luck before setting out for deer. Other southern California tribes such as the Chumash, Fernandeños, and Gabrielinos used it in mourning ceremonies....

Article

Mary Riemer-Weller

[ka’wásta’] (Seneca: ‘stick’)

Stamping sticks of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois Confederation peoples of northeastern North America. The sticks, used in pairs, are hickory wood poles from 1.5 to 1.8 m long and about 5 cm in diameter. They are held vertically by two women of the towisas (society of women planters) and are used to beat time to the songs of the women’s rite, performed at the Green Corn and Midwinter ceremonies. According to Seneca belief, the stamping is said to represent thunder, wind, and rain....

Article

Mary Riemer-Weller

[ká:ˀke:taˀ] (Seneca: ‘whistle’)

Vertical whistle of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois Confederation people of north-eastern North America. It is made of cane, about 45 cm long with an external duct, like the courting flute, but no fingerholes. Only two notes are produced, the fundamental and its overblown octave. It is used only during the ceremony of the Little Water Medicine Society and in the Eagle Dance, a curing ritual....