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Article

Robert At’ayan

Type of Armenian cello, invented in the early 1950s and named after the ancient Armenian instrument. The body is hollowed from a single piece of wood and covered by a wooden soundtable. The large bambir has two crescent soundholes (7 cm long and 2.5 cm wide) in the soundtable and a thin animal membrane, with several soundholes (about 5 mm in diameter), stretched underneath. This membrane under the soundtable gives the instrument its distinctive timbre—a clean tone, reminiscent of a muted cello, but related to the sound of the k’amancha and other folk instruments. The body is 54 cm long, and the width varies from 29 cm at the base to 13 cm in the middle and 24 cm at the top. The bambir is strung and tuned like the cello, and the sounding length of the strings is 63 cm (from head to bridge).

The small bambir has no membrane and only one soundhole in the belly. Its measurements are: body length 40 cm, width 24 cm at the base, 12.5 cm in the middle, and 19 cm at the top; sounding string length 39 cm. It is tuned like the violin but an octave lower. When ...

Article

Bana  

Geneviève Dournon

[vana]

Three-string fiddle of Madhya Pradesh (Mandla district), India. About 70 cm long, it is made up of a squarish soundbox of mango wood with incurved sides, covered with a soundtable of calf’s stomach membrane, and a bamboo neck. The three horsehair strings are tuned by lateral wooden pegs and played with a bow to which are attached little pellet-bells. In the central Mandla province, bana is the instrument used by the Pardhan to accompany their repertory of epic religious ballads. The Pardhan are the genealogist bards of the Gond, who were once sovereigns of the powerful kingdom of Gondwana and now make up the largest tribal population of India. Other fiddles of the same type but with a less sophisticated construction, called kikir or kingiri, are occasionally found among the Muria Gond, who live in the hilly hinterland of Bastar. Gogia bana is a misnomer for the Pardhan bow harp....

Article

Banam  

Carol M. Babiracki

[bānām, bānom]

Term for single-string fiddles, without frets and with a skin-covered soundbox, played by tribal groups in central India. At least two general varieties have been described in written sources on Indian folk instruments: an inverted fiddle (held upwards) with either a tortoise-shell or a wooden body, and a waisted upright fiddle (held downwards) resembling the sārindā. The inverted fiddle type is particularly associated with the Muṇḍā, Santāl, and related tribal groups of southern Bihar. However, it is possible that for some of these groups banam is a generic term for any bowed chordophone.

Among the Muṇḍā, the banam is considered an instrument of the giti ʔoro ʔ (youth dormitory), and in traditional song texts it is often paired with the rutu (side-blown bamboo flute). It is normally played by men to accompany their own singing as they sit or walk. The Muṇḍāri banam repertory includes communal dancing-songs, but the instrument is seldom accompanied by either drumming or dancing. It has retained a position of respect and symbolic importance in Muṇḍāri villages, even though ...

Article

Natalie M. Webber

Name once used in Sri Lanka for the mandolin. It probably was imported by the Portuguese, absorbed by the artisans of Ceylonese-Portuguese extraction, and used to play their characteristic dance music. The name is now obsolete, but a flat-backed mandolin with four double strings, known in Sri Lanka as the ‘English mandolin’, is still used as the melody instrument for ...

Article

Bandola  

A flat-backed lute of South and Central America, descended from the Bandurria (see also Mandore). The modern bandola of Colombia has a tear-drop shape, with a flat or concave back. It has six courses of strings, three steel strings in each of the four upper courses, and two copper-wound strings in each of the two lower courses, tuned f ♯–b–e′–a′–d″–g″. It is played with a plectrum and, as in mandolin playing, a note may be sustained by a tremolo. In the Colombian Andes it plays in the murga ensemble to accompany dancing and the singing of coplas; the murga is sometimes augmented by a second bandola, the two playing in characteristic parallel 3rds and 6ths. The bandola is used in Chilean Andean music, where it accompanies solo shepherd songs, and in the Guatemalan zarabanda ensemble (see Guatemala, §II, 2). There are two types of Venezuelan bandola...

Article

John M. Schechter

Mandolin widely used as a folk instrument in Latin America. The instruments of the mestizos and Quechuas in highland Ecuador have a teardrop-shaped body with a flat back and a circular sound hole and are made from cedar, pine, and other woods. They have five triple courses of metal strings and are played with a plectrum. Several tunings are found; in the region of Cotacachi, Imbabura Province, one tuning is g–e♭″–c–g–e♭″; a more popular tuning is eee–aaa–ddd–f♯″f♯′f♯″–bbb″. The latter tuning is often varied in the fourth course to gg′g″ to facilitate guitar-like chord fingerings. In the Andean region the bandolín, together with the rondador and the charango, accompanies sanjuanito...

Article

Bandora  

Ian Harwood and Lyle Nordstrom

[pandora] (Fr. pandore, bandore; Ger. Bandoer, Pandora)

A plucked chordophone (classified as a lute) of bass register with metal strings and a scalloped and festooned body outline, said to have been invented in London in 1562. Besides having a considerable solo repertory, it was required to accompany some of the earliest printed English songs, and was one of the six obligatory instruments of the mixed Consort. There are many references to its use in the theatre and in court entertainments through the late 16th century and the 17th, but by the 18th it was falling into disuse.

The bandora has a flat or slightly domed back and a flat soundboard into which is set a circular ornamental ‘rose’ soundhole. It is strung with iron and brass wires, the lowest of which are twisted from two or more strands, not overspun like modern ones. Bacon (Sylva Sylvarum, 1627) writes of ‘a Wreathed String such as are in the Base Strings of Bandoraes’. The strings run in double courses from the pegbox, usually ‘viol’ type with lateral pegs, over the fingerboard and soundboard to the bridge, which is glued in position, as on a lute. The bandora has a special method of string attachment at the bridge, that is, a fret-like strip of brass and a row of hitch-pins along its bottom edge. Although the bandora has been described as a kind of bass cittern, its fixed bridge and the lute-like system of bars under its flat soundboard make it acoustically quite distinct. Whereas the cittern was normally a plectrum instrument, the bandora was played with the fingers (although Roger North reported in the late 17th century that the ‘pandora’ was ‘struck with a quill’). The only features the two instruments have in common are the metal strings and sheet brass frets, secured in tapering slots in the fingerboard by hardwood wedges....

Article

Bandura  

Sofia Hrytsa

[bandoura]

A hybrid instrument of the Ukraine combining elements of a lute and box zither, possibly derived from the 10th century Arabic and Persian pandura and the kobuz of the Kipchak and Polovtsian peoples. It has a short neck, a shallow oval wooden body and a resonating hole on the upper soundboard. There may be a varying number of strings; four to eight bass (buntï) strings on the neck, plucked by the left hand, and between seven and thirty metal strings (pidstrunki, tuned chromatically) across the soundboard, plucked by the right hand. Older examples are tuned diatonically.

The bandura (also known as the kobza until the end of the 19th century) was widely used by the Cossacks during the 16th and 17th centuries. The performers, called banduristï or kobzari, were itinerant singer-instrumentalists who used the bandura to accompany the epic dumï, historical songs, ballads and other forms. The instrument was also adopted by the Polish gentry. The ...

Article

John M. Schechter

[mandurria]

A plucked lute. A hybrid of the guitar and cittern families, it is found in Spain and parts of Latin America. It has a small, cittern-shaped body with comparatively deep ribs, flat back, short fretted neck, and large peg-holder with pegs projecting from the rear as on a guitar. The strings pass over a large central soundhole and are usually fixed to a string-holder. In Spain a púa (plectrum) is used to pick out melody.

The term ‘mandurria’ was mentioned in the 14th century by Juan Ruiz in his Libro de buen amor. In 1555 Juan Bermudo described the bandurria in his Comiença el libro llamado declaraciõ de instrumetos [sic] as a three-string instrument, but he also mentioned other types with four or even five strings. He said that the outer courses were tuned an octave apart, with the middle course either a 5th or a 4th above the lowest. Later, five- and six-course bandurrias were tuned in 4ths throughout, a tuning that is still used (...

Article

Bangia  

Lyre of the Berta people of southeastern Sudan. It has a wooden bowl resonator, a soundtable of hide into which two soundholes are cut, and a small wooden bridge. The five strings, formerly made of gut, are nowadays made of steel. Each string is fastened to a strip of cloth wound around the yoke and can be tuned by twisting the cloth. The ...

Article

Bangwe  

Andrew Tracey

[bango, ndyele, pango, pangwe]

Board zither of southeastern Africa made of a flat board or of a raft of papyrus stalks. Its single wire or fibre string is stretched from end to end through holes in the body of the instrument (normally seven times, but nine to 12 among the Sena, Manganja, and Barwe peoples of central Mozambique). Rough tuning is effected by friction tensioning each segment, fine tuning by moving the small bridges under each string at the player’s end. In northern Mozambique and Malawi the player usually strums all the pentatonically tuned strings with the right index finger while damping with the left fingers those notes that are not required to sound, an ancient technique used on many lyres and zithers. The bangwe, once ubiquitous in Malawi, is now rare. In central Mozambique the tuning is heptatonic; the player plucks the open strings with the fingers and thumbs of both hands, sharing a repertoire with the lamellaphones of the region. The far end of the instrument is often put into a calabash or tin can for resonance; the resonator is dotted with loose bottle tops that serve as buzzers....

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Banjo  

Jay Scott Odell and Robert B. Winans

A plucked string instrument with a long guitar-like neck and a circular soundtable, usually called the “head,” of tautly stretched parchment or skin (now usually plastic), against which the bridge is pressed by the strings. The banjo and its variants, classified as plucked lute chordophones, have had long and widespread popularity as folk, parlor, and professional entertainers’ instruments. It used to be speculated that the name of the instrument probably derived from the Portuguese or Spanish bandore, but another possibility, at least as likely, comes out of recent research into West African plucked lute traditions, which has identified at least six traditional plucked lutes whose necks are made from a thick stalk of papyrus, known throughout the Senegambian region by the Mande term “bang” (also “bangoe,” “bangjolo,” “bangjulo,” “bung,” “bungo”).

The modern five-string banjo is normally fitted with raised frets and strung with steel wire strings. It is tuned g...

Article

Zither shaped like a harp. It was invented in the USA in the 19th century. It was 90 cm tall, had 18 strings, and five to seven buttons with which to change the pitch; on the lower part of the instrument was a drum to give a banjo-like resonance. ‘Banjo Harp’ was also a trade name for a five-string banjo with a wooden soundtable and a resonator back made by the Paramount Banjo Co. (William L. Lange) in the 1920s....

Article

Term for a banjo with four paired strings or a mandolin with a banjo-type head. Such combination types were popular novelties in the USA in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some were patented, for example the Bandonian by William H. DeWick of Brooklyn (b 1869), patented ...

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Banzie  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

[banzu]

Zither of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The name banzie is used by the Zande people, banzu by the Mangbetu and Bwa. It has a box resonator of bark and 9 to 13 liana strings.

F.J. de Hen: Beitrag zur Kenntnis der Musikinstrumente aus Belgisch Kongo und Ruanda-Urundi (Tervuren, 1960), 155–6....

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Bappe  

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Barbat