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Article

Jan Stęszewski

revised by Zbigniew J. Przerembski

[mrëczk, mruczek] (Pol.: ‘grumble bass’)

Friction drum used in the Pomerania and Warmia regions of Poland. Formerly it was used in magic and annual folk rituals, mainly during Christmas and Shrovetide. Nowadays many folk ensembles use it to provide a rhythmic bass, and as a musical attribute of Kashubian cultural identity. The barrel-shaped body is about 25–30 cm tall and made of wooden staves, or sometimes a hollowed log. The bottom of the barrel is made of leather or wood with a centrally attached strand of horsehair or a metal chain that is rubbed rhythmically with wetted or rosined hands. A smaller version called the ...

Article

(Basque: ‘lever’)

Idiophone of the Basque region, known also as a palanka or satai. It is an iron bar, about 1 metre long, which is struck with small iron or wooden beaters, creating a bell-like sound. It used to be played in the lobera (or burdinbarra) serenade, performed to a couple at dusk on the day their marriage banns were called....

Article

Buzzers  

Jeremy Montagu

Vibrating elements added to instruments to ‘sweeten’, distort, amplify, enrich, or extend their sound. These accessories take many forms. For example, a buzzing membrane, usually made of the internal skin of a bamboo stem, covers an extra hole between the embouchure and the fingerholes of many Chinese and southeast Asian flutes. Some Chinese notched flutes have holes covered by a vibrating membrane in the almost-closed upper end. A vibrating membrane covers a hole in the side of resonators of many African and Latin American xylophones. Some drums, especially in Central Africa, have a hole in the side of the body in which is inserted a short section of gourd with a membrane covering the outer end. A vibrating membrane over one end or over a hole in the side of a tube that is sung into is widely used to disguise a singer’s voice, in some cultures turning it into the voice of a spirit or a god. Artificial membrane materials used nowadays include cigarette papers and scraps of plastic bags....

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Bwi  

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Byàw  

John Okell

Double-headed barrel drum of Myanmar. It is 60 to 70 cm long, with cowhide heads 40 cm in diameter, laced together and beaten with a pair of stout sticks. The byàw is associated particularly with ceremonies for happy events such as a son entering the monkhood as a novice. A typical ...

Article

Alastair Dick

Shallow barrel drum of the Santal people of eastern India. It is 25 to 30 cm deep, 32.5 cm in diameter at the right-hand head, and 35 cm at the left. The shell is of gambhari wood, and the heads are of goatskin stretched on creeper hoops and laced with leather thongs and metal tuning-loops. The right head has a hardened tuning paste of earth, oil, gum, and vermilion. The drum is hung either vertically and played with sticks on the upper (right) head, or horizontally and beaten with the hands on both heads....

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Caja  

Henry Stobart

Frame drum, sometimes with a snare, of Spain and Latin America. The caja of central Spain is often a shallow, military-style side drum, slung from the waist and played with two sticks to accompany the dulzaina (oboe), whilst those of Palma tend to be deeper.

The word caja is applied to a wide range of Latin American drums. In Columbia it is sometimes a shallow, single-headed instrument, whilst in Central America it tends to be double-headed, with the body deeper than the diameter of the head. The Cuban caja, which resembles the conga, is a large, deep single-headed drum of African origin, hollowed-out from a tree trunk and played with the hands. In the Andes, where the caja is widespread, it is typically shallow and double-headed, and may include an internal or external string snare. A single hard- (or soft-) headed beater is usually used, and the instrument is held vertically. The skins of the two heads are tied together around the frame with a leather thong or string, in the manner of the indigenous ...

Article

Calung  

Term referring to bamboo Xylophone, bamboo xylophone ensemble or metallophone of Indonesia (the bamboo xylophone and xylophone ensemble are found in Java and Sunda, while the metallophone is found in Bali). For details on Sundanese usage, see Indonesia §V 1., (ii), (b); this entry deals with the calung ensemble of Banyumas, west Central Java.

Calung typically comprises two multi-octave bamboo xylophones which play interlocking patterns; two single-octave bamboo xylophones (slenthem and kethuk-kenong) which play a central melody and its colotomic punctuation, respectively; a blown bamboo gong; two small kendhang (drums); and a female vocalist (sindhèn) who is also often a dancer (and then referred to as lènggèr). Instrumentalists also participate in the vocals, providing stylized responses to both the female vocalist and certain kendhang cues. The performance style involves dense interlocking, rapid changes of tempo and density, lively syncopated drumming and comic vocal interchanges. Calung...

Article

Coriún Aharonián

A dance and song genre of Uruguay. The word ‘candombe’ (not to be confused with Brazilian camdomblé) has had various different but related meanings throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. In the colonial era it denoted the musical practices of the black communities; from the 1930s onwards it has described phenomena associated with the llamada (drum call) of the tamboriles, while in modern times it has designated a song whose rhythm is compatible with the drummed llamada so that it can be superimposed over it.

During the 1940s the term had two further meanings: the first as a form conserved by the conjuntos lubolos, black societies in the official Carnival celebrations of Montevideo (together with milongón and other Afro-Brazilian or Afro-Cuban genres); the second is associated with the ‘traditional’, mainly white tango orchestras (especially those of the River Plate), whose repertory – particularly its ‘milonguero’, or festive, aspect – was readily compatible with the drummed rhythms of the ...

Article

Cang  

Alastair Dick

[cangu]

Indian name for frame drum in Gujarat and Rajasthan (cang), and in Orissa (cangu), denoting two different types in each region. The Gujarati cang and the cangu of the Orissan Khondh people are large (up to 60 cm wide) wooden-rimmed drums, their heads laced by dense strapping passing around a small metal ring held suspended by the straps in the centre of the open left head. They are played with hands or sticks, or both. The cangu of the Juang people of Orissa and the Rajasthani cang, however, have pasted heads, as on the Middle Eastern daf or Indian ḍaph model. The Juang cangu is 40 cm wide, held by a sling on the left shoulder and played with two bamboo sticks. The Rajasthani cang (about 60 cm wide) is played by one musician with both hands, sometimes also with a stick, while another player strikes it with two long sticks. It is associated with the spring festival ...

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Casio  

Hugh Davies

Japanese electronic instrument manufacturer. Casio was founded in Tokyo about 1956 by Toshio Kashio as the Casio Computer Co., to make smaller electronic machines; it has been specially successful with its pocket calculators, digital watches and cash registers. Its first musical keyboard was marketed in 1980. Casio pioneered electronic keyboards designed for children. It has manufacturered organ-like home keyboards (since ...

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Article

David K. Rycroft

(pl. tussúmbi)

Open-ended, footed drum of the Chokwe of the Lóvua/Lunda district, Angola. The name derives from the word for ‘hen’, and the instrument is said to make a ‘cackling noise’. In construction and playing technique it closely resembles the mucundo drum, and it is played in conjunction with that and with the ...

Article

Gerhard Kubik

Term used for old drums found in caves north of the town of Singida in central Tanzania. Since about 1935, 78 drums have been found distributed in 16 sacred caves, as reported by the National Museum in Dar es Salaam. The age of these instruments, many of which had partly disintegrated, was estimated at more than 200 years. The makers belonged to neither the Iramb, nor the Nyaturu, nor any other people living there nowadays; the Ihanzu claim that when they moved into the area long ago, the drums were already there. Some one-string bowed lutes were also found in the caves. A huge ancient drum discovered near the summit of Samaja Hill in Irambaland, approximately 45 miles north of Singida, can also be seen in the National Museum. The drum’s body is cut from the stem of an acacia tree and looks like a big tooth with two roots. To produce the tension needed for the skin, large wooden plugs laced with strings were used. It is thought that some of these ‘hidden drums’ were used in religious or ritual contexts, perhaps associated with rain-making....

Article

Pribislav Pitoëff

[ceṇḍe]

Double-headed drum of Kerala, south India. The body is a cylinder of jackwood, 55 cm tall and 22 cm in diameter. The heads are glued to two hoops of wood or bamboo, 32 cm in diameter and 4 cm high, and held very taut at either end of the body by W-shaped lacings, each tuned by a movable ring placed on the lacings. On some modern ce ṇḍa the heads are attached with metal screw rods. The heads are of cow- or calfhide: one head is made of a single layer, the other has six or seven extra layers glued on the inside. The drum is held vertically by a fabric strap passed over the player’s shoulder; a great variety of strokes is obtained on the thin head, either by two curved sticks or by one stick and a hand; the other head is occasionally beaten to mark the time....

Article

Elaine Dobson

Article

Kyle Devine

American manufacturer of electronic keyboards and drum machines. The company was founded in Upland, California, by Harry Chamberlin in the late 1940s. Instead of the electronic circuits and digital processors used to generate sound in most synthesizers, Chamberlins replay the sounds of existing instruments and effects recorded to electromagnetic tape. In using prerecorded sound, Chamberlins are considered forerunners of digital sampling techniques and technologies.

Harry Chamberlin’s first device, the Rhythmate (considered one of the first drum machines) used a series of dials and switches to play back fourteen looped drum patterns. Later designs, such as the Model 200 (1950s) and the M1 (1970s), used a conventional keyboard to activate the tape mechanism. Instead of tape loops, these keyboard models used tape strips that played for several seconds before automatically rewinding. Using tape strips allowed the initial attack of the instrument to be heard.

Sales were sizeable but never enormous: several hundred Chamberlins were produced during the company’s lifespan (...

Article

Michael Suing

[chancega, cancega](Lakota: ‘wood kettle’)

Generic Sioux Indian term for frame drums. The term refers both to single- and double-headed drums used in personal, powwow, and ceremonial settings, while čháŋčheğa miméla refers specifically to the hand drum. Historic Euro-American accounts often refer to the large drums as war drums; however, this is a misconception as specific drums did not exist for this purpose. Lakota construction methods and materials are representative of traditional drummaking in the Northern Great Plains. A likely predecessor of the Lakota frame drum was a solitary hoop of bent branches with no drum head, played by striking the hoop with a beater. This idiophonic frame was a talismanic object employed by healers and shamans. After idiophonic frames, longitudinally split and bent sections of wood with increased structural integrity for supporting a drum head were used. The two ends were overlapped and lashed with sinew and hide passing through holes cut through the wood. Later, vegetal twine, iron tacks, and wire replaced or were used to repair lapped joints. The use of cross-sections of hollowed trees is common in larger powwow drums, but smaller handheld drums sometimes employed this method. Other lumber, typically from discarded shipping crates, provided wood of ideal thickness and length for use as bent drum frames, and other collected materials, such as large snapping turtle shells, large iron hoops, small shipping crates, wooden buckets, and cast iron kettles were used as drum frames or bodies....