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Article

Owen Wright, Christian Poché and Amnon Shiloah

Music traditions in the Arabic-speaking world. For discussions of the music of specific areas, see also individual country articles.

The art music/folk (or popular) music opposition is a blunt instrument at best, and at various times and places in the Arab world it would be unrealistic or unhelpful to seek to draw a clear dividing line. In Arabic the terminological distinction is a modern importation, and while the earlier textual tradition may recognize regional differences it is more frequently concerned with an ultimately ethical evaluation of the various purposes for which music may be used. However, these imply distinctions of function and social context, and as one major constant in Arab and Middle Eastern Islamic culture generally we may identify a form of entertainment music for which, in fact, the label ‘art music’ is quite apt. Nurtured at courts, patronized by urban élites, performed by professionals (and aristocratic amateurs) and described in explicitly theoretical terms, art music constituted an integral element of sophisticated high culture and, consequently, could be regarded as a suitable subject for scientific and philosophical enquiry....

Article

Nguyen Thuyet Phong

Article

Bāz  

Article

Bher  

Alastair Dick

Very large metal kettledrum of Sind, Pakistan. It is played standing, with two sticks, as part of the ceremonial band naubat found at the shrines of some Sindi saints (e.g. that of Shah Abdul Latif at Bhitshah). ‘Bher’ doubtless derives from the old Indian drum name bherī, but it is different from that so described in medieval Indian texts....

Article

Burburi  

Article

Alastair Dick

revised by Andrew Alter

[ḍaũr]

Small, shallow hourglass drum of Uttarakhand in northern India. Like many other hourglass drums in India, the ḍauṅr is associated with the god Shiva. For this reason it is often equated with the ḍamaru, though the instruments are of different sizes and are played differently. The ḍauṅr is usually found in the western area of Uttarakhand (Garhwal) where it is used almost exclusively for indoor shamanic rituals. It is about 16 cm tall and has a diameter of 20 cm at the heads and 13 cm at the waist; its body is made of copper, brass, or wood. The goatskin heads are lapped on hoops and braced by cotton V-lacings tightened at the waist with a cross-lacing. The bracing is not used to vary the tension of the heads during performance. The musician plays while seated, holding the instrument between his knees or under his leg; the right/upper face is struck with a curved stick, the left/lower with the hand and fingers. Thus the playing technique resembles that of the much larger ...

Article

Mireille Helffer

revised by Gert-Matthias Wegner and Simonne Bailey

Double-headed frame drum of Nepal, used by shamans in the Himalayan area. The wooden frame is about 20 cm deep and 30 to 50 cm in diameter. The heads, of goatskin, are secured by wooden hoops and laced with leather thongs in a V pattern. The drum contains rudrakshaya seeds that rattle when it is beaten. It is held by a wooden handle in the shape of a ritual dagger, carved and heavily decorated with cosmic symbols. The drum is required for therapeutic and divinatory rites performed by shamans of various ethnic groups. The shaman holds the handle of the drum in his left hand, with the frame of the drum level with his face, and strikes the outer head with an S-curved cane held in his right hand. In West Nepal a different shaman drum has the same name; this single-headed frame drum has a cross-shaped handle inside the frame and symbolic metal decorations attached to the frame....

Article

Alan R. Thrasher

Bronze clapperless bells associated primarily with Chinese Buddhist temples. They are commonly called zhong, though properly fanzhong (‘Buddhist bells’). Most are large bells, with circular cross-section, moderately convex profile, and a dome-shaped crown typically smaller than the rim, which is often waved or scalloped. The fanzhong is suspended vertically from a heavy beam or frame by a decorated loop on its crown. It is struck by a thick, horizontally suspended post which is swung against the bell. Dating from about the 6th century ce or earlier, fanzhong of less than 1 metre tall gradually increased in size during the imperial period. A 14th-century fanzhong is more than 2 metres tall, with a rim diameter of 1.3 metres. The largest of all Chinese bells, an early 15th-century bell hung in the Beijing Bell Tower is about 7 metres tall, with a rim diameter of about 3 metres. It is inscribed with Buddhist sutras. Buddhist bells are used in signaling, marking times of the day and for worship purposes. (For bibliography see zhong.)...

Article

Gshang  

Mireille Helffer

Tibetan shallow bell, sounded by Bön-po monks and by certain mediums. It has an internal clapper and a widely flared mouth, and somewhat resembles a small, thick cymbal to which a clapper has been added. Various types of gshang are distinguished by their sizes, which range from about 7 to 20 cm in diameter. A leather handle passes through a central hole in the top of the dome ( pho-brang) and is affixed to a wooden clapper that hangs inside the bell. The inside is often decorated with the five syllables of the Bön-po mantra: am, om, hum, ram, and dza. When used alone the instrument is held in the right hand; when played with a drum (rnga or damaru) it is held in the left. In either case it is sounded with an upward movement.

M. Helffer: Mchod-rol. Les instruments de la musique tibétaine (Paris, 1994)....

Article

Sara Black Brown

A Vaishnava Hindu devotional movement dedicated to the worship of Krishna and known for the ecstatic singing of kirtan. The movement, formally known as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), was established in New York by Bengali guru A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1966 and has since attained international popularity. The Hare Krishna movement traces its spiritual lineage to the 15th-century Indian saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who began the performance of kirtan as it was later practiced in ISKCON.

Kirtan is a process of singing scriptural texts and mantras as a form of congregational call-and-response music. Hare Krishnas emphasize chanting the Maha Mantra, a petition to Hari, or Vishnu, and his avatars Krishna and Rama. Krishna devotees also interpret the name “Hare” as a name for Krishna’s beloved Radha. Because the mantra is composed of names for Krishna it serves as the predominant form of worship and means of salvation: “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.” According to ISKCON belief, the presence of Krishna is contained in the sound of his name, and the process of chanting brings the singer into the presence of the divine. Because the holy names are believed to carry Krishna’s presence, special emphasis is placed on chanting loudly so that those within earshot may also benefit. The singing of the mantra as kirtan is extremely prevalent in Hare Krishna practice, both as an act of worship unto itself and as an accompaniment to other ritual and festival activities....

Article

Andrew C. McGraw

Priests’ bell of Siberut island, Mentawai, Indonesia. Traditional jejeneng accompany chant and dance and are made of buffalo horn with a clapper either of bamboo or the pincers of a crab. Nowadays priests often use metal bells, also called lonceng, to accompany urai kerei (shaman’s song). The bells are thought to encourage a sick person’s spirit to return to its body....

Article

Kading  

Article

Kochnak  

Jonathan McCollum

[gochnag]

Handheld percussion bar of Armenia. It was similar to the semantron and was made of wood or iron, but is now obsolete. It was used to signal the hours of prayer and summon the faithful to church. The kochnak was approximately one metre long and could be either straight or semi-circular. When not in use it was suspended by chains at the top of the church interior....

Article

Christian Thodberg

[kondakion] (Gk.: ‘scroll’)

A liturgical poem sung mainly at Orthros in the Byzantine rite. One of the two most important poetic forms in medieval Byzantine religious poetry (the other being the kanōn), the kontakion most likely originated in Byzantium, although a strong Syrian influence is evident, particularly the poetry of Ephrem Syrus (cf Petersen, 1985). It is a kind of poetic homily whose narrative and dramatic content greatly influenced later Byzantine poetry. According to legend, the Blessed Virgin Mary gave to Romanos, a notable 6th-century hymn writer and composer, a scroll on which he wrote, by divine inspiration, a Christmas kontakion, Hē parthenos sēmeron (‘Today the Virgin’).

Introduced into the Byzantine Hours during the 6th century, the kontakion was originally part of the Constantinopolitan ‘cathedral’ vigil that later came to be incorporated into Orthros (see Lingas). In its full form it consisted of an initial strophe – the prooimion or koukoulion – followed by some 18 to 30 strophes – the ...

Article

Article

Muyu  

Alan R. Thrasher

(‘wooden fish’)

Woodblockof the Han Chinese, used primarily to accompany Buddhist chant. It is carved from a block of mulberry, camphor, or other wood in the abstract shape of a fish—squat and wedge-shaped—often with stylized tail and scales. Its hollowed interior and frontal slit (extending 180° around the instrument) form the mouth. The instrument is usually lacquered red, but occasionally left unlacquered. It is struck with a padded or unpadded beater. Length and width range from about 5 to 60 cm, 7 to 16 cm being normal, but examples as large as 85 cm are found in some temples. Small muyu are carried in one hand during processions, while larger instruments rest on cushions set on special tables. At Buddhist temples in Beijing, Xiamen, and elsewhere, elongated carved representations of fish (100 cm long or longer) are suspended near the entrance and used for signalling.

The muyu was first described in the ...

Article

Peter Jeffery

(Gk.: ‘eightfold sound’)

The system of the eight ‘church modes’ (the ‘musical’ oktōēchos) in the medieval Latin, Byzantine, Slavonic, Syrian, Armenian and Georgian repertories of Christian liturgical chant. Also, by association, the practice of grouping chants by mode (the ‘calendric’ oktōēchos) so that they can be sung in numerical order over a period of time, usually one mode per week, proceeding to the next higher number each Sunday and beginning with the 1st mode again when the 8th is completed. And a book (the ‘liturgical’ oktōēchos) in which the chant texts are grouped by mode in numerical order to facilitate performance according to the calendric oktōēchos (see Liturgy and liturgical books, §IV, 3, (viii)); books also exist in which chants are arranged according to mode but without regard to a calendar, notably the Western Tonary and the Byzantine Heirmologion).

Although many theories regarding the origins of the eight-mode system have been proposed, the earliest genuine evidence of the musical ...

Article

Article

John Boe

[Lord’s Prayer]

The prayer that Christ taught his disciples (Matthew vi.9–13; Luke xi.2–4). Variants of the biblical texts reflect early Aramaic-Syriac and Greek oral traditions as well as liturgical and semi-liturgical accretions. The liturgical Latin text was established within the Roman rite by the early 7th century; Pope Gregory I moved it from its place after the Fraction in the Mass to its present position after the Eucharistic Prayer, as in the Eastern rites. In Gregory’s reform it was recited only by the celebrant. The exordium introducing the prayer and a simple form of the concluding embolism (beginning ‘Libera nos quesumus domine ab omnibus malis’) may also date from Gregory’s time; but similar accretions are found in Eastern and in other Latin rites (see Boe, 1998). The prayer also originally concluded each service of the Divine Office, where it was prayed silently, the officiant raising his voice only at the phrase ‘Et ne nos inducas in temptationem’ so that all might answer ‘Sed libera nos a malo’; but according to the Rule of St Benedict the prayer was to be sung aloud at the end of Lauds and Vespers by the senior monk present....

Article

Terry E. Miller

[bin bādy]

In Cambodia, the primary classical ensemble played at court ceremonies, some Buddhist festivals, to accompany the large shadow theatre, masked drama, and dance drama. Both the ensemble and its name are closely related to similar ensembles in Thailand (piphat) and Laos (sep nyai/piphat). Ensembles vary in size from minimal (five instruments) to large. A basic ensemble consists of ...