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Article

Aangún  

Brian Diettrich

[angun]

Nose flute from the islands of Chuuk, Micronesia. It is made from bamboo or mangrove root. Similar bamboo nose flutes have been documented for the atolls surrounding Chuuk, with instruments reported in the Mortlock Islands (there called áttik), as well as on Pollap, Polowat (anin), Houk (likáttik), and Satawal (janil). All these flutes are obsolete. In Chuuk the mangrove flute was made by removing the core from an aerial root of the mangrove tree, then inserting a plug of coconut meat with a small hole made in the centre in one end of the tube as the blow-hole. The bamboo flute was made from a single length of cane with the blowing end fitted like the mangrove flute. Museum specimens range in length from 18 to 87 cm, with an average diameter of 1.5 cm. These examples and historical reports represent instruments with one to three fingerholes as well as overtone flutes without fingerholes. Chuukese men played the melodies of ...

Article

Gordon D. Spearritt

Water drum of the Iatmul people, Papua New Guinea. It is made of hardwood, similar in shape to an hourglass drum, but lacks a membrane and has a projecting handle at the top, carved as the tail of a crocodile. When plunged into a water-filled pit, it produces sound as it breaks the surface, the sound representing the voice of an ancestor such as a crocodile. It is used mostly in or near ceremonial houses at initiation ceremonies. The term ‘abuk waak’ also refers to a senior age grade among Iatmul men and to the crocodile procession that precedes the initiation ceremony. Another water drum, the kamikaula, is in the shape of an upturned dish; during initiation, pairs of them are dropped upside down using ropes into a pit which might or might not contain water. Such water drums appear to be unique to the Middle Sepik region....

Article

Ae-be  

Raymond Ammann

[Drehu: itra pë; Iaaï: bwinj-bet]

Idiophone of the Loyalty Islands (off New Caledonia). It joins most of the choral singing that accompanies dances. The names of the instrument reflect ideas associated with unity or being struck. It is a disc-shaped parcel, 20 to 30 cm in diameter and 10 to 15 cm thick, typically of coconut fibres covered by leaves of the tree Macaranga vedeliana. Other plant materials can be used as well. A string is affixed firstly on top of the bundle to hold the parcel together. As more leaves are added, the string will be passed enough times around the parcel to hold all the leaves tightly. Lastly a separate string goes around the parcel’s sides. In the centre of the upper side a sling is formed of the string, so that the musician can pass a finger through it to hold the instrument while it is struck with the palm of the other hand. Sometimes it is also struck against the thigh. The instrument is played by men and women....

Article

Aip  

Brian Diettrich

An hourglass-shaped, single-headed drum from the island of Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. The body was made from breadfruit tree wood (Artocarpus altilis) or from the local tree topwuk (Premna gaudichaudii), and the head from shark or ray skin, or ray, or possibly a fish bladder. Drums were formerly of great cultural significance on the island; they were given proper names, associated with paramount chiefs, and played and cared for by men assigned the honorary title kiroun aip (keeper-of-the-drum). Men beat the drums by hand or using a stick fashioned from hibiscus, during feasts, contexts of warfare, and occasions involving paramount chiefs. The last detailed documentation of the aip on the island dates from 1910. A few historical examples exist in museums. Pohnpeians reconstructed one drum in 1976 that had been the only example on the island, but in 2011 the islanders undertook a new reconstruction project. During the early 20th century, drums similar to the ...

Article

Aje  

Barbara B. Smith

revised by Jessica A. Schwartz

[adja, adscha, āži]

Single-headed Hourglass drum of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia. Most descriptions indicate that it was introduced from Melanesia, possibly through Pohnpei, where the Aip resembles it in structure. The long-waisted body (about 65 cm tall, diameter at the ends 20 cm) is crafted from breadfruit wood. The head, made from the inner lining of the stomach or bladder of a shark, is tied over one end by a cord of fibrous plant material. The drum is held on the lap or under the left arm. Finger and hand strokes, and playing positions (centre or rim), are differentiated. One, two, or three aje were played, almost exclusively by women, to accompany chanting or singing, sometimes with dance or pantomime. The aje was also beaten by women as a signal, to encourage men during battle, and to keep canoes together during nighttime voyages. Christian missionary intervention threatened the aje with extinction after the early 20th century, when no extant examples were known in the Marshalls....

Article

Mervyn McLean

Rudimentary xylophone of Blanche Bay, New Britain, Papua New Guinea. It consists of two pieces of hardwood with fire-toughened ends, 75 to l m long, about 15 cm wide, flat, and unequal in length. The player first makes a hole (resonator) in the sand over which he sits with his legs apart. He then places the two sticks across his thighs and plays upon them with two short wooden sticks.

Angramut is also the local term for the garamut (slit drum) in Blanche Bay, on the Gazelle Peninsula of New Britain. By the 1880s it was rarely seen. It was about 1 m long, 40 to 50 cm wide, with handles on the side, and was usually painted red or white. A taboo instrument, kept in the possession of chieftains, it was used to accompany dirges, signal deaths, and give calls to battle or festivities.

O. Finsch: Ethnologische Erfahrungen und Beiegstücke aus der Südsee...

Article

Don Niles

Concussion (dilating or retreating) reed pipe of the Keraki (Nambu) people of Papua New Guinea. A 60-cm-long bamboo tube is closed at one end by a node and is open at the other. From the open end, a slit is made longitudinally down to the node. The player puts his mouth completely over the open end and blows, causing the split sides to vibrate and emit a harsh, shrill sound. Ari are always blown rapidly in pairs, pitched about a 3rd apart, and in alternation. The two players face each other as they dance and play, breathing before each note. About five or six pairs play together. Women were said to hide in their houses at the sound; the low- and high-pitched ari were considered mother/wife and child/daughter, respectively, of the moiank bullroarer. Although ari and moiank were both esoteric instruments of Keraki male initiation, they were independent of each other. The Marind ...

Article

Asis  

Article

Raymond Ammann

Panpipe ensemble of northern Malaita, Solomon Islands. The instruments have in general ten tubes arranged in raft form with the longest measuring approximately 40 cm. Half of the instruments (called buli) have 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th etc. degrees of the equiheptatonic scale and the remainder (na’o) 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th etc. degrees; they play two- and four-part polyphony. Until the 1970s the To’abaita people used panpipes up to 96 cm long; other groups had already given up such large instruments. The musicians are positioned in two rows with the two instruments forming the complete equiheptatonic scale facing one another.

The similar ‘au keto ensemble of the ‘Are’are, Kwarekwareo, and Kwaoi peoples of northern Malaita has six panpipes of different sizes, two each of five, six, and seven tubes, which perform three-part polyphony doubled at the octave, using an equiheptatonic scale divided between pairs of instruments. The ensemble plays on ceremonial occasions but never accompanies dancing. The musicians form a circle looking towards the centre and the instruments tuned the same way are positioned side by side, the lower-octave instrument on the right....

Article

Mervyn McLean

(‘ground bamboo’)

Stamping tube set of the ‘Are’are people of Malaita, Solomon Islands. Among the neighbouring Kwarekwareo they are called ‘au ni wado. A set consists of ten bamboo tubes 13 to 46 cm long, closed by a node at the lower end. Unlike the kiro stamping tubes which accompany singing, they are carefully tuned to a pentatonic scale. A single musician sits on the ground or on a low seat, legs spread. On the ground between his thighs he places a stone against which he strikes the tubes of his choice, held four in each hand. Between the two largest toes of each foot he wedges one of the two remaining tubes, which he strikes on smaller stones, one by each foot. Alternatively the tubes may be shared among two or three musicians, in which case the ensemble may increase to 12 with each player holding two tubes in each hand. The simultaneous and alternate striking of the tubes produces a sound like a xylophone....

Article

Jeremy Montagu

Article

Balum  

Bullroarer of the Bukaua, Yabem, and other peoples, Huon Gulf, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea. The term is also used for a cult associated with secret flutes.

A.C. Haddon: ‘Migration of Cultures in British New Guinea’, Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, vol.50 (July–Dec 1920), 237–80....

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Australian piano firm founded by Octavius Beale (b Mountmellick, Co. Laois, Ireland, 23 Feb 1850; d Stroud, New South Wales, Australia, 16 Dec 1930). Beale came to Australia with his family in 1854. Having been sent back to Ireland for schooling, he returned and was working in a hardware store in Melbourne at age 16. Later he became a partner with Hugo Wertheim in a hardware business that imported sewing machines and German upright pianos. In 1884 he moved to Sydney to set up Beale & Co. Ltd, importing pianos labelled ‘Hapsburg Beale’. In 1893, in Sydney, he established the first piano factory in Australia. In 1902 he opened a new factory at 47 Trafalgar St, Annandale, which became the largest piano factory in the southern hemisphere, employing more than 300 skilled workmen by 1907. The firm also made sewing machines and exported veneers.

Beale & Co. emphasised that their pianos were built to withstand hostile climates and kept quality high and costs low through the use of local skilled labour, Australian timbre, and making most components on site. They promoted the tuning stability and longevity of pianos with their ‘all-iron tuning system’, also known as the Beale–Vader tuning system, patented in ...

Article

Bekuru  

Regis Stella

Term for both an idioglot bamboo jew’s harp (susap) and a musical bow of the Banoni people, Papua New Guinea. As elsewhere in Bougainville, the jew’s harp is a men’s instrument, the mouth bow a women’s. Men apply love magic to the jew’s harp to attract women. It is activated by jerking a string so that the player’s thumb strikes the base of the tongue. In a story a man named Marere learned to play it from a wild man. Women were so attracted to the sound that they would have sex with Marere instead of going fishing. Trying to escape from the women’s husbands, Marere dropped the instrument and turned into a stone; now other men can play the bekuru. The women’s musical bow, now obsolete, consisted of a string stretched between two ends of a strip of bamboo, about 45 cm long.

R. Stella: Forms and Styles of Traditional Banoni Music...

Article

[belémban-bátchot]

Obsolete bamboo jews harp of the Chamorro people of Guam in the Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia. It took the form of a bamboo stick in which a tongue was cut. The instrument was placed in the half-open mouth and its tongue set in motion by a finger.

G. Fritz...

Article

Raymond F. Kennedy

[belémban-túyan, belenbaotuyan]

Musical bow of the Chamorro of the Mariana Islands, Micronesia. It is especially important on the island of Guam where it has become a symbol of early Chamorro culture. The bent stick of the belembau tuyan, made of a supple native wood (usually hibiscus), is about 2 metres long. A string made from wild pineapple fibre (wire in later forms) is stretched along the stick and fastened to it at both ends. A half gourd (or two half coconut-shells, one inside the other) is attached, opening outward, part way between the ends of the stick on the side opposite the string. The player reclines or sits, the gourd resting against his stomach, and fingers the string with his left hand while striking it with a piece of sword-grass held in his right hand (see illustration). When a wire string is used, protective cylinders are worn on the fingers of the left hand. Freely translated, ...

Article

Michael Webb

(Tok Pisin for ‘bamboo band’).

Both a struck aerophone (alternatively, an idiophone) comprising a set of three or five tuned bamboo tubes, and the name for an ensemble including these instruments. It was featured in popular music in the Solomon Islands (its place of origin) and parts of Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu for several decades from the 1970s. The primary instrument is derived from the handheld tuned stamping tube, and comprises a set of 7- to 9-cm-diameter bamboos, open at both ends and graduated in lengths of up to 2 metres, arranged in raft form. A band will include at least three sets; each set is commonly tuned (to a guitar) 1–3–5–6–8 (or 1–3–5), usually in a low register, to sound one of the three primary chords in a given key. With flexible paddles players vigorously slap in succession one open end of each bamboo in a boogie-woogie rhythmic-melodic pattern that outlines a triad; sets alternate according to changes in harmony. The ensemble includes guitars and accompanies harmonized singing. A related Solomon Islands ensemble without guitars yet employing Westernized tuning, involves multiple sets of panpipes, ‘pantrumpets’, and the rack-mounted bass ...

Article

Article

Bora  

Bullroarer of the Borli people, Northern Province, Papua New Guinea. It is used during initiations and is represented to women and the uninitiated as the voice of evil spirits.

E.W. Chinnery: ‘Notes on the Natives of South Bougainville and Mortlock (Tahu)’, Territory of New Guinea Anthropological Report (1931) no.5, pp.115–7....

Article

Botgef  

Raymond Ammann

Panpipe of the island of Espíritu Santo in Vanuatu. It has six to eight graduated bamboo tubes and is used in ensemble for polyphonic performance. The names of the tubes correspond to the members of a family. For example, in the Morouas language the longest tube is called tinan (mother), the second longest ...