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Brian Diettrich


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 ...


Abrahams, Chris(topher)  

John Shand

(b Oamaru, New Zealand, April 9, 1961). Australian keyboard player. Having moved with his family to Australia in 1964 he began taking piano lessons at the age of five; his early inspirations included the boogie-woogie pianists and Teddy Wilson. He took Australian citizenship in 1975. During high school he heard Red Garland on a recording by Miles Davis, which led him to contemporary jazz. He attended the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music, where he formed The Benders with fellow students Dale Barlow, Lloyd Swanton, and the drummer Andrew Gander; the quartet recorded three albums in the first half of the 1980s. Abrahams was also involved with an improvised music collective, the Keys Music Association, which saw the start of an important association with Mark Simmonds. With the saxophonist Jason Morphett having replaced Barlow, The Benders recorded two more albums (1983, 1985), then toured India, Europe, and Cuba before disbanding. In those same years Abrahams recorded as an unaccompanied soloist, and in ...


Abuk waak  

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....



Robert Walser

Australian heavy metal band. Formed in Sydney in 1973 by the brothers Angus Young (b Glasgow, Scotland, 31 March 1955; guitar) and Malcolm Young (b Glasgow, Scotland, 6 Jan 1953; d Elizabeth Bay, Australia, 18 Nov 2017; guitar), its best-known line-up stabilized in 1975 with Mark Evans (b Melbourne, 2 March 1956; bass), Phil Rudd (b Melbourne, 19 May 1954; drums), and Bon Scott (Ron Belford Scott; b Kirriemuir, Scotland, 9 July 1946; d East Dulwich, London, 19 Feb 1980; vocals). Cliff Williams (b 14 Dec 1949) replaced Evans in 1977, and upon Scott’s death, he was replaced by Brian Johnson (b 5 Oct 1947). By 1976, they were Australia’s leading rock band and decided to move to London in the hope of broader success, which they achieved in the UK and the USA by the end of the decade. They are known for crude, rowdy, and sometimes juvenile lyrics that celebrate excess, transgression, and communal bonding, delivered through very hoarse, sometimes screaming, vocals. Their music is blues-based, displaying few of the Baroque influences that strongly affected most heavy metal bands. It is usually built around riffs that are primarily chordal and rhythmic rather than melodic. Their ensemble work is both forceful and precise, featuring effective use of the two guitars for complementary rhythm parts. Their most popular and critically respected album is ...


Acheson, Merv(yn Fletcher)  

Bruce Johnson

(bSydney, March 31, 1922; dSydney, Aug 11, 1987). Australiansaxophonist, clarinetist, and bandleader. He began to play saxophone in 1933 and joined George Fuller before working as a freelance musician and in wartime entertainment units. Following the war he performed in nightclubs and pit orchestras, and in coffee lounges in Melbourne (1948), then worked in Sydney with the trombonist George Trevare and as a freelance musician. From 1955 he led bands in Sydney hotels, among them the Criterion (1958–65), the Windsor Castle, and the Bellevue. Later he was a member of bands led by Dick Hughes (1979–85) and Alan Geddes (1984–6) and led his own group at the Canberra Hotel in Paddington, Sydney. He retired in 1986 because of ill-health. Acheson’s playing, which was chiefly in dixieland and swing styles, is heard to advantage on Merv Acheson 60th Birthday Concert...


Adelaide (i)  

Robyn Holmes and Peter Campbell

City in Australia. Unlike Australian convict settlements, the city (the capital of South Australia) was founded, in 1836, through planned colonization and subsidized migration. Dependence on a pastoral and mining economy meant that the city’s prosperity was subject to the fluctuating seasons, the Victorian goldrush and the commercial interests of rival cities. 19th-century migration added a distinct ethnic mix to the transplanted British society, most notably the German communities who established wine-making regions. European and Asian migration after World War II continued this trend, and national clubs and cultural organizations preserve many diverse music and dance traditions. The Aboriginal population in South Australia (estimated at 12,000 before colonization) was decimated and pushed into arid lands during the 19th century, but extensive research in Aboriginal culture and special initiatives such as the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music, founded at the University of Adelaide by ethnomusicologist Catherine J. Ellis in 1975...



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....


Agnew, Roy  

Christine Logan

[Robert] (Ewing)

(b Sydney, Aug 23, 1891; d Sydney, Nov 12, 1944). Australian composer and pianist. He studied the piano in Sydney with Daisy Miller, Sydney Moss and Emanuel de Beaupuis and composition briefly with Alfred Hill at the NSW Conservatorium. From 1920 Agnew's pieces were performed by several eminent pianists, including Moiseiwitsch, Murdoch and Gieseking. Working in London from 1923 to 1928, Agnew studied composition and orchestration with Gerrard Williams. The Fantasie Sonata was given its première there by Murdoch in 1927 and, on his return to Sydney in 1928, the tone poem The Breaking of the Drought was conducted by Hill. From 1928 to 1935 Agnew performed and broadcast both in Australia and Britain, while from 1935 onwards he taught the piano, composition and a class entitled ‘General Interpretation and the Art of Pedalling’ privately in Sydney. For five years from 1938 Agnew presented a weekly radio programme for the ABC in which he introduced a wide spectrum of 20th-century music, including his own. In ...


Ahern, David  

Ernie Gallagher


(b Sydney, Nov 2, 1947; d Sydney, Jan 31, 1988). Australian composer. He studied with Butterley and Meale, and began composing at a young age, writing many works, the most significant being After Mallarmé (1966). Following this came Music for Nine and Ned Kelly Music, the latter representing a break with European tradition. During the late 1960s and the 1970s Ahern continued to challenge the Sydney music establishment with his unconventional works and uncompromisingly avant-garde ideals.

In 1968 Ahern studied with Stockhausen, gaining a diploma in new music from the Rheinische Musikschule in Cologne and attending the Darmstadt summer course. On returning to Australia, he completed his next work, Journal (1969), commissioned for Australia’s bicentenary. In 1969 Ahern returned to Germany to work as Stockhausen’s assistant. He then travelled to London where he was included in the early concerts of Cardew’s newly formed Scratch Orchestra....



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 ...



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....


Albert (ii)  

Kenneth R. Snell

Australian firm of publishers. It was started about 1890 in Sydney when Jacques Albert (b Fribourg, 1850; d at sea, 1914) began importing violins. In 1894 he was joined by his son Michel François [Frank] (1874–1962), who became sole proprietor in 1896. He continued to trade as J. Albert & Son and in the early 1900s negotiated Australian publishing rights with overseas music houses for both the American Annuals and Sixpenny Pops series. The firm extended its merchandise to orchestral and brass band instruments but sold this stock in 1932 to Allan’s in Melbourne. Shortly afterwards, J. Albert & Son Pty Ltd was formed to control the music publishing interests of the family. About 1970 the firm began the Albert Edition catalogue of predominantly Australian classical compositions, which now exceeds 500 titles and includes works by Ross Edwards, Margaret Sutherland, Wesley-Smith and Butterley. Alexis François Albert (...


Alda [Davies], Frances  

Alan Blyth


(b Christchurch, May 31, 1883; d Venice, Sept 18, 1952). New Zealand soprano. After the death of her parents, she was brought up by her maternal grandparents in Australia. Her first engagements were in light opera at Melbourne. She then went to Paris and studied with Marchesi, who suggested that she adopt the name Alda; she also arranged Alda’s debut as Manon at the Opéra-Comique in 1904. After successful appearances at the Monnaie in Brussels (1905), Covent Garden (1906) and La Scala (1908), where she met Toscanini and Gatti-Cassazza, she was engaged by the Metropolitan (début, December 1908), where she sang until her retirement in 1930. In 1908 Gatti-Cassazza left La Scala to become director of the Metropolitan; he married Alda in 1910. Her pure, lyrical voice, technically almost faultless, was ideally suited to such roles as Gilda, Violetta, Desdemona, Manon (Massenet), Louise, Mimi and Cio-Cio-San. She created the leading soprano roles in Damrosch’s ...



Laurence Libin

Keyboard percussion instrument invented by the Australian composer and instrument maker Moya Henderson (b Quirindi, New South Wales, 2 Aug 1941) and the acoustician Neville Fletcher. In 1976 the German sculptor Helfried Hagenberg commissioned Henderson to compose a work to be played on a sculpture he had made from 27 triangles. This project led Henderson to investigate the musical potential of large triangles, and supported by grants from the Federal Department of Science and Technology, the A.S. White Trust, and the Myer Foundation, she devised a prototype alemba (the name comes from ‘alembic’), which was introduced in 1983. A CSIRO Artist-in-Residence Fellowship in 1986 enabled Henderson to fine-tune a bass alemba of one-octave range, and since then the Sydney Symphony Orchestra has used treble (two-and-one-half-octave range) and bass instruments as a substitute for bells in performances of music by Berlioz and Janacek.

In the alemba, triangles or similar bent-rod idiophones are coupled to resonators that enhance the lower vibrational modes; early models use a cord to couple the vibrator to a membrane closing the end of a tuned metal tube. In ...


Allman, Robert  

Roger Covell

(b Melbourne, June 8, 1927). Australian baritone . He began his career with Gertrude Johnson’s National Theatre Movement. He left Australia in 1954 for further study in Paris and worked at Covent Garden from 1956; in 1959 he moved to Germany, where he was based for the next decade, appearing in Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin and Munich, and becoming a principal baritone at Cologne until ...


Ambarchi, Oren  

Roger T. Dean

(b Sydney, May 4, 1969). Australian guitarist. He first played drums, but while a rabbinical student, influenced by a mixture of Jewish mystical components and the music of John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, and others, he changed to guitar. He performed in particular with Rob Avenaim (percussion, electronics, sampling), for example in the rock-noise group Phlegm (formed 1993), and also with the pianist Max Lyandvert in Ear Rational Music. The latter group involved Eddie Bronson (a member of the earlier and influential band Free Kata), whom Ambarchi had met through his rabbinical studies and who had been another early influence. From 1994 Ambarchi coordinated a series of improvising large ensembles, often based on John Zorn’s conceptual “game” piece Cobra. Following a series of small-scale recordings, often involving studio manipulation of their playing, he released a major work with Avenaim, The Alter Rebbe’s Nigun (1998). In the late 1990s he focused intensively on unaccompanied solo performance and made a series of recordings on European labels, mainly recorded in real-time (rather than involving studio manipulation), and with analogue rather than computer processing. He uses an array of effects units linked to create varied timbres....


Anderson, Barry  

Stephen Montague

(Michael Gordon)

(b Stratford, NZ, Feb 22, 1935; d Paris, May 27, 1987). British composer of New Zealand birth. He went to England at the age of 17 to study the piano at the RAM (1952–6). He remained in the UK and in 1969 began teaching at Morley College, London, where he became interested in live electronics and the work of Stockhausen. In 1973 he formed the West Square Electronic Music Ensemble (1973–87) from students at Morley, and in 1975 it gave its first professional performance at St John’s, Smith Square. In 1979 he co-founded the Electro-Acoustic Music Association of Great Britain (now Sonic Arts Network) and became its first chairman. His music was influenced by the post-Webern aesthetic, particularly in the three Piano Pieces with live electronics, Colla voce and Arc. As a composer Anderson was largely self-taught; this, along with his early lack of confidence as a New Zealander abroad, made him sometimes appear more at ease helping other composers realize their works than composing his own. He made six elaborate realizations of Stockhausen’s ...


Anderson, Gordon A(thol)  

Werner Gallusser

revised by Thomas B. Payne

(b Melbourne, May 1, 1929; d Armidale, June 30, 1981). Australian musicologist. He studied at the University of Adelaide under John Bishop, J.B. Peters and Andrew McCredie (BMus 1958, BMus Hons 1969, MMus 1970, DMus 1977). His scholarly activity concentrated on the music of the 13th century, particularly that of Notre Dame, and he produced a large body of articles and editions from 1969 to 1981. From 1970 to 1972 he was a research fellow at the Flinders University, Adelaide, and in 1973 he took up a lectureship in music at the University of New England, Armidale. Although he lived far from original sources and was able to visit Europe only once, he made a significant contribution to his field. Anderson played an important part in the establishment of an Australian Musicological Commission.

‘Mode and Change of Mode in Notre Dame Conductus’, AcM , 40 (1968), 92–114 ‘A New Look at an Old Motet’, ...


Angel, Marie  

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Pinnaroo, South Australia, July 30, 1953). Australian soprano . After appearing in Australia she joined Opera Factory Zürich, with whom she made her London début in 1980 as Galatea. With Opera Factory London (1982–92) she has sung Pretty Polly (Punch and Judy), Lucy (The Beggar’s Opera), Denise (The Knot Garden), Juno and Callisto, Gluck’s Iphigenia, Fiordiligi, Donna Anna, Countess Almaviva and Poppaea, and took part in the première of Osborne’s Hell’s Angels (1986). For ENO she sang Monteverdi’s Eurydice and Hope (1983) and Queen Tye (Akhnaten), which she had already sung at Houston and for New York City Opera (1984), and created Oracle of the Dead/Hecate in The Mask of Orpheus (1986). She sang the Queen of Night for WNO (1986), Musetta for Opera North (1988) and Jo Ann in Tippett’s ...



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...