Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 15 December 2019


  • Gavin Webb


Bamboo duct flute of Ghana. Its name derives from the roots atente (the type of music played) and aben (Twi: ‘whistle’ or ‘horn’). The famous Ghanaian composer and teacher Ephraim Amu developed the modern atenteben in the mid-1940s, particularly by changing it from a transverse flute capable of playing only five notes to an end-blown vertical flute with a wooden block forming a duct just below a node. He added two fingerholes (making six fingerholes and one thumbhole) to facilitate playing a two-octave diatonic scale. The modern instrument, pitched in B♭ or C, is 40 or 35 cm long. In the late 1970s and early 1980s Nana Danso Abiam, director of the Pan African Orchestra, and Henaku-Pobi, former atenteben instructor at the University of Ghana, developed techniques to increase the melodic range of the instrument and perform chromatic scales in any key through cross-fingering, half-holing, and overblowing to achieve harmonics. The ...

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Please subscribe to access the full content.