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date: 20 October 2020

Musical bow [harp bow] (Fr. arc musical, arc sonore; Ger. Musikbogen; It. arco sonore; Sp. arco musical)locked

  • David K. Rycroft


[harp bow] (Fr. arc musical, arc sonore; Ger. Musikbogen; It. arco sonore; Sp. arco musical)

A bow-shaped chordophone consisting solely of a flexible stave, curved by the tension of a string (or strings) stretched between its ends, any associated resonator being either unattached, or detachable without destroying the sound-producing apparatus ( see Khoikhoi music and South Africa, Republic of, fig. ). Hornbostel and Sachs classified both the musical bow and the ‘stick zither’ (which has a rigid stave) as types of bar zither ( see Chordophone ).

The musical bow, in various forms, is widely distributed in Africa, America, Oceania, parts of Asia and formerly to a small extent in Europe (East Prussia, the Netherlands, Italy, Latvia and Lithuania). It is frequently played recreationally as a solo instrument or (with a resonator) for song accompaniment, and in some areas is important in magic or religion. In the cave Les Trois Frères in south-western France a rock painting from c15,000 bce shows musical use of a bow in a religious ceremony....

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