Name: Gadulka.
Type: Chordophones > Lyres > Lyra > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.321.71
Country: Bulgaria.
Region: Balkans & South East Europe.

Description: The gadulka is a bowed instrument having three playing strings although has 11 additional sympathetic strings that resonate when the instrument is played. Resembling the Lyra Politica and Cretan Lyra in its appearance and over all sound. The Thracian gadulka is the largest the dobrujan gadulka is slightly smaller in size.

Gadulka Tunings
Dobrujan A’ / E’ / A’
Gabrovo or Balkan A’ / A / E’
Thracian Tuning A’ / E’ / D’


Citations: Bibliography: Stanley Sadie ~ New Grove Dictionary of Music Volume Two G-O page, 2 article by Vergilij Atannassov ;


Name: Rebec.
Type: Chordophones > Composite > Lyres > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.21.71
Country: Many.
Region: Western Europe.

Description: The rebec is a bowed stringed instrument of the medieval era and renaissance era.

History: Popular from the 13th to 16th centuries, the introduction of the rebec into Western Europe coincided with the Arabic conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. There is however evidence of the existence of bowed instruments in the 9th century in Eastern Europe. The Persian geographer of the 9th century Ibn Khurradadhbih cited the bowed Byzantine lira [or lūrā] as typical bowed instrument of the Byzantines and equivalent to the Arab rebab.

The rebec was adopted as a key instrument in Arab classical music and in Morocco it was used in the tradition of Arabic-Andalusian music, that had been kept alive by descendants of Muslims who left Spain as refugees following the Reconquista. The rebec also became a favourite instrument in the tea houses of the Ottoman Empire.

The rebec was first referred to by that name around the beginning of the 14th century, though a similar instrument, usually called a lira da braccio [arm lyre], had been played since around the 9th century. The name derives from the 15th century Middle French rebec, altered in an unexplained manner from the 13th century Old French ribabe, which in turn comes from the Arabic rebab. A distinguishing feature of the rebec is that the bowl [or body] of the instrument is carved from a solid piece of wood. This distinguishes it from the later period vielles and gambas known in the Renaissance.

Tuning: The number of strings on the rebec varies from 1 to 5, although three is the most common number. The strings are often tuned in fifths, although this tuning is not universal. The instrument was originally in the treble range, like the violin, but later larger versions were developed, so that by the 16th century composers were able to write pieces for consorts of rebecs, just as they did for consorts of viols.

In Use: In time, the viol came to replace the rebec, and the instrument was little used beyond the renaissance period. The instrument was used by dance masters until the 18th century, however, often being used for the same purpose as the kit, a small pocket-sized violin. The rebec also remained in use in folk music, especially in eastern Europe and Spain. Andalusi nubah, a genre of music from North Africa, often includes the rebec.

Citations: Bibliography: Margaret J. Kartomi, 1990 Farmer, Henry George, 1988; Historical facts for the Arabian Musical Influence, Ayer Publishing, p. 137, ISBN 0-405-08496-X; For a possible etymological link between Arabic rebab and French rebec see American Heritage Dictionary – Panum, Hortense 1939; The stringed instruments of the Middle Ages, their evolution and development, London : William Reeves, p. 434 Bachmann, Werner 1969; The origins of bowing and the development of bowed instruments up to the thirteenth century. Oxford University Press. p. 35. Harper, Douglas ;


Name: Bummadiya.
Type: Membranophones > Drums > Pot.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#:
Country: India.
Region: South Asia.

Description: The Bummadiya [in Sinhalese: බුම්මදියා bummadiyā] is a large clay drum of Sri Lanka. The drum is in a shape of a bulbous pot, with a short flaring neck to make a wide mouth. A skin from the spotted iguana [talagoya] is stretched from across the mouth. The original use of the bummadiya appears to been ritualistic. In that it was made before sowing paddy. Probably to propitiate the earth goddess.

Playing Techniques: A hemp sling is secured around both necks and slung across the player’s shoulder. So the drum hangs diagonally. One hand beats the uppermost neck where the skin is stretched over. While the other hand plays the back of the instrument. Thus creating a range of altering the pitch and tones.

Construction: At the base of the pot, a short straight neck is fashioned and left open.The total length of the drum varies from 38 cm to 51 cm.

Citations: Bibliography: S. Karpeles ~ The Potters Song, Festival Of The Arts ~ Third Anniversary Souvenir Colombo, 1931 ; H. Keuneman: Sinhalese Drums, Ceylon Observer Pictorial, 1960 ; M. D. Raghavan: Sinhala Natum: Dances of the Sinhalese Colombo, 1967 p. 180 ; Stanley Sadie ~ New Grove Dictionary Of Music Book A to F Vol. 1 Page 285 ;

Panchamukha Vadyam

Name: Panchamukha Vadyam.
Type: Membranophones > Drums > Pot.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#:
Country: India.
Region: South Asia.

Description: The Panchamukha Vadyam [Malayalam: പഞ്ചമുഖ വാദ്യം, Telugu: పంచముఖ వాద్యం, Tamil: பஞ்சமுக வாத்தியம்] is a drum from India. It is a metal drum with five faces [mukha], named after the faces of Siva: Sadyojatam, Isanam, Tatpurusham, Aghoram and Vamadevam. This drum is used in temple music.

Construction: The main body of the drum is constructed from bronze. From the top of the body there are five hollow cylinders attached. Each of the individual cylinders has a membrane or skin tied around it. The drum heads are approximately on the same level. In some specimens the central head is at slightly higher level than the peripheral heads.

Citations: Bibliography ; Deepti Omchery Bhalla. Vanishing Temple Arts : Temples of Kerala and Kanyaakumaari District. Publisher Shubhi Pub ; Websites ;


Name: Ghumat.
Type: Membranophones > Drums > Pot.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#:
Country: India.
Region: South Asia.

Description: The Ghumat [in Hindi: घुमट or in Kannada: ಘುಮೋಟ Ghumat] ghumot, gumot or ghumat is a membranophone instrument from Goa, India. The Ghumat is a percussion instrument that is formed from stretching a membrane over a ceramic vessel. The membrane is made usually from monitor lizard skin or leather.

Generally the ghumat is accompanied by ‘shamel’, another traditional instrument with wooden drum and goat leather mount. This instrument is still very popular amongst by the East Indian people.

Citations: Bibliography: K.S. Kothari: Indian Folk Musical Instruments New Delhi, India 1966 ; A.D. Ranade: Lokasangitasastra, Aurangabad 1975 ; Stanley Sadie ~ New Grove Dictionary of Music, Ghumat Page 44 ;

Slit Drums

A slit drum is a hollow percussion instrument. In spite of the name, it is not a true drum but an idiophone, usually carved or constructed from bamboo or wood into a box with one or more slits in the top. Most slit drums have one slit, though two and three slits [cut into the shape of an “H”] occur.

If the resultant tongues are different width or thicknesses, the drum will produce two different pitches. It is used throughout Africa, Southeast Asia and Oceania. In Africa such drums, strategically situated for optimal acoustic transmission e.g. along a river or valley, have been used for long-distance communication.

The closed ends of a slit drum form the shell which becomes the slit drum when the instrument is struck, usually with a mallet. The volume increases inside the resonance chamber when the sound is produced by the tongue through an open port.

If the instrument is in the correct proportions from tongue to body. The tongue drum will have the correct volume of airspace to complete one full sound wave for that particular pitch, the instrument will be more efficient and louder.

The people of Vanuatu cut a large log with “totem” type carvings on the outer surface and hollow out the center leaving only a slit down the front. This hollowed out log gives the deep resonance of drums when hit on the outside with sticks.


The musical bow [bowstring or string bow] is a simple string instrument used by a number of South African peoples, which is also found in the Americas via slave trade. It consists of a flexible, usually wooden, stick 1.5 feet to 10 feet [0.5 m to 3 m] long, and strung end to end with a taut cord, usually metal. It can be played with the hands or a wooden stick or branch. It is uncertain if the musical bow developed from the hunting bow, though the San or Bushmen people of the Kalahari Desert do convert their hunting bows to musical use. Types of bow include mouth-resonated string bow, earth-resonated string bow, and gourd-resonated string bow.


An idiochord [Latin: idio – “self”, chord – “string” also known as a drum zither] is a musical instrument in which the “string” of the instrument is made from the same material as its resonating body. Such instruments may be found in the Indian Ocean region, disparate regions of Africa and its diaspora, and parts of Europe and North America.

Bamboo is often a popular material for idiochords: a tube of bamboo may be slit to loosen portions of the husk at the middle, leaving them attached at the ends, and these “strings” may be raised up by inserting sticks to serve as bridges. Such bamboo idiochords include the valiha of Madagascar, the kulibit in the Philippines and Indonesia, and the karaniing of the Mon-Khmer “Orang Asli” tribal peoples of Malaysia. A massive one-string bamboo idiochord, the benta, is native to Jamaica and played with a slide, much like a diddley bow.

Idiochords are also made from other materials; cornstalk was used in North America to make the cornstalk fiddle, and the same instrument was played in the Carpathians and in Serbia as the gingara or djefje guslice. In Eastern New Guinea, one-string idiochords are made from the rib of the sago palm. The Warao people of Venezuela and Guyana create a monochord idiochord by raising up a fibre from an eta leaf.

Various idiochords are found in mainland Africa, including the akadingidi of Uganda and the one-string mpeli of the Mpyeme people of Congo and the Central African Republic.


Name: Gravikord.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Harp.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 323.5
Inventor: Bob Grawi, 1986.
Country: United States.
Region: North America.

Description: The gravikord is a modern invention being a 24-stringed, electric double bridge-harp invented by Robert Grawi. This invention draws its inspiration from the West African Kora. The intention was to allow for polyrhythmic techniques and cross rhythms to be performed. The gravikord is tuned identically the 21 stringed West African Kora.

Citations: Bibliography: Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments” Second Edition, edited by Laurence Libin, on page 469 ; Websites: Bob Grawi [] ;


Name: Qobuz.
Type: Chordophones > Lyres > Double-Chested > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.21.71
Country: Kazakhstan & Turkestan [Xinjiang China].
Region: Central Asia.

Description: The Qobuz [in Kazakh Cyrillic: қобыз] or qıl-qobız. The origins of this instrument are ancient. Traditionally they [Qobuz] were sacred instruments, owned by shamans and bakses who were traditional spiritual medics. According to legends, the qobuz and its music could banish evil spirits, sicknesses and death.

Development: In the Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan, during the 1930’s. Development of the Qopuz occurred in a form somewhat resembling a violin. In construction, appearance range and tuning. Four metal strings were added.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites: Kurmangazy Kazakh State Academic Orchestra [archived website] ;

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