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 [gravikord.com] ;


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] ;

Dhodro Banam

Name: Dhodro Banam.
Type: Chordophones > Lyres > Double > Chested > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.21.71
Country: India.
Region: South Asia.

Description: The single-stringed dhodro Banam comes from the Indigenous Santal tribal community of Central India. It is found particularly in Orissa. The Phet Banam is a recent development of the dhodro banam although having three to four strings. The Phet banam closely resembles the Nepalese Sarinda although it has a narrow body and wider chest cavities [sound holes].

Construction: The modern form called the Phet Banam and wide “chest cavities” functioning as a sound hole. The neck and body are carved from a single piece of wood. Both the dhodro banam and phet banam have a membrane usually of animal hide stretched over the sound cavity.

Citations: Bibliography: Sachs, Curt. Die Musikinstrumente Indiens und Indonesiens, Berlin & Leipzig, 1923 ; Shirali, Vishnudass Sargam. An Introduction to Indian Music. New Delhi, 1977 ; Chattopadhyaya, Kamaladevi. Tribalism in India. New Delhi, 1978 ; Prasad, Onkar. Santal Music. New Delhi, 1985 ; <strong>Websites:</strong> Metmuseum.org [The Met:  Dhodro Banam photos] ; The Lutes of the Santal by Bengt Fosshag ; Dhodro Banam Performance  [Youtube] ;

Saw Duang

Name: Saw Duang.
Type: Chordophones > Spike > Fiddles > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.313.7
Country: Thailand.
Region: South East Asia.

Description: The saw duang [in Thai: ซอด้วง, pronounced in IPA sɔː dûəŋ ; in RTGS: so duang] it is a two-stringed instrument used in traditional Thai music. The saw duang and its closest relatives were adopted from instruments of Chinese origin. Hence they resemble the Huqin family of musical instruments as played in China.

Playing Techniques: The sound is produced by the bow made from horsetail hair which goes between the strings made from silk. The bow has to be tilted to switch from one string to another. Saw duang is light and played vertically on the lap. It creates a bright tone unlike the Saw u which produces a mellow sound.

Citations: Bibliography: Yupho, Dhanit 1987 ; Thai Musical Instruments – Bangkok: Fine Arts Department ; Tunmanukun, Theerapan 2007. Production Methods of Saw Duang – Bangkok: Chulalongkorn University ; Websites :

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