Name: Berimbau.
Type: Chordophones > Bows > Idiochords > Mono > Percussive.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 311.121.21
Country: Brazil.
Region: South America.

Description: The berimbau [Portuguese pronunciation in IPA: beɾĩˈbaw] is a single-string percussion instrument. A musical bow from Brazil. Originally from Africa where it receives different names. The berimbau was eventually incorporated into the practice of the Afro-Brazilian martial art capoeira. The berimbau “the soul of capoeira” leads the capoeiristas movement in the roda.

The faster the berimbau is playing the faster the capoeirista moves in the game. The instrument is known for being the subject matter of a popular song by Brazilian guitarist Baden Powell, with lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes. The instrument is also a part of Candomblé-de-caboclo tradition.

History: The origins of the berimbau have yet been fully researched. Though the consensus of its origins point to Africa as there are no known musical bows played among the Indigenous, Brazilians and Europeans. By the twentieth century, the instrument was with the jogo de capoeira [game of capoeira] which had come to be known as the berimbau, a Portuguese misnomer. The Portuguese used this word for their musical instrument the guimbarde also known as a jaw-harp.

As the jaw-harp and hungu shared some similarities when the latter was held in the mouth, the Portuguese referred to it as berimbau, akin to how the African lamellophone came to be known in English as the “hand piano” or “thumb piano.” The smaller type of the African bow in which the performer’s mouth is used as a resonator was called the “berimbau de boca” [mouth guimbarde] whereas the gourd-resonating type became the “berimbau de barriga” [belly guimbarde].

Playing Techniques: The berimbau and the m’bulumbumba of southwest Angola are made and played are very similar, as well as the tuning and basic patterns performed on these instruments. The assimilation of this African instrument into the Brazilian capoeira is evident also in other Bantu terms used for musical bows in Brazilian Portuguese, including urucungo and madimba lungungu.

To play the berimbau, one holds it in one hand, wrapping the two middle fingers around the verga, and placing the little finger under the cabaça’s string loop [the “anel”], and balancing the weight there. A small stone or coin a pedra or dobrão is held between the index and thumb of the same hand that holds the berimbau. The cabaça is rested against the abdomen.

In the other hand, one holds a stick a baqueta or “vaqueta” – usually wooden, very rarely made of metal and a shaker (caxixi). One strikes the arame with the baqueta to produce the sound. The caxixi accompanies the baqueta. The dobrão is moved back and forth from the arame to change the pitch produced by the berimbau. The sound can also be altered by moving the cabaça back and forth from the abdomen, producing a wah-like sound.[citation needed]

Construction: The berimbau consists of a wooden bow, a verga – traditionally made from biribá wood, which grows in Brazil), about 4 to 5 feet [1.2 to 1.5 metres] long, with a steel string; arame – often pulled from the inside of an automobile tire tightly strung and secured from one end of the verga to the other.

A gourd [cabaça], dried, opened and hollowed-out, attached to the lower portion of the Verga by a loop of tough string, acts as a resonator. Since the 1950s, Brazilian berimbaus have been painted in bright colours, following local Brazilian taste; today, most makers follow the tourist consumer’s quest for “pretend” authenticity, and use clear varnish and discreet decoration.

Components of the Berimbau: Verga: wooden bow that makes up the main body of the Berimbau Arame: steel string – Cabaça: opened, dried and hollowed out gourd-like fruit secured to the lower portion of the berimbau, used to amplify and resonate the sound.

The fruit used for the berimbau’s resonator, while still known in Brazil as ‘cabaça’, it is not technically a gourd [family Cucurbitaceae]; instead, it is the fruit of an unrelated species, the tree Crescentia cujete [family Bignoniaceae] known in Brazil as calabaça, cueira and cuia or cabaceira.

Pedra or Dobrão: Small stone or coin pressed against the arame to change the tone of the berimbau Baqueta: small stick struck against the arame to produce the sound Caxixí: small rattle that optionally accompanies the baqueta in the same hand ; Capoeiristas split berimbaus in three categories:

Berra-boi or Gunga: Lowest tone Médio [others say viola]: medium tone Viola [violinha if the medium tone is viola]: highest tone These categories relate to sound, not to size. The berimbau’s quality does not depend on the length of the verga or the size of the gourd, rather on the diameter and hardness of the verga’s wood and the quality of the gourd.

The berimbau slowly came to replace the drum as the central instrument for the jogo de capoeira, which it is now famous for and widely associated with.

Citations: Bibliography: Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium Retrieved 2015-04-11. Funso S. Afọlayan 2004. Culture and Customs of South Africa. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-313-32018-7. Retrieved 10 August 2012 ; Obi, T.J. Desch 2008. Fighting for Honor: The History of African Martial Art Traditions in the Atlantic World. Columbia, South Carolina, USA: University of South Carolina Press. p. 184. ISBN 9781570037184 ; O Estado de S. Paulo, 6–12 April 2011, Suplemento Agrícola, page 2 ; Houaiss Dictionary ;


Name: Ahardin.
Type: Chordophones > Bows > Idiochords > Mono.
Hornbostel Sachs No#: 311.121.222
Country: Niger & Mali, Sahel, West Africa.
Region: Africa.

Description: The Ahardin is a musical bow played by southern Tuaregs consists of a curved branch held with a twisted rope of raw leather or bark of acacia. Serving as a sound box, a reversed calabash is placed on the curved part of the bow on the ground.

Similarly the ahardant, feminine of ahardin, is also the name of a plucked string instrument, a kind of lute played throughout the region of the Niger River loop, by “court craftsmen” in the Tuaregs and by griots in the Songhai.

Playing Techniques: To hold the whole, the player presses her knee on the container. With the fingers of the left hand, as with the imzad, she defines the melody, while with the thumb and forefinger of the right hand, she grip the string with a regular gesture vibrate. At present, the ahardin, an instrument whose manufacture is easily improvised, is considered above all as a game played by girls.

Citations: Bibliography: Claudot-Hawad, H. 1986. “Ahardin”. Encyclopédie berbère. 3 -Ahaggar – Alī ben Ghaniya. Aix-en-Provence: Edisud. pp. 311–312 ;


Name: Lesiba.
Type: Chordophones > Bows > Idiochords > Poly.
Hornbostel Sachs No#: 311.121.222
Country: South Africa.
Region: Africa.

Description: The lesiba [Tswana for feather, term adopted in Sotho] and gora or goura [in Khoisan, for a type of bird, term adopted by the Xhosa and Zulu] are members of a class of “unbraced mouth-resonated bow’s”. Though a very few people alive today play this instrument. The harsh birdlike sounds of the instrument are so well recognized among the Sotho that it is used on Lesotho Radio to signal the start of the news broadcast.

The lesiba is the national instrument of the Basotho, a southern African people, now located primarily in South Africa and Lesotho, and the Khoikhoi people of South Africa. The lesiba is played mostly by herdsmen and herdboys to give signals and instructions to their cattle, and, almost as much, for their own entertainment.

Playing Techniques: Holding both hands around the quill, positioned without touching just inside the lips, the player sharply inhales or exhales against it, creating vibration in the string. This “produces a powerful buzzing sound,” usually in short notes on a small, limited scale.

Inhalation excites the harmonics of the string, while exhalation is most often accompanied by a throaty grunt, except in players with strong breath, and may be accompanied by humming. Vocalizations create, from a single player, the effect of more than one part. The harmonics used are primarily the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, and twelfth.

Acoustics: According to Borrow in 1806, the instrument sounds “like the faint murmurs of distance music that comes over the ear. Without any distinction of notes. Barnard in 1910 noted the loudness of the instrument, while Alberti in 1810 compared the sounds to the “tones of the so-called Hunting-horn,” presumably a reference to the shared use of the harmonic series.

According to Kirby in 1934, “the tone is, very pleasant when well produced, partaking of the qualities of both string and wind, reminding one of the Aeolian harp; and it can be varied in power from a faint whisper to a strong, vibrant sound, the air column of the mouth and throat acting as a resonator”.

Construction: Having a flattened quill attached to a long string, the string is stretched over a hard stick. Acting as the main source of Vibration. At the other end, in some areas, is a coconut shell resonator, with a tension noose wrapped around the string to adjust the pitch. The lesibas construction is unique: “no other class of stringed-wind instrument has been found anywhere else in the world.

Citations: Bibliography: Kirby, Percival 2009 – “The Gora, a Stringed-wind Instrument” The World of South African Music: A Reader, p.36.  Lucia, Christine; ed. Cambridge. ISBN 1904303366 ; Coplan, David B. 1994. In the Time of Cannibals: The Word Music of South Africa’s Basotho Migrants, p.203. University of Chicago ISBN 9780226115740 ;

Guitar Zither

Name: Guitar Zither.
Type: Chordophones > Zithers > Box > Fretted.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 314.122.4
Inventor: Friederich Menzenhauer [1858-1937]
Country: Germany.
Region: Continental Europe & North America.

Description: The guitar zither also called a chord zither, fretless zither, mandolin zither or harp zither. First patented May 29, 1894 by Friederich Menzenhauer [1858-1937]. The guitar zither came into use in the late 19th century and was widely mass-produced in the United States and in Germany by Menzenhauer and later by Oscar Schmidt Inc., the Phonoharp Company, and others.

Tunings: One set of strings is tuned to the diatonic, chromatic, or partially chromatic scale and the other set is tuned to make the various chords in the principal key of the melody strings.

Construction: It is a musical instrument consisting of a sound-box with two sets of unstopped strings.

Citations: Bibliography: Kelly Williams, May 11, 2003 “Background of the Guitar-Zither” ; The Guitar-Zither Clearinghouse ; Terminology on the “guitar-zither” [patented by Menzenhauer], “chord zither” ; referred guitar-zither, appeared in The Oxford Companion to Musical Instruments and The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instrument] and “chorded zither” ; Websites ; Gregg Miner & Kelly Williams July 2011 ; “Selecting the Term”. Fretless Zithers ; Andreas Michel. “Harp zither”. In Deane L. Root. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press ;


Instruments which are in essence simply a string or strings and a string bearer. These instruments may have a resonator box, but removing it should not render the instrument unplayable; although it may result in quite a different sound being produced. They include the piano therefore, as well as other kinds of zithers such as the koto, and musical bows.

31 – Simple chordophones or zithers

311.1 Musical Bows – The string bearer is flexible and curved
311.11 Idiochord Musical Bows – The string is cut from the bark of the cane
311.111 Mono-Idiochord Musical Bows – Containing one string only
311.112 Poly-Idiochord Musical Bows or harp-bows – Containing several strings that pass over some type of bridge

311.12 Heterochord Musical Bows – The string is of separate material from the bearer.

311.121 Mono-heterochord musical bows – The bow has one heterochord string only.
311.121.1 Without resonator.
311.121.11 Without tuning noose.
311.121.12 With tuning noose.

311.121.2 With resonator.
311.121.21 With independent resonator.
311.121.22 With resonator attached.
311.121.221 Without tuning noose.
311.121.222 With tuning noose.

311.2 Stick zithers – With rigid resonator
311.21 Musical bow/stick – The string carrier has one rigid and one flexible end.
311.122 Poly-heterochord musical bows – The bow has several heterochord strings.
311.122.1 Without tuning noose.
311.122.2 With tuning noose.

311.22 True stick zithers – NB Round sticks which happen to be hollow by chance do not belong on this account to the tube zithers, but are round-bar zithers; however, instruments in which a tubular cavity is employed as a true resonator, like the modern Mexican harpa, are tube zithers.

311.221 With one resonator gourd.
311.222 With several resonator gourds.

312 – Tube zithers – The string bearer is a vaulted surface.

312.1 Whole tube zithers – The string carrier is a complete tube
312.11 Idiochord tube zithers.
312.12 Heterochord tube zithers.
312.121 Without extra resonator.
312.122 With extra resonator.

312.2 Half-tube zithers – The strings are stretched along the convex surface of a gutter. 312.21 Idiochord half-tube zithers.
312.22 Heterochord half-tube zithers.

313 – Raft zithers – The string bearer is composed of canes tied together in the manner of a raft

313.1 Idiochord raft zithers. 313.2 Heterochord raft zithers.

314 Board zithers – The string bearer is a board

314.1 True board zithers.
314.2 Board zither variations.
314.21 Ground zithers.
314.22 Harp zithers.
314.11 Without resonator.
314.12 With resonator.
314.121 With resonator bowl.
314.22 Harp zithers.
314.122 With resonator box – the piano is part of this subdivision.

315 – Trough zithers – The strings are stretched across the mouth of a trough

315.1 Without resonator.
315.2 With resonator.

316 – Frame zithers – The strings are stretched across an open frame

316.1 Without resonator.
316.2 With resonator.


Name: Genggong.
Type: Idiophones > Lamellaphones > Jaw-Harps > Tension.
Hornbostel Sachs No#: 121.22
Country: Bali, Indonesia.
Region: South East Asia.

Description: The genggong is a bamboo jaw-harp that is found in Bali, Indonesia. It is usually played in pairs. One instrument slightly larger than the other. Corresponding in higher pitch.

These jaw-harps are classified as “tension harps” because the use of the cord to play this type of jaw-harp. These are tension harps and are difficult to play at the speeds normally found in Bali.

Playing Techniques: The two instruments hocket [play interspersed notes] in complex rhythmic patterns, which produce a very intricate and exciting effect.

Usually players hold either a piece of palm or banana leaf beside their mouth when playing to act as a resonator. Together with the Indian morsing, this is one of the world’s most exciting jaw harps styles.

Citations: Bibliography: Randy Raine-Reusch @ [Genggong article] ;


Name: Kagurabue.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Transverse.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.121.12
Country: Japan.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The kagurabue [神楽笛] or yamatobue [和笛] is a six or seven-hole transverse flute used to support Japanese kagura performance. Kagura flute is a Japanese instrument together with Wako [Wakon] in ancient times. it is used only in Suite of Kagura Song [Kagura Uta] in Gagaku.

Although the flute naming the name Kagura flute exists in various forms throughout the country, the Kagura flute to be used in Gagaku is distinctive and is different from the one used in rural festival music and the like.

Characteristics: The range is two octaves, but it is twice lower than the dragon whistle. In addition, even with the same fingering fingers, it is possible to make a sound different by one octave due to the difference in breath. The lower range is called “sum” [fukura] and the upper range is called “responsibility” [semi].

Construction: The total length is about 45 cm, the inside diameter is about 1, 8 cm, there are 6 finger holes.

Citations: Bibliography: Malm, William P 1959. Japanese music and musical instruments [1st ed.]. p, 54. C.E. Tuttle Co, Tokyo ; Rutland ; Dr. David Petersen, March 2007 [google books] ; An Invitation to Kagura: Hidden Gem of the Traditional Japanese Performing Arts pp. 271 pp. [Kagurabue article] originally in Japanese translated by google translate ;


Name: Dizi.
Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Transverse.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.121.12
Bayin: 竹 Bamboo.
Specimens: 3 in collection.
Country: China.
Region: Far East Asia.
Acquisition Source: Randy Raine-Reusch @

Description: The dizi [in Chinese: 笛子 in pinyin: dízi, pronounced approximately “titseu”], also called Zhudi [竹笛]. It is a traditional musical instrument of the Han Chinese, it is a flute made of bamboo. Being a major Chinese musical instrument it is found in many genres of Chinese folk music, Chinese opera and modern Chinese orchestra. Traditionally, the dizi has also been popular among the Chinese common people, and it is simple to make and easy to carry.

Features: Traditionally dizi is made by using a single piece of bamboo. While simple and straightforward, it is also impossible to change the fundamental tuning once the bamboo is cut, which made it a problem when it was played with other instruments in a modern Chinese orchestra.

In the 1920s musician Zheng Jinwen [鄭覲文, 1872-1935] resolved this issue by inserting a copper joint to connect two pieces of shorter bamboo. This method allows the length of the bamboo to be modified for minute adjustment to its fundamental pitch.

The dizi has a unique feature among flutes being a membrane covering a whole with the inner membrane of a common reed, called “di-mo” [笛膜]. This material can be acquired from the common reed, or purchased in a Chinese music store. Gum or Garlic juice is used to apply as an adhesive to hold the di-mo in place. The dizi is a relatively easy instrument to learn at first, but the standard for good dizi playing is quite high.

Professional dizi players from China are stunning in their virtuosity. Traditional dizi the finger-holes are spaced approximately equidistant, which produces a temperament of mixed whole-tone and three-quarter-tone intervals. Zheng also repositioned the figure-holes to change the notes produced.

During the middle of the 20th century dizi makers further changed the finger hole placements to allow for playing in equal temperament, as demanded by new musical developments and compositions, although the traditional dizi continue to be used for purposes such as kunqu accompaniment.

Varieties: The bangdi is one the smaller sized dizi’s available, whose rapid bird-song playing is familiar to Northern China. During the 20th Century, a third category appeared having a 7th finger hole. Formerly concentrated in the city of Suzhou.

The bangdi pitched in the same range as western piccolo and qudi pitched a fourth or fifth lower than the bangdi are the most predominant, other dizi include the xiaodi / gaoyindi pitched a fourth of fifth higher than the bangdi, the dadi / diyindi (pitched a fourth or fifth lower than qudi) and the deidi / diyindadi (pitched an octave lower than qudi).

In the 1930s, an 11-hole fully chromatic version of the dizi was created, pitched in the same range as the western flute. However, the modified dizi’s extra tone holes prevent the effective use of the membrane, so this instrument lacks the inherent timbre of the traditional dizi family.

Manufacturing: The success of this relatively inexpensive instrument is so great today, that the demand for raw material has made the bamboos old enough to build high-end flutes. Many of the major instrument makers, such as the famous Zhou Linsheng, continue to use yellow or white bamboo at an ever higher cost, and reserve their instruments for collectors and maestros scholarships. Others have turned to the use of bamboo less rare, harder to work, but no less interesting acoustically, especially from the regions of Hunan and Hubei.

Citations: Bibliography: Malcolm Tattersall Feb 2007 “Does It Matter What It’s Made Of?” ; Brookhaven National Laboratory September 22, 1999 ; “Brookhaven Lab Expert Helps Date Flute Thought to be Oldest Playable Musical Instrument” Tedesco, Laura Anne October 2000 ; “Jiahu ca. 7000–5700 B.C.”. Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. Metropolitan Museum of Art ; “di musical instrument” Encyclopaedia Britannica ; Howard L. Goodman (2010). Xun Xu and the politics of precision in third-century AD China. Brill Publishers. p. 226. ISBN 90-04-18337-X ; Frederick Lau 20088 Kai-wing Chow ed. Beyond the May Fourth Paradigm: In Search of Chinese Modernity. Lexington Books. pp. 212–215. ISBN 978-0739111222 ; 陳正生 Chen Zhengsheng 22 October 2001 ; 談談民族管樂器聽覺訓練在演奏中的作用 Talking about the Role of National Wind Instrument Auditory Training in Performance [in Chinese] ; Frederick Lau 2008 Music in China. Oxford University Press. pp. 43–45. ISBN 978-0-19-530124-3 ;

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