Category Archives: Reeds

Reeds

Xeremia

Name: Xeremia.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Bagpipes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Country: Majorca [Mallorca], Spain.
Region: Iberian Peninsula & Western Europe.

Description: The xeremia [in Catalan xeremia in IPA: ʃəɾəˈmi.ə], plural xeremies] is a type of bagpipe native to the island of Majorca [Mallorca].

History:The first documented evidence of bagpipes in the Iberian Peninsula dates to the Middle Ages. The first documentation and written evidence dates to the 9th century, in a letter from Saint Jerome to Dardanus: “The chorus is a simple leather hide with two brass tubes. The player blows into one, and the chorus emits the sound through the other”.

The influence of the court of Aragon and particularly that of Catalonia in the Balearic Islands and the cultural exchanges on both sides of the Pyrenees together with Catalan hegemony in Occitania. Which had been a strong cultural center, caused an increase the number of bards and minstrels increased. In 1209 there was a massive migration of bards and minstrels fleeing Occitania, due to repression by the northern French monarchs, encouraged by Pope Innocent III.

Bagpipes became prominent in those areas where the courts of Aragon and Catalonia had influence. When James I the Conqueror, conquered Majorca and Ibiza and repopulated those lands with his vassals of Catalan origin, they brought the bagpipes with them: the sac de gemecs, from which the Mallorcan xeremia [xeremia mallorquina] is derived.

In the archive of the Crown of Aragon there is a document from the year 1343 that names one Joan Mascum, bagpipe minstrel to the king, from Majorca in reference to king James III. Further, it is known that the minstrels of the king of Mallorca brought to the court of Peter IV the ceremonial playing of the bagpipe through the city of Tortosa in the year 1353. There are further reports that bagpipers from a variety of nations would congregate, especially during Lent.

Etymology: The name xeremia is of French origin. The Old French word chalemie over time became charemie. This is related to the influence of Occitania during the Kingdom of Aragon, as Catalan was quite strong from the year 531 to approximately 1131, as the Occitan cultural centre expanded through the means of minstrels and bards, throughout the territory that would later be known as Catalonia.

The instrument’s name may be used in the singular or in the plural and has several variants, depending on the location. In Ibiza the instrument exists only without a bag, but is called also Xeremia. In the Balearic Islands it is called xeremia, xirimia, xeremies o xirimies while in Catalonia it is known as sac de gemecs.

Construction: It consists of a bag made of skin or modern synthetic materials, known as a sac or sarró which retains the air, a blowpipe [bufador], a melody pipe or chanter [grall] and several, generally three, drones [bordons]. The primary drone [roncó] sounds a tonic note, but the other drones are sometimes simply false drones for ornamentation.

Citations: Bibliography: Genovart Espinosa, Antoni [October 2007, archived by way back machine]. “Xeremies i Xeremiers a Mallorca”. Sant Llorenç des Cardassar, Spain. Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2007; Breno [2002-03-02]. “Xeremies mallorquina, un poco de lenguas, geografia e historia”. Archived from the original on December 2, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-30 ; Cucurull, Tomàs [2007]. “Es sac de gemecs. El sac de gemecs” [año 2000 ed.]. Sant Jaume dels Domenys, Cataluña, Spain. Archived from the original on 26 July 2011 ;

Sac De Gemecs

Name: Sac De Gemecs.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Bagpipes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Country: Catalan, Spain.
Region: Iberian Peninsula & Western Europe.

Description: The Sac de Gemecs [in Catalan: Pronunciation in IPA: ˈsaɡ də ʒəˈmeks – literally “bag of moans”]. In Andorra the sac de gemecs is known as a buna [‘buna] or coixinera [kuʃiˈneɾə], gaita [ˈɡajtə] or botella [buˈteʎə] is a type of bagpipe found in Catalonia, eastern Spain and in Southern France.

Legend: The instrument is mentioned in the Andorran legend “El Buner d’Ordino” in which a bagpiper from the parish of Ordino, en route to a festival in Canillo, is chased and treed by wolves, but frightens them off by playing his buna.

Construction: The instrument consists of a chanter, a blowpipe, and three drones. The lowest drone [bordó llarg] plays a note two octaves below the tonic of the chanter. The middle drone [bordó mitjà] plays a fifth above the bass. The high drone [bordó petit] plays an octave below the chanter, thus one octave above the bass drone.

Citations: Bibliography: Àlvar Valls Oliva – Roser Carol Romàn; Àlvar Valls i Oliva; Roser Carol i Romàn [15 November 2010] ; Llegendes d’Andorra. L’Abadia de Montserrat. pp. 95–. ISBN 978-84-9883-340-9 ;

Sipsi

Name: Sipsi.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Single.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.211.2
Country: Turkey.
Region: Aegean, Asia Minor & Mediterranean.

Description: The sipsi [pronounced in Turkish / in IPA: sipˈsi] is a Turkish woodwind instrument. It is a clarinet-like, single-reed instrument used mainly in folk music. The word “sipsi” is possibly onomatopoeic. The sipsi is one of many reed instruments in Turkey used to play lead melodies in instrumental folk music. It is generally played in the Western part in the Aegean Region of Turkey. Most folk tunes played in this area with the sipsi are in 9/8 time signature.

Definition: The Turkish Language Society lists “sipsi” as 1. Ağaç dallarından yapılan düdük – a whistle or flute made from the branch of a tree. 2. Gemici düdüğü, Sailor’s while or pipe 3. Zurnanın dudaklara gelen kamış bölümü. The reed section that fits into the opening “lips” of a zurna.

Playing Technique: Musicians who perform on the sipsi use circular breathing as one would see in parallel other similar reed instruments.

Construction: The sipsi can be made of bone, wood, or reed, though the reed variant is most common. Its size varies from region to region, but it generally contains five finger holes in the front, and one finger hole in the back.

Citations: Bibliography: Akdeniz, Tayyar “Sipsi- Turkish Music Instruments- Folk Tours”. Folk Tours. Folk Tours LLC. Retrieved 2011-09-28 ; Reinhard, Kurt; Martin Stokes ; “Turkey: II Folk Music, 4 Instrumental Music”. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Retrieved 2011-09-29 ;

Shenai

Name: Shenai.
Type: Aerophones > Shawm > Reeds.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Vadya: Mangal Vadya.
Specimens: 2 in collection.
Country: India.
Region: South Asia.
Acquisition Source: Ian MacKenzie, trip to Rajasthan, India.

Description: The shehnai, shenoy, sanai, shahnai, shenai, shanai or mangal vadya or sahanai [in Hindi: शहनाई, Bengali: শানাই, Marathi: सनई, Odia: ଶାହାନାଇ, Kannada: ಸನಾದಿ] is a member of the conical double reed family. The shenai is common to North India and over all South Asia.

The variant names of this instrument including Sahanai [Nepal] are virtually the same type of instrument they may differ in tuning due to over all size and length. The shenai is used in religious events but in recent times it became an instrument of virtuosity. The introduction of the shenai to western audiences was by George Harrison’s “Wonderwall” album. Furthering a passion for Indian Classical Music in the west since the 1960s.

Techniques: In the hands of a great player the shenai creates a fluid tone rich in subtleties and expression. The shenai is played with the pads of the second joint of the finger rather than the finger tips to enable the fingers to be slowly rocked off the holes to produce a flawless unbroken portamento of up to almost a full octave. The shenai is usually played with another shenai [sur] holding a drone.

Construction: The shenai has a reed that is folded multiple times, this allows for the embodiment of four or six reeds. The reeds are made from folding a leaf and cutting it in shape, so that when its bound to the mouth piece, the reed spreads with equal amount of tongues on both-sides. Usually the shenai has a small piece of wool around the reed so that when tightened it can splay the reed further.

Citations: Bibliography: Ranade, Ashok Damodar 2006 ; Music contexts: a concise dictionary of Hindustani Music. Bibliophile South Asia – ISBN 81-85002-63-0 ; Hoiberg, Dale – Indu Ramchandani 2000 Students’ Britannica India. Popular Prakashan ; Websites:

Midjweh

Name: Midjweh.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Single.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.211.2
Specimens: 3 in collection.
Country: Egypt.
Region: Middle East & Mediterranean.

Description: The midjweh is an ancient folk clarinet found in the Nile region of Egypt. It has several analogue instruments that are found through out the Mediterranean Near East and as far away as western China. The midjweh has two identical pipes bound together and parallel sound holes. The midjweh is considered to be one of the oldest instruments of the Nile region. The midjweh player is often accompanied by another midjweh player or a drummer.

The Midjweh one of the reed-pipes referred to in the Bible, and depictions of the midjweh are found on the walls of the Egyptian funeral chambers. The midjweh is also known by a number of names including midjwiz and midjwiz. Many people confuse this instrument with the arghul that is a related instrument with only one melody pipe and a drone.

Playing Technique: The pipes are played in unison by placing the fingers across both pipes. Both reeds are totally enclosed in the mouth, and circular breathing is employed to create a continuous flow of air. Circular breathing is awkward on this instrument though, due to the depth that the reeds extend into the mouth, and this has resulted in related instruments, such as the pungi or bagpipes, having wind chambers. The reeds are made by a slight cut into a small section of cane with a closed nodal point.

The performer holds the midjweh with both hands nearly horizontally in front of him with the finger-holes up. The bulk of the reeds are situated inside the mouth cavity with the player’s lips creating a tight seal abound them. The first three fingers of one hand cover the top three finger-holes of both tubes, the first three fingers of the other hand the bottom three.

In order to finger both tubes simultaneously, the soft pads between the knuckles are used to cover the holes. The notes on the two pipes are purposefully tuned slightly apart from one another so as to produce an acoustic beat. The technique of circular breathing is used by performers to achieve a continuous flow of melody. Melodies are typically narrow in range. Each reed pipe is by itself not very loud, so having two of them sounding simultaneously increases the instrument’s volume.

Construction: The midjweh consists of two tubes, each made of three interlocking segments of reed fitted into one another. The longest segment is an open tube, it has s cylindrical bore. The midjweh has six equally distanced finger-holes in a row and lacks a thumb hole on the bottom side of the instrument. These two tubes are securely bound together with tarred cotton cord at three points along their length so that their lines of finger-holes run parallel to one another.

A short about 2 inches in length second section, likewise of two parallel tubes of cane, but with no finger-holes, is inserted into the top end of the finger-hole section. Separate 2-inch lengths of reed are then inserted into the top ends of the second section. These reed tubes, closed at their top end, have a deep back cut in them along much of their length to articulate a single flexible lamellae or idioglot reed, this instrument is classified as an idioglot because the reed is not a separate entity attached to the tube, but part of the tube itself.

Citations: Bibliography: Hassan, Scheherazade Qassim 2002 – “Musical Instruments in the Arab World.” In The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music v. 6. The Middle East. ed ; Virginia Danielson, Scott Marcus, and Dwight Reynolds. New York: Routledge, pp. 401-423 ; Marcus, Scott L. 2007 ; Music in Egypt: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture. New York: Oxford University Press ; Marcuse, Sibyl. 1975. A Survey of Musical Instruments. New York: Harper and Row ; Morris, R. Conway. 1984. “‘Çifte [çifte].” NGDMI v.1: p. 369 ; Picken, Laurence. 1975. Folk Musical Instruments of Turkey. London: Oxford University Press ; Poché, Christian. 1984. “‘Mijwiz [midjwiz, miğwiz, mizwidj; mizwij]” NGDMI v.2: p. 661 ; Websites: Randy Raine-Reusch [Midjweh Article] @ asza.com ; Grinnell College Musical Instrument Collection [Midjweh article] ;

Sharnai

Name: Sharnai.
Type: Aerophones > Shawms > Reeds.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Country: Sindh, Pakistan.
Region: South Asia.

Description: A small oboe of Sindh, Pakistan. The body of the instrument of very old “kiraar” wood. The Sharnai belongs to the Northern Sindh and Multan [lower Punjab areas]. There are two other sizes are found in the region; the ghazi about 15 cm in length it is used for mourning tunes [osara] during the shiite lamentation of Muharram; the mutta is 25 cm in length. The sharnai often accompanies the dhul a double barrel drum.

Construction: The sharnai has eight finger holes and a thumb hole and a canonical bell. The mouth piece consists of a double reed of kangor cane tied with thread to a brass staple which carries a round lip disc of shell and it is inserted into the pipe.

Citations: Bibliography: N. A. Baloch, Musical Instruments Of The Lower Indus Valley of Sindh, Hyderabad India, 1966 Alastair Dick, Stanley Sadie ~ New Grove Dictionary of Music, Vol 3, Book P to Z, Page 364 ;

Algaita

Name: Algaita.
Type: Aerophones > Shawms > Reeds.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Country: Nigeria.
Region: West Africa.

Description: The algaita [also, alghaita, algayta or algheita] is a double reed wind instrument from West Africa, especially among the Hausa and Kanuri peoples. Its construction is similar to the oboe-like rhaita and the zurna. The algaita is distinguished from these other instruments by its larger, trumpet-like bell. Instead of keys, it has open holes for fingering, similar to the zurna.

Citations: Bibliography; Discography; Music rom the Villages of North Eastern Nigeria [Folkways, 1971] ; Music of the Cameroon – The Fulani of the North Lyrichord 73334 ; Use in Jazz Recordings by Yusuf Lateef, In Nigeria – YAL Records, 1983 ; Yusuf Lateef, The African-American Epic Suite 1984 ;

Srnaj

Name: Srnaj.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Shawms.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Country: Southern, Iraq, Gulf States.
Region: Middle East & North Africa.

Description: The srnaj is an oboe with a conical bore, belonging to the shawm category of reed musical instruments. It is used by black musicians in Southern Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain and the gulf states. The srnaj is the only aerophone used in the musical ceremonies of the black population. It appears only in the Al Haywa [or leiwa] ensembles where it is accompanied by two msondo, a path [tanaka] and pipa.

In Some gulf states the tanaka is replaced by a barrel drum. The bright tone of the srnaj is suited for out-door gatherings. In the Al Haywa The srnaj is played in pairs, accompanied by a choir of singers. The melodies of the srnaj are often cyclic and quite long in repertoire, circular breathing is often used during performance.

Construction: The body is assembled in three sections, two of the sections are made of walnut [Juglans regia] or a similar hard wood. A large bell [hawān; or judges cap] between 7 cm to 16 cm in length, and about 10 cm wide and a middle section [mtāko], about 25 cm in length with six large finger holes one of which is often closed in Iraq and a thumb hole. The third section [manāra; minaret] is of metal and it is 20 cm in length. The reed of the srnaj is fitted with a broad reed of coconut stem, palm or tamarind, held in place by a pirouette of metal or coconut shell.

Citations: Bibliography: P. Rovsing, Olsen: ‘La Music africain dans le Golfe persique’, JIFMC, xix 1967, 28; A. A. Sarrai; Tubal al-Haywa [the drums of haywa] Baghdad, 1975 ; S. Qassim Hassan Les instruments de musique en Irak et lleur róle dans la société traditionelle Paris, 1980 Scheherazade Qassam Hassan ; Stanley Sadie ~ New Grove Dictionary Of Music, Book P to Z, Page 442 ;

Sho

Name: Sho.
Type: Aerophones > Free > Reeds > Gourds.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 412.132
Country: Japan.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The shō [in Japanese, Kanji 笙 shō] is a Japanese free reed musical instrument that was introduced from China during the Nara period [AD 710 to 794]. It is descended from the Chinese sheng, although the shō tends to be smaller in size.

It consists of 17 slender bamboo pipes, each of which is fitted in its base with a metal free reed. Two of the pipes are silent, although research suggests that they were used in some music during the Heian period.

The shō is one of the three primary woodwind instruments used in gagaku, Japan’s imperial court music. Its traditional playing technique in gagaku involves the use of tone clusters called aitake [合竹], which move gradually from one to the other, providing accompaniment to the melody. A larger size of shō, called u [derived from the Chinese yu], is little used, although some performers, such as Hiromi Yoshida, began to revive it in the late 20th century.

The instrument’s sound is said to imitate the call of a phoenix, and it is for this reason that the two silent pipes of the shō are kept—as an aesthetic element, making two symmetrical “wings”. Like the Chinese sheng, the pipes are tuned carefully with a drop of bees wax.

As moisture collected in the shō’s pipes prevents it from sounding, performers can be seen warming the instrument over a small charcoal brazier when they are not playing. The instrument produces sound when the player’s breath is inhaled or exhaled, allowing long periods of uninterrupted play.

Citations: Bibliography: S. Kshibe and L. Traynor: ‘On the Four Unknown Pipes of Sho’, Toyo gakuho xxx, 1952 ; Sho and the Gagaku ; W. P. Malm, Japanese Music and Musial Instruments – Rutland, Vermont, 1959 ; [court orchestra music] Music of a Thousand Autumns; By Robert Garfias ; Websites: Randy Raine-Reusch @ asza.com [sho article] ;

Hne

Name: Hne.
Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Shawms.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Country: Myanmar [Burma].
Region: South-East Asia.

Description: The hne [in Burmese: နှဲ; also spelled as hnè] is a conical shawm of double reed used in the music of Myanmar. The earliest extant written occurrence of the word hne dates to 1491 AD and is likely a Middle Mon loan word, derived from sanoy. The hne is used in an ensemble together with xylophone, tuned gongs, and tuned drums.

There are two distinct types of hne: the smaller form is called the hne galay [နှဲကလေး] whilst the larger is called the hne gyi [နှဲကြီး]. The former is used for songs in the ordinary key of the diatonic major scale, while the latter is used for grand style songs in the subdominant mode.

Construction: The hne has a sextuple reed [called hnegan], made from the young leaf of the toddy palm [Borassus flabellifer L.] which is soaked for six months. The body of the hne is made of wood, with a conical bore and seven finger holes at the front, set in a straight line, with a bell [ချူ, chu] hung at the top. It has a flaring metal bell and has a loud tone.

Citations: Bibliography: Okell, John 1971 The Burmese Double-Reed “Nhai”. Asian Music. University of Texas Press. 2 : pp 25–31 ; Khin Zaw 1940. Burmese Music [A Preliminary Enquiry]. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. School of Oriental and African Studies. 10 -3: 738 ;