Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Single.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.211.2
Region: South Europe & Mediterranean.
Description: The launeddas [also called Sardinian triple clarinet or Sardinian triple-pipe] are a typical Sardinian woodwind instrument made of three pipes. They are a polyphonic instrument, with one of the pipes functioning as a drone and the other two playing the melody in thirds and sixths.
History: Predecessors of the launeddas can be traced back to approximately 2700 BCE in Egypt, where reed pipes were originally called ‘memet’. During the Old Kingdom in Egypt [2778-2723 BCE]; memets were depicted on the reliefs of seven tombs at Saqqarra, six tombs at Giza, and the pyramids of Queen Khentkaus.
The launeddas themselves date back to at least the eighth century BCE and are still played today during religious ceremonies and dances [su ballu in Sardinian language]. Distinctively, they are played using extensive variations on a few melodic phrases and a single piece can last over an hour, producing some of the “most elemental and resonant [sounds] in European music”.
Citations: Bibliography: Kroll, O. 1968 – The Clarinet. New York, NY: Taplinger Publishing Company ; Rice, A.R. 1992 – The Baroque Clarinet. New York, NY: Oxford University Press ; Surian, Alesso. “Tenores and Tarantellas”. 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla [Ed.], World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pg. 189–201 – Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0 ; Surian, pg. 190 ; “Franco Melis”. Musical Traditions Internet Magazine. URL accessed on 26 August 2005 ; F. W. Bentzon, The Launeddas. A Sardinian folk music instrument [Vol. 2. Acta Musicologica Danica n°1], Akademisk Forlag, Copenhagen, 1969 ; P. Mercurio, La Cultura delle Launeddas. Cabras. I Suoni del Maestro Giovanni Casu, Solinas, Nuoro, 2011.
F. W. Bentzon, Launeddas, Cagliari, 2002 ISBN 88-88998-00-4 ;