Inanga

Name: Inanga.
Type: Chordophones > Zithers > Trough.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 315
Country: Burundi, Rwanda & neighbouring.
Region: Africa.

Description: The inanga is a plucked chordophone that is assigned to the sub-category of the trough zither family. It is known by other regional names including Enanga, Ikivuvu and Indimbagao. It is a fretless trough zither. Although it is Burundi’s best known musical instrument.

It is al distributed in the neighbouring countries including Rwanda, the Kivu region of Eastern Congo and south of Lake Victoria “Ukerewe”. There is a unique musical genre is called “whispered inanga”, the musician whispers a text in a rhythm that corresponds to the repetitive melodic motif. For the listener, the whispered text and the played melody complement each other to a unified singing lecture.

Construction: A string is made from a single fibre or gut. It is about a metre in length depending on total length of zither. There are slits carved on both sides of the zither. Also the chord is tied from one not at the beginning and wrapped around each slit, holding the playing cord in place.

The tuning is often a pentatonic scale. The inanga is held by resting the front end on the ground and the instrument is supported by the musician when sitting or kneeling. It can also be played in the musicians lap. The Inanga is a very quiet instrument.

Citations: Bibliography: The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music: Africa Ruth M. Stone [Google Books] ; Websites: Grinnell College Musical Instrument Collection [Inanga Page] ; Randy Raine-Reusch @ Asza.com [Inanga article] ;

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