Type: Idiophones > Lamellaphones > Combs.
Hornbostel Sachs No#: 122.1
Region: Zambezi basin, Southeastern Africa.
Description: A large plucked lamellaphone played by the Barwe, Gorongozi and Sena peoples of the Zambezi basin, southeastern Africa. Lamellaphones are distributed across a wide range from sub-Saharan Africa arching through the Congo and Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and they were brought to Latin America by enslaved Africans. They are known by many names that also may be shared with xylophones. Most names have word stems that include -mbila -mira -limba or -rima.
Playing Techniques: The keys of the nyonganyonga are sounded when they are plucked by both left and right thumbs, the instrument is supported by the left and right hands, as the musician holds it left and right hands.
Construction: Although the nyonganyonga appears similar in construction to its neighbour the Shona Mbira. These two instruments as neighbours do differ in their over all construction, key placement and tunings. Due to the addition of miriltons and bottle caps, when plucked the Nyonganyonga has a gentile ringing sound.
Tuning: It is accomplished by sliding the tongues in or out to change their pitch resulting in the increasing or decreasing the vibrating length.
Citations: Websites: The Met Museum / Nyonganyonga ; Nyonganyonga, Idiophones Grinnell College Collection ; Youtube.com / Nyonganyonga Demonstration ILAM ;