A lamellophone [also lamellaphone or linguaphone, from the Latin root lingua meaning “tongue”, i.e. a long thin plate that is fixed only at one end] is any of a family of musical instruments. The name comes from the Latin word lamella for “small metal plate” and the Greek word φωνή phonē for “sound, voice”.

The name derives from the way the sound is produced: the instrument has a series of thin plates, or “tongues”, each of which is fixed at one end and has the other end free. When the musician depresses the free end of a plate with a finger or fingernail, and then allows the finger to slip off, the released plate vibrates.

The lamellaphones are classified under category 12 in the Hornbostel–Sachs system for classifying musical instruments, plucked idiophones. These idiophones are equipped with one or more tongues or lamellae that produce sound by being plucked by the performer. There are two main categories of plucked idiophones, those that are in the form of a frame [121] and those that are in the form of a comb [122].


Lamellaphones / Hornbostel Sachs No#:
Numbers Types Classification Instruments
121 Lamellae   *
121.1 Clack Idiophones Cricri
121.2 Lamellae Guimbardes Jaw-Harps
121.21 Idioglot Guimbardes *
121.22 Heteroglot Guimbardes  *
121.221 Individual Heteroglot Guimbardes
121.222 Sets Of Heteroglot Guimbardes
122 * * Comb
122.2 With Cut-Out Lamellae
122.11 Without Resonator *
122.12 With Resonator *

1~ The lamellae vibrate within a frame or hoop.

121.1 Clack idiophones or Cricri – The lamella is carved in the surface of a fruit shell, which serves as resonator.

121.2 Guimbardes and jaw harps – The lamella is mounted in a rod- or plaque-shaped frame and depends on the player’s mouth cavity for resonance.

121.21 Idioglot guimbardes – The lamella is of one substance with the frame of the instrument.

121.22 Heteroglot guimbardes – The lamella is attached to the frame.

121.221 Individual heteroglot guimbardes.

121.222 Sets of heteroglot guimbardes.

122 ~ In the form of a comb.

122.2 With cut-out lamellae.

122.11 Without resonator.

122.12 With resonator.


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