Dhodro Banam

Name: Dhodro Banam.
Type: Bowed > Double-Chested > Fiddle > Chordophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.4
Country: India.
Region: South Asia.

Description: The single-stringed dhodro Banam comes from the Indigenous Santal tribal community of Central India. It is found particularly in Orissa. The Phet Banam is a recent development of the dhodro banam although having three to four strings. The Phet banam closely resembles the Nepalese Sarinda although it has a narrow body and wider chest cavities [sound holes].

Construction: The modern form called the Phet Banam and wide “chest cavities” functioning as a sound hole. The neck and body are carved from a single piece of wood. Both the dhodro banam and phet banam have a membrane usually of animal hide stretched over the sound cavity.

Citations:Bibliography: Sachs, Curt. Die Musikinstrumente Indiens und Indonesiens, Berlin & Leipzig, 1923 ; Shirali, Vishnudass Sargam. An Introduction to Indian Music. New Delhi, 1977 ; Chattopadhyaya, Kamaladevi. Tribalism in India. New Delhi, 1978 ; Prasad, Onkar. Santal Music. New Delhi, 1985 ; Websites: Metmuseum.org [The Met: Dhodro Banam photos] ; The Lutes of the Santal by Bengt Fosshag ; Dhodro Banam Performance [youtube.com video]


Name: Gottan.
Type: Lute > Chordophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.6
Country: Japan.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The gottan [in Japanese: ごったん gottan] also known as the hako [“box”] or ita [“board”]. It is a traditional Japanese three-stringed plucked instrument, that is found in Kagoshima prefecture and in other parts of southern Kyushu, namely such as Akira, Kokubu, Fukuyama, Keizaibu, Miyakonojo. It is also used the Satsuma region as a musical instrument of the common people. It is considered a relative or derivative of the sanshin as this instrument derived from the sanxian.

History: After being imported from China to Satsuma, it has achieved its own evolution in South Kyushu and has taken root as an accompaniment instrument of the Nembutsu religious beliefs, and has been transmitted to the present as a traditional instrument of South Kyushu.

Repertoire: The gottans musical repertoire is often light and cheerful, including many folk songs. Like the shamisen, it was used for door-to-door musical busking, known as kadozuke.

Citations: Henry Mabley Johnson 2010 – The Shamisen: Tradition and Diversity Brill The Shamisen: Tradition and Diversity. Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-18137-3. Experimental Musical Instruments. Experimental Musical Instruments. 1993. p. 35. Hugh De Ferranti ; The last biwa singer: a blind musician in history, imagination and performance. East Asia Program, Cornell University. p. 38. ISBN 978-1-933947-13-6 ;

Dan Gao

Name: Dan Gao.
Type: Bowed > Spike Fiddle > Chordophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.311.7
Country: Vietnam.
Region: South East Asia.

Description: A Vietnamese two-stringed fiddle having a resonator made of a coconut shell. It is similar to the Tro U, Laotian So u and Dan Ho. It is apart of the traditional Vietnamese orchestra. Originating from South Vietnam, it is used in secular entertainment content. It can be played alone, as part of an orchestra, or to accompany cải lương [Vietnamese folk opera].

Construction: The resonator of the dan-gao is the coconut shell covered by leather. The neck extends from the coconut shell with out frets. The head of the neck bends back and offers tuning two wooden tuning pegs. There are only two strings for this instrument. Silk is traditionally used although today metal is common. The bow is usually made from bamboo.

Citations: Bibliography: Terry E. Miller, Sean Williams The Garland handbook of Southeast Asian music Routledge 2008 Page 263 ; Stanley Sadie – New Grove Dictionary of Music Page 542 Dangali ;


Name: Danburo.
Type: Lute > Chordophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.6
Country: Baluchistan, Sind Region Pakistan.
Region: South Asia.

Description: The danburo is a long necked lute that is found in Baluchistan and the Sind Regions of Pakistan. It has a full, pear-sharped wooden resonator with a flat sound table, joined to a long tapering neck with a small projecting ridge around the joint. Six copper-wire frets are bound around the neck, but only on the upper half of the neck, giving a range of a 5th from the open string. Extra notes can be obtained from the open neck. Two or three steel strings, whose tuning pegs are inserted at the top of the neck. The strings are plucked with a wooden plectrum or pick called a [Janok]. The strings are held together by a pin at the bottom of the instruments body.

A smaller version, with a small resonator and long tail is also found, called kamāc, the damburo is played in accompaniment to a sorud a heavy double-chested fiddle related to the Nepalese Sarinda. It is accompanied by a jaw-harp, the cang.

Citations: Bibliography: N. A. Baloch: Musical Instruments of the Lower Indus Valley of Sind [Hyderabad, India 1966] ; J. Jenkins and P.R. Olsen; Music and Musical Instruments in the world of Islam [London, 1976], Stanley Sadie – Alastair Dick – Stanley Sadie New Grove Dictionary of Music, Page 541 Dang ;


Name: Danda.
Type: Concussion > Sticks > Idiophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 111.11
Country: India.
Region: South Asia.

Description: Danda are a pair of concussion sticks found through out North India. This instrument can be comprised of a pair of bamboo, wood, lathe-turned wood, plain or ornamental with or with out jingles. Common names through out North India include and, Danda, Dandi and Car. All of the listed names share the same meaning “stick”. The equivalent South Indian terms include Kollu, Karra [katta]. The Li-keli of Sri Lanka is a related instrument.

The danda of Madhya Pradesh, in Central India are about 60 cm in length Indigenous peoples for the Sailā dance. While those adjacent in Bihar appear to play the sticks with pellet-bells as clappers in one hand. The dando of Sind, Pakistan is a single stick rattle. South Asian percussion or stamping sticks include the tippani of Gujarat and the gedi of Madhya Pradesh.

Citations: Bibliography: K. S. Kothari: Indian Folk Musical Instruments [New Dheli, 1968]; B. C. Deva: Musical Instruments of India [Calcutta, 1978] ;


Name: Damphu.
Type: Frame > Drum > Chordophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 211.311
Country: Nepal.
Region: South Asia.

Description: The damphu [in Nepali: डम्फु damphu] it is a percussion instrument similar to a large tambourine with out the addition of any rings. This instrument is used by the Tamang people to play the Tamang Selo and mythical narratives [hvāi] as well as dances. Similar to the the dah of the Newari people and the daph in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan, and the Arabic daff.

Legend: According to folklore Damphu was invented by Peng Dorje a Tamang King and named it after Nepal’s national bird the Daphne bird. The damphu and tungna are the main instruments of the Tamang people and these two instruments are said to be the ‘nail and flesh’ on a finger.

Construction: The frame of the damphu is carved from a single piece of wood. The membrane being of python or animal skin is stretched over the frame. In which the membrane is stretched by wooden pegs holding it in place. The tuning pegs also increase or decrease the tension of the instrument.

Citations: Bibliography: Stanley Sadie – New Grove Dictionary of Music, Mierrelle Helfer, Page 540 Dammam ; Websites:


Name: Bambir.
Type: Bowed > Viols > Chordophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.313.7
Tuning: C / G / D / A
Country: Armenia.
Region: Caucasus.

Description: The bambir [in Armenian: Բամբիռ] is a cello that was invented in the early 1950s and named after the ancient Armenian instrument. The smaller sized bambir has no membrane and only one sound hole. Its measurements are body length 40 cm; 24 cm width at the base, 12.5 cm in the middle. The bambir is widely adopted and used in Armenian folk ensembles.

Construction: Similar in appearance to a Western cello to which this design is based off. The instrument is slightly smaller in size. The body is allowed out from a single piece of wood. The sound holes of the bambir are 7 cm in length and 2.5 cm in width. Has several added sound hole about 5 mm in diameter. A thin animal membrane is stretched underneath the belly gives the bambir its distinctive timbre and a clean tone. The tone is closest to a muted cello although related in sound to the Persian Kamenche. The length o the body is 45 cm and the with varies from 29 cm at the base, 13 cm in the middle and 24 cm at the top.

Citations: Bibliography: Stanley Sadie – New Grove Dictionary of Music, Robert At’Ayan Balum, Page, 118 ;


Name: Bana.
Type: Bowed > Spike Fiddle > Chordophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.313.7
Country: Madhya Pradesh, India.
Region: South Asia.

Description: A three string spike fiddle of Madhya Pradesh [Mandla District] in India. In the central Mandla province, the bana is played by the Pardhan to accompany their repertoire of religious ballads. The Pardhan are the genealogist bards of the Gond, who were once sovereigns of the powerful kingdom of Gondwana.

Construction: It is about 70 cm in length, it is made of a prism shaped sound box of mango wood, covered with. Membrane from a calfs stomach. The strings are made of horse hair. The neck inserted into the body is made from bamboo. The strings are stretched from the bottom of the shaft holding the instrument together, to the tuning pegs at the top. A bridge supports the strings from underneath the strings.

Citations: Bibliography: S. Hivle and V. Elwin; Songs of the Forest: The folk poetry of the Gonds [London, 1935] ; S. Hivale – The Pardhans of the Upper Narbada Valley [London, 1946] ; C. Von Fürer-Haimendorf: The Bards of the Raj Gonds, Eastern Anthropologist, iv [1950-51], Pp. 172, Genevieve Dournon ; Stanley Sadie – New Grove Dictionary of Music, Banam p. 119 ;


Name: Gadulka.
Type: Bowed > Chordophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.321.71
Country: Bulgaria.
Region: Balkans & South East Europe.

Description: The gadulka [in Bulgarian: гъдулка] alternate spellings include “gǎdulka”, “gudulka” and “g’dulka” is a bowed instrument having three playing strings although has  up to 16 additional sympathetic strings that resonate when the instrument is played. As a direct descendant of the Byzantine lyra the gadulka resembles Lyra Politica and Cretian Lyra in its appearance and over all sound. The Thracian gadulka is the largest the Dobrujan gadulka is slightly smaller in size.

Playing Techniques: Only the main melodic strings are touched by the player’s fingers. Where the gadulka differs from the violin in both construction and playing techniques is that the players finger does not actually touch the neck.

Gadulka Tunings
Name Tunings
Dobrujan A’ / E’ / A
Gabrovo or balkan A’ / A / E’
Thracian A’ / E’ / D’
Seligra Minchev [5 strings] G / C / G / D /

Construction: The gadulka commonly has three strings, sometimes occasionally four or five Mincho Minchev having up to 16 sympathetic strings underneath the playing strings. The addition of sympathetic strings were introduced by Mincho Nedyalkov.

Citations: Stanley Sadie ~ New Grove Dictionary of Music Volume Two G-O page, 2 article by Vergilij Atannassov ;


Name: Ching.
Type: Cymbals > Percussion > Metallophones > Idiophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 111.142
Country: Cambodia & Thailand.
Region: South East Asia.

Description: Ching [also spelled Chheng in Khmer: ឈិង or Chhing in Thai: ฉิ่ง] are finger cymbals played in Cambodian and Thai theater and dance ensembles.

Historical Context: Evidence of the ching has been found in Angkor, the great temple-city of Khmer civilization, where classical art flourished between the ninth to the fifth centuries. Scenes carved in the walls of the temple depict celestial dancers with their musical instruments, including small cymbals in the form of the ching.

Construction: The ching is Joined by a cord that runs through the center of each cymbal, ching are bowl-shaped, about 5 cm in diameter, and made of bronze alloy—iron, copper and gold. They are struck together in a cyclical pattern to keep time and regulate the melody, and they function as the “timekeeper” of the ensemble. The rhythm typically consists of alternating the accented closed stroke with an unaccented open “ching” stroke. The name “ching” is probably onomatopoeic for this open sound

Citations: Bibliography: Sam, Sam-Ang 1994 ; Ebihara ; Sam, Sam-Ang. Miller, Terry E.; Williams, Sean [eds.]. “The Khmer People of Cambodia”. The Garland Handbook of Southeast Asian Music ; Tran, Quang Hai. “Pin Peat” – Stanley Sadie, New Grove Dictionary of Music ;

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