Type: Chordophones > Zither > Box > Fretted.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 314.122.4
Region: Scandinavia & Northern Europe.
Description: The hummel [or humle] is a plucked, fretted, zither; whose name is an onomatopoeic probably derived from the [Dutch “hommelen” to ‘hum’ or ‘buzz’]. It is used in the low countries adjacent parts of Germany and also in Scandinavia. This instrument has its origins in the Scheitholt and the French Epinet De Vosges whose examples from the 17th century greatly resemble.
Playing Techniques: The fretted strings are stopped ad all strings sounded by the same method. Using a small pencil-stub sized stick to produce the notes when plucking the strings. Sometimes the Hummel was played with a bow in Friesland and the Low Country region of Holland and Germany.
Construction: Over time, the shape and design of the hummel has evolved from trapeziform, rectangular and in the shape of a fiddle, viol or a half bottle. The fretting of the hummel is diatonic and also bares up to 12 extra bourdons arranged in double or triple courses and attached to metal wrist pins. The design is identical to the French, Epinet Des Vosges, Scheitholt and Hungarian citera.
Citations: Bibliography: K. Douwe: ondersoek Grondig van tonen der musijk, Franezer, 1699 / R 1971 ; S. Walin: Die Schwedische Hummel / in English: The Swedish Hummel [Stockholm, 1953] ; F. J. de Han: Folk Instruments of Belgum, Part One, GSJm xxv 1972, 112 ;