Tag Archives: Monochord


Name: Masenqo.
Type: Chordophone > Spike > Lute > Monochord > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.311
Country: Ethiopia & Eritrea.
Region: Africa.

Description: The mesenqo [also spelled mesenko, mesenqo, mesenko, mesinko or mesinqo in Amharic] or chira-wata [in Tigrinya] it is called in neighbouring Eritrea. It is the main instruments to accompany vocals, among the azmaris. Although it functions in a purely accompaniment capacity in songs, the masenqo requires considerable virtuosity.

Construction: It is a single stringed bowed monochord spike fiddle having square shaped body in which a shaft having a single friction tuning peg is inserted. Horse hair travels from tail end to the tuning peg. A loose moveable bridge is placed in between the string and body. Although the string travels through a drilled hole just beneath the top of the bridge.

Citations: Bibliography: Shelemay, Kay Kaufman, Stanley Sadie, John Tyrrell, [eds.] The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. viii [2 ed.] 2001 London: Macmillan. pp. 355–356 ; Websites: Youtube Video of Man Playing Mesenqo ;