Category Archives: Kisanji



Name: Kisanji.
Type: Idiophones > Lamellophones > Combs >
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 122.1
Country: DR, Congo.
Region: Africa.

Description: The kisanji is a plucked lamellophone that is played by the Ngala speaking people in DR. Congo and Eastern Congo Republic. Alternate names or this instrument include; Ikembe, Chisanji, Eleke or Sanza.

Playing Techniques: It is played by holding the instrument in both hands and plucking the keys with the thumbs. The pitch of each metal key is determined by the length and width of the key.

Tuning: The most common tuning is the pentatonic scale without semitones, for example do re mi sol la or C D E G A, which varies by region. The music played on the sanza is polyrhythmic with overlapping rhythms. The instrument is often used to accompany the voice, to great effect.

Construction: Most often the placement of the keys is symmetrical, with the lowest keys in the middle and the higher keys on each end of the instrument.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites: