Home: Mbira.
Gallery: Idiophones > Lamellaphones > Combs.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 122.1
Country: Zimbabwe.
Region: Africa.

Mbira, Lamellaphone, Shona, Zimbabwe @ Horniman Museum, London, UK 2019

Description: The mbira [in Shona: pronounced as; m-BEER-ra , IPA (ə)mˈbɪəɾə)]; is a plucked lamellaphone in the Idiophones family of musical instruments. Lamellaphones of this type have a wide arch in distribution from Central African Republic, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Namibia. The mbira is traditional to the Shona people of Zimbabwe and furthest west from Nigeria to Sierra Leone.

Construction: It consists of body that is carved to form a box resonator fitted inside a gourd. It is fitted with keys that have been hammered and forged to form shape and achieve the desired tuning. Tines, bottle caps and other objects are attached to function as rattles or buzzers on the instrument. They also provide aesthetic and ornamentation.

Citations: Bibliography: The Soul Of Mbira by Paul F. Berliner: Music and traditions of the Shona People of Zimbabwe, with an appendix: Building and Playing A Shona Mbira ISBN: 0-520-04268-9     Berkeley 94720 ;