Adungu

Name: Adungu.
Type: Chordophones > Harps > Arched.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 322.11
Area: North Western.
Country: Uganda.
Region: Africa.

Description: The adungu, ekidongo or ennenga is a stringed arched or bowed harp that is played by the Alur people of North Western Uganda. The dimensions vary in physical and size and shape. This is also the case with the amount of strings ranging from seven to ten strings or more.

Playing Technique: The musical form commonly known as adungu music, is tuned to the diatonic major scale of classic European music and bears the influence of the British presence in Uganda. The a’dungu may be played alone, in an ensemble or as vocal accompaniment. The instrument appears in various sizes that can be loosely categorized into soprano, alto, tenor and bass. A’dungu’ are often played in quartets or quintets.

The strings of the bass a’dungu are tuned only to the pitches of the tonic triad, and more notes can be played by placing the finger on a string any distance from the neck to raise the pitch. The tenor, alto, and soprano a’dungus are tuned to the pitches of a diatonic major scale. The bass and tenor instruments are played on the ground, while the alto and soprano are played held against the chest.

The Tuning: Tuning is not standardized and players will usually tune by ear to each other shortly before a performance. The a’dungus are not in a particular key, and the tonality can be adapted to the preferences of the performers. The adungu is not used for melody rather it is used in outlining chords in complex arpeggiations giving simple tonal chord progressions  and incorporating syncopated rhythm.

Construction: The adungu is made of a hollowed-out slab of wood, which is covered by two pieces of leather, woven together in the centre. The upper piece of leather functions as a soundboard and a wooden rib supports it.

Serving also as a structure to secure the strings to the soundboard. A curved wooden neck containing a tuning peg for each note. The neck is inserted into the end of the instrument’s body. The strings run diagonally from the tuning pegs in the neck to the rib in the center of the body.

Citations: Bibliography: Klabunde, Martin [2011]. Learn to Play the Adungu!: Bow Harp from Northern Uganda. Seattle: CreateSpace. ISBN 1463558589 ; Jump up to: a b Solomon, Thomas [2012]. Nannyonga-Tamusuza, Sylvia A. [ed.]. Ethnomusicology in East Africa: Perspectives from Uganda and Beyond. Kampala: African Books Collective. p. 200. ISBN 997025135X ; Websites:

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