Tag Archives: Gallery



Name: Mandolino.
Type: Chordophones > Composites > Lute.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.321.6 [Roman].
Era: 1700s.
Country: Italy, Many.
Region: Europe.

Mandolino, Photographed by Graeme Gibson © Horniman Museum, London UK 2019

Description: The mandolino is the Roman mandolin, having six double courses or 12 strings in total with gut strings. Thirteen staves  ebony and ivory with floral engravings and a sickle-shaped peg box, is shown with its carrying box. It is the type of mandolin for which Antonio Vivaldi wrote his numerous mandolin concerti.



Citations: Bibliography: Websites: The MET / Mandolino ;


Name: Mandora.
Type: Chordophones > Composites > Lutes > Mandolin.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.321.6
Era: 18th and early 19th-century.
Region: Europe.


Mandora Tunings
Names Tunings
E G C f a d
F G c f a d
E A D g b d
E A D g b e’
C D G c e a

Tunings: In the 18th century, mandora was the name of a six-course lute about 70 cm in length from bridge to nut. It is tuned from low to high F G c f a d or E A D g b e or rarely E A d g b e with two or three additional bass courses. With the former tuning, the instrument was called Calichonor Galichon in Bohemia.

Around 1800 a mutual interchange between the mandora and the guitar took place. The guitar, which had so far been tuned in re-entrant tuning [a d g b e] took over the 6th course and the tuning of the mandora G A D g b e later E A D g b d, whereas the mandora took over the stringing with single strings instead of courses, as had been introduced to the guitar. The so-called wandervogellaute has been a late heir to that development.

From another source on tuning: Two tunings are reported: a ‘galizona’ or ‘colachon’ is tuned A’ ( or ) –B’ ( or ) –C D G c e a and, under a separate heading, ‘mandora’ is given as D ( or ) –E ( or ) F G c f a d’ i.e. the same tuning but a 4th higher or E A d g b e’ identical to that of the modern guitar.

The playing technique for the mandora involves the same basic right-hand finger style as for all 18th-century lutes and, because of the tuning intervals of the upper five courses, a left-hand technique that is similar to that of the 18th-century guitar.


Name: Arbana.
Type: Membranophones > Drums > Frame.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#:
Area: Kerala, South India.
Country: India.
Region: South Asia.

Description: The arbana is a circular frame drum of the Māppila [Muslims] of Kerala, south India. The frame of the drum is made from jackwood. A membrane of goat skin is applied to the front of the frame with out tightening it.

Five sets of little cymbals are affixed to a nail. Each cymbal each consisting of two to four iron or brass discs. Measures 25 cm in diameter and 5.5 cm in depth and is reinforced by iron flanges.  Before the drum is used, the head is stretched by inserting a piece of vine in the space between the skin and the frame.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites: Grove Music Online / Arbana by Pribislav Pitoëff ;



Name: Leiqin.
Type: Chordophones > Composites > Lutes > Spiked > Huqins > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.321.7
Bayin: SÍ 絲 Silk.
Era: 1920s.
Inventor: Wang Dianyu.
Country: China.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The Leiqin [in Chinese: 擂琴 or 擂琴 ; in Pinyin: léiqín, literal translation means “thundering instrument”] is also called leihu, which appeared during the 1920s. It was designed by a civilian artist named Wang Dianyu in imitation of another kind of musical instrument named zhuihu. He was born in a poor family in Shandong province.

History: When he was young, he went blind from smallpox. However, he showed diligence and talent in learning to perform many musical instruments including zhuihu. At the end of the 1920s, he made great changes to zhuihu. The shaft was lengthened. The length of the body was expanded, which was covered with the skin of boa. The new instrument became louder and the range was increased. In 1953, it was called “leiqin” formally.

At the end of the 1920s, he made great changes to the pre-existing zhuihu. The shaft was lengthened, and the sound box was expanded. Whose membrane was boa skin was then applied. The new instrument became louder, and the range was increased. In 1953, it was called “leiqin” formally.

Playing Techniques: The performers should sit while playing. The canister is put on the left leg, with the left hand pressing the strings and a bow in the right hand plucking. In most cases, the performer uses his or her index finger and the third finger to press the strings. The Leiqin has a wide range, a high volume and a soft tone.

It can perform solo, concert and in ensemble. Additionally, it can produce sound in imitation of human voices, arias of the Chinese operas, calling of the animals and the sound effect of the orchestral and percussion instruments such as the urhien, gong, drum and so on.

Construction: The instrument is assembled of five parts. The shaft, head and tuning page are made of hardwood. The head is like a shovel. The surface of the tuning page is carved. The canister is made of copperplate. The bow is longer than that of the urhien. There are two specifications of leiqin. The longer instrument measures at 110 cm at the length of the neck from sound body to head-stock. While the the shorter sized leiqin is measured at 90 cm in length.

Usually, the instrument is tuned according to the preferences of the performers. There may be three and half octaves within the range. The range of the small leiqin is the same as the big one, which is one octave higher than the latter.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites: Leiqin article / wayback machine ;