Qin Qin

Name: Qin Qin.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.6
Bayin: 絲 Silk.
Specimen: Cantonese, 1 in collection.
Country: China, Vietnam.
Region: Far East Asia & South East Asia.

Description: The qinqin [in Chinese: 秦琴; pinyin: qínqín; in Vietnamese: Dan-tru] is a plucked Chinese lute. This instrument is also referred to as meihuaqin [梅花琴, literally “plum blossom instrument”]. In China there are varieties of Qin Qin, the Cantonese type of Qin Qin lacks raised frets is favoured in Cantonese music. The qinqin is particularly popular in southern China: in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau.

A similar instrument as played in Vietnam; the two-stringed đàn sến was adapted from the qinqin for use in the traditional music of southern Vietnam. The frets on Chinese lutes as played in Mainland China. Their frets are high so that the fingers never touch the actual body. This allows for a greater control over timbre and intonation than their western counterparts, but makes chordal playing more difficult.

Note: On my specimen the qin qin is fretted with brass frets as seen on western instruments. The difference is the fretting is done in a diatonic manner. In China variety of Qin Qin lacking the raised frets is favoured in Cantonese music.

Qin Qin Tunings
Names Courses Tunings
China 3 Strings G D A
Cantonese 4 Strings G D G D

Construction: It was originally manufactured with a wooden body, a slender fretted neck, and three strings. Its body can be round, hexagonal with rounded sides, or octagonal. Often, only two strings were used, as in certain regional silk-and-bamboo ensembles. In its hexagonal form having rounded sides.

Citations:

Liuqin

Name: Liuqin.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.321.6
Bayin: 絲 Silk.
Country: China.
Regions: Far East Asia.
Dimensions: Scale length in cm.
Acquisition Source: Randy Raine-Reusch @ asza.com.

Description: The liuqin [in Chinese: 柳琴 in pinyin; liǔqín] is a four-stringed Chinese lute, having a pear shaped body. Throughout history, the liuqin had gone by various names, firstly the liuyeqin [柳葉琴] meaning willow-leaf-shaped instrument.

This was the original term for the liuqin, which is visibly an abbreviation of the term liuyeqin. The other reference to the liuqin is the tu pipa [土琵琶], literally meaning unrefined pipa, because of the aforementioned diminutive size and resemblance of the liuqin to the pipa.

Origins: The liuqin evolved over time since its debut in Dynastic China and Qing Dynasty China. The two-stringed liuqin remained in use for much of dynastic China from the Qing Dynasty until the late 20th century. This version had two strings and was only used for accompaniment purposes in traditional operas. The earliest precursor of the modern four-stringed version of the instrument appeared and experienced popularity during the Qing Dynasty. 

Liuqin Tunings
Names Tunings
   
   
   
   

With the modernization of traditional Chinese music in the 1970s, the four-stringed liuqin was developed as an improvement to its musical range, and the body of the instrument was enlarged to allow the player to handle the instrument with greater ease.

Citations:

Pipa

Name: Pipa.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.6
Bayin: 絲 Silk.
Tuning: A D E A
Country: China.
Region: Far East Asia.

Description: The pipa [in Chinese: 琵琶 pipa] is a four-stringed Chinese musical instrument. In the Chinese classification system this instrument is listed under the “silk” category. Having a pear-shaped wooden body with a varying number of frets ranging from 12 to 26.

Another Chinese four-string plucked lute is the liuqin, which looks like a smaller version of the pipa. The pear-shaped instrument may have existed in China as early as the Han dynasty, and although historically the term pipa was once used to refer to a variety of plucked chordophones, its usage since the Song dynasty refers exclusively to the pear-shaped instrument.

History: In the Chinese narrative, the pipa is associated with Princess Liu Xijun and Wang Zhaojun of the Han Dynasty. Although the form of pipa they played in that period is unlikely to be pear-shaped as they are now usually depicted. Other early known players of pipa include General Xie Shang [謝尚] from the Jin Dynasty who was described to have performed it with his leg raised.

The introduction of pipa from Central Asia also brought with it virtuoso performers from that region, for example Sujiva [蘇祇婆, Sujipo] from the Kingdom of Kucha during the Northern Zhou Dynasty, Kang Kunlun [康崑崙] from Kangju, and Pei Luoer [裴洛兒] from Shule.

Pei Luoer was known for pioneering finger-playing techniques, The heptatonic scale was used for a time afterwards in the imperial court due to Sujiva’s influence until it was later abandoned. These players had considerable influence on the development of pipa playing in China. Of particular fame were the family of pipa players founded by Cao Poluomen [曹婆羅門] and who were active for many generations from the Northern Wei to Tang Dynasty.

Repertoire: Pipa has been played solo, or as part of a large ensemble or small group since the early times. Few pieces for pipa survived from the early periods, some however are preserved in Japan as part of togaku [Tang music] tradition. In the early 20th century, twenty-five pieces were found amongst 10th-century manuscripts in the Mogao caves near Dunghuang, most of these pieces however may have originated from the Tang Dynasty.

The scores were written in tablature form with no information on tuning given, there are therefore uncertainties in the reconstruction of the music as well as deciphering other symbols in the score. Three Ming Dynasty pieces were discovered in the High River Flows East [高河江東, Gaohe Jiangdong] collection dating from 1528 which are very similar to those performed today, such as “The Moon on High” [月兒高, Yue-er Gao]. During the Qing Dynasty, scores for pipa were collected in Thirteen Pieces for Strings.

Schools: There are a number of different traditions with different styles of playing the pipa in various regions of China. Some of these traditions developed into their own respective schools. In the narrative traditions where the pipa is used as an accompaniment to narrative singing, there are the Suzhou tanci [蘇州彈詞] Sichuan qingyin [四川清音] and Northern quyi [北方曲藝] genres.

Pipa is also an important component of regional chamber ensemble traditions such as Jiangnan sizhu, Teochew string music and Nanguan ensemble. In Nanguan music, the pipa is still held in the near-horizontal position or guitar-fashion in the ancient manner instead of the vertical position normally used for solo playing in the present day.

There were originally two major schools of pipa during the Qing Dynasty — the Northern [Zhili, 直隸派] and Southern [Zhejiang, 浙江派] schools and from these emerged the five main schools associated with the solo tradition. Each school is associated with one or more collections of pipa music and named after its place of origin.

Construction:

Citations:

Phin

Name: Phin.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.6
Country: Isan region, Thailand & Laos.
Region: South East Asia.

Description: The Phin [in Thai: พิณ, pronounced in IPA: pʰīn] is a lute that is played in the Isan region of Thailand and played mostly by ethnic Laotians in Thailand and Laos. Having a pear shaped body and only three single strings.

The neck of the Phin has a total of 15 frets. The frets installed on the Phin do not fall within the 12-tone Chromatic scale as seen on Western instruments such as the guitar. The body is originally acoustic which these are still available. Phin’s with solid bodies and electric pickups are becoming quite common.

Citations:

Qanbus

Name: Qanbus.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.6
Tuning: G B D A E [Sachs].
Country: Yemen, Malaysia.
Region: Middle East, Africa & South East Asia.

Description: A qanbūs or gambus [in Arabic: قنبوس‎ qanbūs] is a short-necked lute that originated in Yemen and spread throughout the Arabian peninsula. Sachs considered that it derived its name from the Turkic khomuz, but it is more comparable to the oud.

Distribution: The qanbūs spread throughout the Middle East, on route to South East Asia by trade routes on the Indian Ocean. Southeast Asia especially Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei where it is called the gambus, it sparked a whole musical genre of its own.

Today it is played in Johor, South Malaysia, in the traditional dance Zapin and other genres, such as the Malay ghazal and an ensemble known as kumpulan gambus “gambus group”. Kumpulan gambus can also be found active in Sabah, especially in the Bongawan district of East Malaysian Borneo. In the Comoros it is known as gabusi and in Zanzibar as gabbus.

Citations: Bibliography: Stanley Sadie ~ New Grove Dictionary of Music – Page 9, Gambus by Margaret J. Kartomi ;

Banjo

Name: Banjo.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Spike.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.5
Country: Many, Diaspora & USA.
Region: North America.

Description: The banjo is a four or five stringed spike bowl lute, that is a member of the lute family of Chordophones. This instrument is a descendant from African lutes including the N’goni of Mali and the Akonting of the Jola people Gambia and Senegal and possibly many other similar lutes.

History: There are numerous different instruments that which the banjo may or may not originate from yet they share similar features in their construction. That is they are constructed from a simple design of a gourd and a neck. A membrane covers the gourd completing the resonator. The membrane is held in place usually by thumbtacks. Instruments like the Akonting, Hoddu, N’goni and Xalam share this feature in their individual constructions.

Banjos with fingerboards and tuning pegs are known from the Caribbean as early as the 17th century. Some 18th- and early 19th-century writers transcribed the name of these instruments variously as bangie, banza, bonjaw, banjer and banjar. Another likely relative of the banjo is the akonting, a spike folk lute played by the Jola tribe of Senegambia and the ubaw-akwala of the Igbo.

Similar instruments include the xalam of Senegal and the ngoni of the Wassoulou region including parts of Mali, Guinea and Ivory Coast, as well as a larger variation of the ngoni known as the gimbri developed in Morocco by Back Sub-Saharan Africans [Gnawa or Haratin].

This instrument was introduced into the United States from the Caribbean by African Slaves. Similarities have been observed in the playing techniques of the banjo to its West African analogues. Notably among the lutes mentioned as the possible candidates for the origins of the banjo.  

Etymology: There are several claims as to the etymology of the name “Banjo” that have been made. It may drive from the Kimbundu word mbanza, banza: a vihuela  with five two-string courses and a further two short strings. The Oxford English Dictionary states that it comes from a dialectal pronunciation of Portuguese bandore or from an early Anglicization of Spanish bandurria. The name may also derive from a traditional Afro-Caribbean folk dance called “banya”, which incorporates several cultural elements found throughout the African diaspora.

Usage: The banjo we know today having the circular body and five strings was invented by Joel Walker Sweeney [1810 – October 29, 1860] In the context of North American music the banjo is played in Minstrel, Appalachian, Old-Time, Bluegrass, Blues, Jug-band, Ragtime, Jazz [namely the Dixieland Jazz and during the roaring 20s. Outside of the familiar genres for the banjo compositions have been written in for musics in other genres.

The banjo is quite popular and widespread throughout the neighbouring islands from Jamaica where it is played as a lead instrument in Mento ensembles. In Brazil one finds a banjo derivative under the names of Samba Banjo or Banjo-Cavaco.

4 String / Banjo Tunings
Names Nomenclature Tunings
  Reentrant C G D A
  Reentrant D G C E
    D G C D
    C G B D

5 String / Banjo Tunings
Names Nomenclature Tunings
Standard Open G g D G B D
  Open G+2 a E A C #E
  Open G-3 e B E G# B
  Open G-2 f C F A C
  Raised 5th a D G B D
  Raised 5th b D G B D
Tommy Jarrell Open A a A A C# E

Varieties: One finds the six banjo-guitar [banjitar]; the eight stringed banjo-mandolin or banjolin, or the four stringed banjo-ukulele.

The Banjo Family: A family of banjos was modelled after the mandolin orchestra this including a bass banjo that is positioned by standing up on a spike mounted at the bottom of the instrument. There are many varieties of bass banjo from individual makers. A. C. Fairbanks, A. A. Farland and Gold Tone who remains the only current manufacturer of bass-banjos in the 21st century.

Construction: Having a thin membrane that is stretched over a cavity as the resonator. This component is called the “head”, which is typically circular in shape. Currently the membrane is usually made of plastic, although in the past the membrane was of animal skin.

A fretted neck utilizing the chromatic scale is added into the body in which the bottom shaft of the neck keeps the body and neck secure in place. The bridge is moveable allowing for the fine tuning of the strings to improve melodic resonance. Four or five single strings run across the front of the banjo from tailpiece to head stock. 

Citations: Bibliography: Bob Winans, George Gibson 2018; “Black Banjo, Fiddle and Dance in Kentucky and the Amalgamation of African American and Anglo American Folk Music”; Banjo Roots and Branches. Urbana: University of Illinois. pp. 226, 231, 242–246 ;

Pena

Name: Pena.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Spike > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.7
Country: Manipur, India.
Region: South Asia.

Description: The [in Meetei: ꯄꯦꯅꯥ Pena ; in Tangkhul or Naga Language ; Tingtelia] is a mono string instrument falling in the lute category, similar to some of the traditional Indian stringed musical instruments such as Ravanahatha, Ubo or the Kenda that found in various parts of the country.

Etymology: It is generally believed that the name of the instrument is a derivation of the ancient Meetei term, Pena sheijing Pena. The Nagas call the instrument, Tingtelia. It is the traditional music instrument of the Meetei community of Manipur, India. The Pena is also found in some regions in Bangladesh. It is played either solo or in group, in folk music or as the accompanying musical instrument for Lai Haraoba festivals.

Pena playing is becoming a dying art as only 145 active Pena players are reported in Manipur. The Center for Research on Traditional and Indigenous Art [Laihui], an organization headed by renowned Pena player, Khangembam Mangi Singh has mandated a vision to revive Pena music.

History: The Pena, considered to be one of the oldest Meetei musical instruments, was once believed to be a part of luxurious living and was played at the royal gatherings. However, the instrument slowly got associated with the folk culture of Manipur and Bangladesh where its presence became regular during festivals. Manipuri festival of Lai Haraoba fostered the use of the instrument considerably. Later, it also made its presence in the folk theatre.

Pena Repertoire
 Names Type
1. Yaikairol Morning
2. Lai-eekouba Festivals
3. Khunung-Eesei Folk
4. Luhongba Marriage
5. Wari -Liba Narrating Story
6. PuYa Paba PuYa

Construction: The instrument consist of two parts, the main body, penamasa or dhorr which is similar to that of a violin and the bow, pena cheijing or chorr, which is more resembling an archery bow than a violin bow. The main body is made out of a length of bamboo ranging from 25.4 cm or 10 inches to 27.94 cm or 11 inches long and 2.54 cm or 1 inch to 3.175 cm or 1.25 inches girth.

The girth is affixed to a coconut shell that is cut in half. Through two holes bore through the shell. Two additional holes are also drilled on the coconut shell for acoustic purposes. One of which is covered by dried animal skin such as iguana skin and the other, left open.

The tension of the string is controlled by a bamboo peg, called kaan and is fitted inside a hole drilled on the bamboo rod. A scroll, mogra, is also tied to the instrument tail. The bow is wooden and bears a curved flourish at one end which is made of metal. In some parts, the bow also features tiny metal bells. The string is traditionally made of horse hair but, sometimes, metal strings and strings made out of wood fibre are also used.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites: [Youtube] Pena Demonstration – Pena being revived in Manipur, India ;

Chiwang

Name: Chiwang.
Type: Chordophones > Spike > Lutes.
Hornbostel Sachs No#: 321.313.7
Country: Bhutan.
Region: South Asia.

Description: The chiwang [in Dzongkha : སྤྱི་དབང་; Wylie: spyi-dbang]. It is a type of spike-fiddle played in Bhutan. The chiwang, the lingm [flute] and the dramyen [lute] comprise the basic instrumental inventory for traditional Bhutanese folk music.

Although the chiwang is considered typically Bhutanese, it is a variety of the piwang a Tibetan two-stringed fiddle. It is heavily associated with boedra, one of two dominant genres of Bhutanese folk music, in which it symbolizes a horse.

Citations: Bibliography: Kinga, Sonam 2003. “The Attributes and Values of Folk and Popular Songs” [PDF]. Journal of Bhutan Studies. 3 [1]: 132–170. Retrieved 2011-10-30. Dorji, C. T 1994. History of Bhutan Based on Buddhism – Sangay Xam; Prominent Publishers. p. 15. ISBN 81-86239-01-4. Retrieved 2011-10-30. Clements, William M. 2006 ; The Greenwood Encyclopedia of World Folklore and Folklife: Southeast Asia and India, Central and East Asia, Middle East. 2. Greenwood Press. pp. 106–110. ISBN 0-313-32849-8. Retrieved 2011-10-16 ;

Ravanahatha

Name: Ravanahatha.
Type: Chordophone > Lute > Spike > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.7
Tuning: Often in C [Sa].
Country: Asia.
Region: South Asia.

Description: A ravanahatha [in Hindi: रावणहाथा raavanahaatha] whose variant names include: ravanhatta, rawanhattha, ravanastron, ravana hasta veena. It is a bowed instrument of ancient origins. It is played in Rajasthan India and Sri Lanka. In Indian and Sri Lankan tradition, the ravanahatha is believed to have originated among the Tamil and Hela people of Lanka during the time of the legendary king Ravana, after whom the instrument is supposedly named.

According to legend, Ravana used the ravanahatha in his devotions to the Hindu God Shiva. In the Hindu Ramayana epic, after the war between Rama and Ravana, Hanuman returned to North India with a ravanahatha. The ravanahatha is particularly popular among street musicians in Rajasthan, North India.

Construction: The Ravanahatha is a bowed lute having a small sized body who has a shaft is inserted. The Ravanahatha has 10 indavidual sympathetic strings in addition to the two playing strings. In Sri Lanka Ravanhatta’s are constructed with only three playing strings although much in the same approach as its Rajasthani counterpart. 

Citations: Bibliography: Choudhary S. Dhar 2010. The Origin and Evolution of Violin as a Musical Instrument and Its Contribution to the Progressive Flow of Indian Classical Music: In search of the historical roots of violin – Ramakrisna Vedanta Math – ISBN 9380568061 ; Balachandran, PK 7 February 2011 – A musical instrument played by Ravana Himself! ; New Indian Express. Retrieved 1 May 2013 ;  The Sunday Times, Sri Lanka, 8 March 2015 ; Dinesh records highest sale for an instrumental. Retrieved 16 July 2015 ; 

Kikir

Name: Kikir.
Type: Chordophones > Spike > Lute
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.313.7
Country: Madyar Pradesh, India.
Region: South Asia.

Description: Three-string bowed lute of Madhya Pradesh, India.

Construction: The kingri is also said to have a resonator box made from unglazed pottery. The kingri has a skin on a small unglazed clay body; It is pronounced as Kingli without abbreviation.

Citation: Bibliography: Stanley Sadie – New Grove Dictionary of Music Volume 2, Book G-O ;

Welcome to the…