Type: Aerophones > Reeds > Shawms.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 422.112
Country: Southern, Iraq, Gulf States.
Region: Middle East & North Africa.
Description: The srnaj is an oboe with a conical bore, belonging to the shawm category of reed musical instruments. It is used by black musicians in Southern Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain and the gulf states. The srnaj is the only aerophone used in the musical ceremonies of the black population. It appears only in the Al Haywa [or leiwa] ensembles where it is accompanied by two msondo, a path [tanaka] and pipa.
In Some gulf states the tanaka is replaced by a barrel drum. The bright tone of the srnaj is suited for out-door gatherings. In the Al Haywa The srnaj is played in pairs, accompanied by a choir of singers. The melodies of the srnaj are often cyclic and quite long in repertoire, circular breathing is often used during performance.
Construction: The body is assembled in three sections, two of the sections are made of walnut [Juglans regia] or a similar hard wood. A large bell [hawān; or judges cap] between 7 cm to 16 cm in length, and about 10 cm wide and a middle section [mtāko], about 25 cm in length with six large finger holes one of which is often closed in Iraq and a thumb hole. The third section [manāra; minaret] is of metal and it is 20 cm in length. The reed of the srnaj is fitted with a broad reed of coconut stem, palm or tamarind, held in place by a pirouette of metal or coconut shell.
Citations: Bibliography: P. Rovsing, Olsen: ‘La Music africain dans le Golfe persique’, JIFMC, xix 1967, 28; A. A. Sarrai; Tubal al-Haywa [the drums of haywa] Baghdad, 1975 ; S. Qassim Hassan Les instruments de musique en Irak et lleur róle dans la société traditionelle Paris, 1980 Schereazade Qassam Hassan ; Stanley Sadie ~ New Grove Dictionary Of Music, Book P to Z, Page 442 ;