Name: Hoddu.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.5
Country: Gambia, Senegal, Guinea & Mali.
Region: West Africa.

Description: The hoddu a lute played by the Fulani people across many countries throughout West Africa from Gambia, Senegal, Guinea and Mali. In terms of organology the closest relatives of the hoddu include the N’goni [Mali], Xalam [Gambia, Senegal], Kontingo [Gambia] Tidinit [Mauritania]. These instruments and their relatives are the closest candidates for the predecessor of the banjo as they share some construction methods in common.

Construction: The hoddu is constructed from a carved wooden boat-like or trough shaped body. A neck with a tapered shaft is inserted through a hole in the wooden body. The neck is affixed together by the tension of the bridge and five nylon strings. The bridge is piece of gourd is cut into shape to function as a “tail” allowing for the strings to travel from bridge to end of neck.

Tuning is achieved by adjustable rings at the end of the neck of the neck. These rings are strips of hide that are folded together to hold the string in place. The body is completed by a finely stitched membrane of animal hide.

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