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Music of the World

A snapshot of musical instruments from around the globe.
by

Michelle Higham

on 29 October 2015

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Transcript of Music of the World

Music of the World
North America
South America
Africa
Europe
Asia
Australia
Pacific Islands
Middle East
Didgeridoo
one of the oldest instruments in the world
1 - 3 metres long
played using 'circular breathing'
Nose Flute
among Polynesian and Melanesian peoples, the breath as it comes out of the nose is said to possess the person’s soul.
the Tongan nose flute is called the fangufangu. It has six holes, 5 on top and one underneath. Traditionally it was used as a solo instrument, to accompany tranquil thought or to soothe nobility or royalty.
Shakuhachi
Japanese - originally used in sacred music played by Zen Buddhist monks. Some were known to wear a straw basket over their heads to hide their identity, as they were spies.
musical instrument - also a weapon.
Shamisen
a Japanese three-stringed instrument played with a plectrum called a 'bachi'.
in the past a special paper was used but the skin is usually from a dog or cat
on the skin of some of the best shamisen, the position of the cat's nipples can still be seen!
Koto
Japanese - 13 strings with moveable bridges
strings are plucked by a pick on the thumb and on two fingers
shamisen, koto and shakuhachi
koto playing
Dotar
pronounced 'dutar' - a traditional long-necked two-stringed lute found in Central Asia.
first played by shepherds in the 15th century - strings were then made from gut
Pakhavaj
an ancient Indian barrel-shaped percussion instrument
used as an accompaniment for various forms of music and dance performances
the pakhavaj has a low, mellow tone
Daf
a large-sized frame drum used to accompany both popular and classical music in many countries of the Middle East
a thin band made of hardwood is covered with goatskin on one side. It can also have rings or small cymbals along the rim.
Ney
an end-blown flute that figures prominently in Persian, Turkmen and West Asian music
it has been played continuously for 4,500–5,000 years
the upper edge of the ney, is placed between the two upper front teeth, inside the mouth. Moving the lip and tongue changes the pitch.
Hurdy Gurdy
thought to have originated in either Western Europe or the Middle East some time before the eleventh century A.D.
sound is created when the strings of the instrument pass over a rosined wheel (like a violin bow) that is turned with a handle
'tangents' on a keyboard are pressed to change the pitch
Oud
commonly used in Middle Eastern music
a plectrum is used to play the eleven strings
it has a bowl-like back resembling the outside of half a watermelon
there are one to three sound holes
Gaida
a bagpipe from South Eastern Europe (the Balkans). It originates from the territory of present-day Bulgaria.
an airtight sack made out of goat or sheep hide is squeezed under the player's arm to force air through the pipes
Bouzouki
a stringed instrument with a pear-shaped body and a very long neck, from Greece
mostly three courses (6 strings in 3 pairs), sometimes 4
Bodhran
an Irish frame drum ranging from 25 to 65cm in diameter
traditionally, goatskin was tacked to one side, nowadays synthetic material or even kangaroo skin is used
Gusle
a single-stringed musical instrument used in the Balkans and in the Dinarides region.
the gusle has either one string or two strings, made of thirty horsehairs and a bow (of horsehair) is used to play the strings
Balafon
West African
it has a resonated frame with wooden keys (17-21) that are hit with two padded sticks
gourds underneath the keys, amplify the sound
Kora
a 21-string harp-lute played by people in West Africa
a large calabash is cut in half and covered with cow skin to make a resonator
it has a notched bridge like a lute or guitar
the player uses only the thumb and index finger of both hands to pluck the strings
Mbira
from Zimbabwe but played all over Africa
also called 'thumb piano' or 'kalimba'
metal keys (or tongues) are attached to a board and plucked by the thumbs and right forefinger (if there are two rows of keys)
bottle caps or shells can be attached to create a percussive buzz
Charango
small South-American stringed instrument dating back as early as 1814
only 66 cm long and traditionally made with the shell of the back of an armadillo
Panpipes
Peru is one place of origin of the panpipes (or panflute)
it is played by blowing horizontally across the open end against the sharp inner edge of the pipes
Native
American
Flute
there are two different types of Native American flute, the plains flute and the woodlands flute, each with slightly different construction
originally, they were very personal instruments, played without accompaniment in courtship, healing, meditation, and spiritual rituals
Native
American
Drums
the basic construction is very similar in most tribes: a wooden frame or a carved and hollowed-out log, with finely tanned buckskin or elkskin stretched across the opening
they are played communally by groups of men who stand around them in a circle, however there are some tribes with individual hand drums
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