Introduction 8

by Prof. Lydia Ayers
Chordophones: Strings
• A vibrating string produces sound.
• Important elements are the string and
a rigid frame to hold it tight.
• Plucked
• Struck
• Bowed
• Air
North American Folk Music
• Where was the farmer who wanted to win
the Nobel prize?
• Out standing in his field….
African Bow Harp
• <8:07> lullaby
– accompanied by bow harp with gourd
resonator, struck with stick
– Zulu people, Republic of South Africa
• African myth about the origin of
the bow harp:
Swazi man plays a musical bow
A young girl went out for a walk. She knelt down and
drank water with cupped hands at a stream. At the
very moment when she had satisfied her thirst, a
man dealt her a strong blow on the nape of the neck.
As she died, she immediately transformed into a
musical bow; her body became the wood, her limbs
the cord, her head the sound box, and her spirit the
melancholy and sentimental music.
• bow and arrow-like instrument
• folk ritual
• from African jungles of Angola to Bahia,
• played by striking the string with a stick
while stopping the string with a coin and
holding a shaker
• How to build and play the berimbau
probably came to Brazil from Africa
• Often compared to the moans of slaves
longing for their African homeland
• African musical bow primarily a solo
• Brazilian bow developed into an
ensemble instrument, employed in public
performances of capoeira and samba
• The word berimbau is Portuguese
<8:08> Capoeira
• Brazilian dance from martial arts
• accompanied by berimbau
– high note produced by coin pressed
against string (stopped)
– low note on open string (unstopped)
• Bengal folk instrument
• Spherical resonator
made of dried pumpkin,
wood or coconut
• Split bamboo cane neck
• String attached through
skin membrane on the
bottom of the resonator
One String Phono Fiddle
• A web search for “one string instrument”
produced a picture of the phono fiddle
– The bell amplifies the sound!!
Monochord: Đàn bầu
• Vietnamese
• Wood box resonator, with a
flexible vertical stick (neck), to
which one end of its string is tied
• Uses mostly harmonic overtones
• Subtle ornamentations, glissandi
and imitation of the human voice
produced by simultaneously
plucking the string and pulling
the vertical stick
• [iii:38] Hanh van from Tieng Đàn
<7:8> Bow Harp
• man singing and playing 2 bow harps
• Baule people, Ivory Coast
<7:9> Kora
• body half a large gourd
• thick center pole with 10 strings on one side,
and 11 on the other
kora maker
kora player
<5:5> Kulibit
• Bamboo tube zither from the
• popular during the Warring States period
– 12 to 21 strings, with movable
bridges like flying wild geese
– plucking techniques
– pressing techniques
– <3:13> shaking techniques
• [iii:8] <3:14> The Lotus is in Blossom
Above the Water
– The beginning of the music, like the red lotus
blossom out of the water, symbolizes the
prettiness and tenderness of the lotus
• the most ancient Chinese string
instrument used today
• playing was cultivated as a literary
pastime and for spiritual elevation
• Typical performing environment
– privacy and intimate surroundings of a
gentleman-scholar’s study
• Programmatic titles dominate
Qin / Guqin
• 7-string zither
• an instrument that has survived more
than 2,500 years
• an indigenous musical instrument (not
• The sound of the instrument is
extremely soft
– dynamic variations are confined to a
small range
• Minute differences in finger
techniques produce many shades of
musical timbre
– e.g. many kinds of vibratos, glissandi,
harmonics, etc.
• <3:15> video of qin on No 17 Cotton
Mill Shanghai Blues, Music in China
– groups of three
strings, like the
piano, but is
– tremolo technique
– tuning levers
Umut Yesilmen
Harry Partch's Instruments
[iv:37] Whoopie Ti-Yi-Yo,
Get Along Little Doggies
• Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer accompanied
by guitar and violin
Listening Practice
• [11] Samma means
raining in Mandinka
• Rain is a blessing that
helps new life to grow
and a hindrance that
prevents a man from
visiting his girlfriend.
• Foday Musa Suso,
• Pharoah Sanders,
Tenor Saxophone
• M1831.M36 J35 CD3510
Foday Musa Suso
• Books
– Nettl, Capwell, Bohlman, Wong and Turino:
Excursions in World Music
– Willoughby: The World of Music
– Mickey Hart & Fredric Lieberman: Planet Drum
– Jeff Todd Titon, ed.: Worlds of Music (3rd edition)
• Web
Sources: Videos & CDs
• Videos
– The Nature of Music, RM Arts [ML2790
N478 1988]
– Exploring the World of Music, vols. 1, 4
[MT7 E97 1998 v.4]
– Dizzy Gillespie: an all-star tribute to the
jazz master [M1366 .G555 1989]
– JVC video anthology of world music and
dance; v.29 [M1627 .J4 1991 v. 19, 29]
– Personal videos from Bali, Korea and

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