what John Diliberto, Kimberly Haas, or the musicians that appear
on Echoes are talking about? Here are brief descriptions of a few of the
unfamiliar instruments, styles and terminology you might come across on
Abbess and mystic known for composing Gregorian chants of rare power
and mystery. Her music has been preserved by many groups, including
Sequentia and Gothic Voices, and brought
into a modern context by Vox, Richard Souther,
- A harp played
by wind passing through the strings. It takes its name from Aeoleus,
the Greek god of the wind.
- In Indian music,
an improvisation introducing the Raga. Usually played
unaccompanied in free rhythm by the lead instrumentalist, it establishes
the scale of notes that will be heard in the raga.
- A term popularized
by Brian Eno in the late 1970s to describe music he
made that could exist in the foreground or background. Eno modeled his
compositions after Eric Satie's "Furniture Music," useful
music that did not demand one's complete attention, but existed in the
room like furniture. More than a decade after Eno's Ambient 1:
Music for Airports album was released in 1978, the term was adopted
by a wave of musicians emerging from the electronic dance-music scene.
Ambient is now often used as an adjective, "Ambient House"
"Ambient Dub" or "Ambient Jungle" for instance.
This newer ambient music was derived from the techno dance scene, and
could still contain dance beats, but slowed-down or low in the mix.
This music originated in "chill-out rooms" at clubs or raves
where a D.J. would spin discs to create a calm space for recovering
from frenetic techno dancing. It has developed into a genre of its own,
independent of the dance scene, and contains many varied sub-styles.
Now, the term "ambient" is used to describe a wide range of
music from many disciplines with only an avoidance of traditional song-structure
- A term used on
Echoes for a program that highlights an important and
influential artist, group or album from the early days of the music
we play on Echoes.
- An Indonesian
tuned bamboo rattle, usually arrayed in a set with a range of different
- An Andean Pan-Pipe.
- A Turkish long-necked
lute with strings tuned in pairs.
- A reed instrument
with several drone pipes and a melody pipe, or "chanter",
all attached to a bag held under the arm. The player blows air into
the bag and squeezes with the arm, creating a constant flow of air to
feed the pipes, allowing a continuous drone. Most often associated with
Scotland, many cultures have bagpipes, including the central European
Gaida, the Spanish Gaita, the Italian Zampogna
and many others ranging from Europe, through North Africa and into India.
- An African xylophone
with wooden keys and gourd resonators that hang beneath the keys. These
gourds often have membranes stretched across them to create a buzz.
- A button Accordion
popular in Argentinean music.
- A North African
frame drum usually with strings stretched across
the underside of the drum head to create a buzzing tone.
- A musical bow
from Brazil, played with a short stick.
- The early innovators
in electronic "space music" were mostly located around Berlin.
The term has come to refer to music in the style of the early and mid
1970s works of Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream,
Ash Ra Tempel, Popol Vuh and others
in that scene. The music is characterized by long compositions, looping
sequencer patterns, and improvised lead melody lines.
- a wide-bodied
Japanese lute, similar to the Chinese Pipa.
- a frame
drum from Ireland usually held in one hand by its cross-braces,
and played with both ends of a short stick.
- A long-necked
lute derived from the Turkish Saz, it features pairs of strings tuned
together. Important in Greek music, it has also become popular in Ireland.
- A recording from
1955 of a Bulgarian choir formed by Philip Koutev was an underground
favorite of musicians for years. But better-known is a later recording
of a different group, the Bulgarian State Television and Radio Female
Vocal Choir. Since the end of state funding there has been some confusion
over how to refer to the group, and even which of several choirs is
the "official" group. The state choir, which had frequently
changed personnel since its creation in the early 1950s, gained world-wide
fame in 1987 with Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares, a recording
by Marcel Cellier. Cellier released two more "Mystere" recordings
and the group adopted Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares
as the official name of the choir. With the end of state sponsorship,
several choirs emerged, each with singers and/or choral directors originally
from the "official" group. All of the groups follow Koutev's
example of formalizing Bulgarian folk songs while retaining the unique
style based on traditional rural singing. Unusual harmonies, especially
parallel seconds, the "open throat" style of singing without
vibrato, and imitative sounds that recall the pastoral landscapes from
which these melodies come, make this music distinctive. Three singers
from the choir formed the Trio Bulgarka, which has recordings of its
own and appears on Kate Bush's album The Sensual
- A simple instrument
found in many cultures. It usually consists of a small flat piece of
wood which is spun around on the end of a string to make a low, buzzing,
- An abbreviation
of Compact Disc, Read-Only Memory. The discs themselves are identical
to audio CDs, but they contain many different types of data, rather
than just coded audio. On a computer, one can read the data which can
contain graphics, sound, video, text, and other information. Musicians
now often include a CD-ROM track on their audio CDs, or release complete
CD-ROMs that include music and videos, lyrics, information about the
artists, and even interactive adventures.
- A Chinese zither
without frets or moveable bridges. It is considered the forerunner of
all eastern zithers.
- An instrument
created by Emmet Chapman that resembles an electric
guitar, but with no body, just an oversized fretboard. The standard
model has ten strings that cover the range of a bass and lead guitar.
It is played by the fingers of both hands "hammering
on" rather than plucking with one hand and fretting with the
- A small guitar-like
instrument from South America. The body is built from, or at least modeled
after, an armadillo shell.
- A Chinese zither
with moveable bridges, the precursor of the Japanese Koto.
- A hammer
dulcimer from central and eastern Europe.
- A technique used
by players of wind-driven instruments to create an uninterrupted flow
of sound. Air is blown out from a reserve in the cheeks while inhaling
through the nose. This technique is vital to players of the didgeridoo, and has been adopted by players of woodwinds, brass
- Abbreviation for
Digital Audio Tape, specifically a certain type of digital tape, resembling
a small videocassette, on which one can record stereo audio and subcoded
index and time information. The high audio quality at a (relatively)
low price made DAT a defacto standard in the music industry in the 1990s,
from amateur musicians to major studios. Music publishers' concerns
over bootlegging of copyrighted material resulted in adding SCMS (Serial
Copy Management System) on consumer DAT recorders, which limits digital
dubbing of tapes. This restriction, along with high prices, seemed to
dissuade the consumer market from embracing the technology, and most
companies are only making recorders for the pro and semi-pro recording
market. Recordable CDs have made DATs less prevalent.
- A large middle-eastern
frame drum, usually with jingles like a tambourine.
- A two-headed barrel
drum from South India. The two heads are tuned differently, one played
with one open hand, the other with a stick.
- An instrument created
by the aboriginal people of Australia. It is simply a tree branch hollowed-out
by termites. One end is treated with beeswax to smooth the edge, and
that end of the branch is blown much like a trumpet, employing circular
breathing to maintain a steady drone. The pitch is fixed, determined
by the length of the didgeridoo, although many tonal and melodic variations
are possible by over-blowing and adding vocalizations. Some players
have constructed slide-didgeridoos out of two pieces of PVC pipe, allowing them to alter the pitch by changing the length
of the tube. Almost any tube can be used as a didg, and players in the
American South-West have created "Dream-Pipes" from Saguaro
- A electronic process
used to simulate the sound reflections present in real spaces. Feeding
a sound into a digital reverberator allows an engineer to make it seem
that the sound is being produced in a concert hall, a closet, a train
station, or even non-existent or impossible spaces. "Reverb"
can be used to create lush, spacy ambiences, or to add realism by re-creating
natural reflections that may be missing due to the recording technique.
Digital Delay or Echo is usually differentiated from reverb by having
one or more discrete repetitions of the sound, while reverb usually
features many indistinguishable refections close together in time.
- A bowed instrument
from India, with four melody strings and 24 strings that resonate sympathetically.
The neck has frets like a sitar, and the bridge
rests on a stretched skin, like a sarod.
- A large goblet-shaped
wooden drum from Africa. The player straddles the drum, which is often
hung by a harness around the neck and shoulders. The goat-skin drum
head is played with open hands; the center of the head gives a deep
booming tone, while a strike near the rim creates a sharp, piercing
- An acoustic guitar
with a metal, domed resonator, designed to project the sound of the
guitar without amplification. Also known as a resonator guitar, it is
often played with a slide.
- An Indian folk
instrument, like a small sarod, with a smooth, unfretted metal neck, and a bridge resting
on a stretched goat skin.
- A reed instrument
with two vibrating reeds, usually bound together, as in an oboe or duduk.
- A long, sustained
note or notes, found in the music of many cultures. Indian Classical
music employs a drone, usually played on tamboura or harmonium. Celtic
music often has a drone, especially bagpipe tunes, and even Gregorian
Chant tends to have a single sustained note, sung or implied. Electronic
music has often employed drones as well. Minimalist pioneer Lamonte Young took great inspiration from
the drone of step-down transformers on electric lines near his home.
And most modal music can be thought of as having a drone, perhaps unplayed,
but there as a steady reference.
- An electronic
device that can record and play back rhythm patterns. With advances
in sampling technology, the sounds that drum machines make can be quite
convincing, and with the improvements in microprocessors, a programmer
can include more nuance and "feel" in the patterns. As a result,
a well-programmed drum machine can sometimes create quite human rhythm
patterns. Interestingly, many use drum machines to sound intentionally
unnatural and machine-like. In ambient, techno and other dance music, the most sought-after drum
sounds come from older, less natural-sounding machines, like the Roland
808, and the grooves are often far too fast or dense for a human drummer
- A double-reed
instrument from Armenia. The best-known player is Djivan Gasparyan.
- A family of stringed
instruments, with two very different branches: Hammer
Dulcimers and Appalachian, or Mountain
Dulcimers. Hammer Dulcimers, including the Cimbalom and the
Chinese Yang Ch'in, are trapezoidal boxes with strings stretched between
tuning pegs on two sides. The strings are struck with thin sticks, the
hammers, which often have felt or some other substance to soften the
hammer and change the timbre of the struck note. Mountain Dulcimers
have elongated hourglass-shaped bodies with melody and drone strings.
The mountain dulcimer is placed horizontally on the lap or on a table
and strummed with one hand, while the melody strings are fretted from
above with the other.
- A small-to-medium-sized,
goblet-shaped drum from the Middle East and North Africa. It is typically
ceramic or metal, and is played with the hands, often employing intricate
finger-rolls, slaps and mutes.
- A small, hand-held
electromagnetic device that magnetically vibrates metal strings, resulting
in a continuous sound similar to playing with a violin bow. Bill
Nelson, Carl Weingarten, The Cocteau Twins, and Love Spirals Downwards
all employ the E-Bow for various effects, from constant sustain, to
backward-sounding melodies. Michael Brook expanded on the idea and built
his "Infinite Guitar" which uses a similar technique to excite
all the strings on a guitar at once without a hand-held device.
- A double-reed
instrument, similar to the oboe, but larger and lower in pitch.
- A two-stringed,
Asian "spike fiddle" similar to the violin or viola, but with
no fingerboard. It is held vertically in front of the player, and the
bow is threaded between the strings.
- A simple drum
consisting of a shallow hoop-like frame with a skin stretched across
it. The frame drum is usually held in the up-turned palm of one hand,
or rested on the knee, and played with the fingers of both hands. The
drum may have jingles (metal discs) around the shell, or snares stretched
across the head. The best-known frame drum is the tambourine, but the
bendir, deff, bodhran, pandero, riq, and many others are all frame drums.
- A raised bar across
the neck of a stringed instrument. Pressing behind the fret causes the
length of string capable of vibrating to shorten, raising its pitch.
- Originally a system
of tape-loops created by Robert Fripp to create long,
regenerating patterns. The technology has improved, and Fripp now creates
music in this style with digital delays. The term has come to mean the
music resulting from these techniques, which can be heard on his recordings
No Pussyfooting, Let the Power Fall, Evening Star, 1999
and many others.
- Indonesian musical
ensemble usually including tuned gongs, metalophones and drums.
- a xylophone with
metal bars used in Indonesian Gamelan.
- A 51-stringed
zither made in Saint Louis in the early 1900s. It
is featured on David Michael's album Winter Reveries.
- Used in South
Indian music, a clay pot or vase played with the hands. Many different
sounds can be made by slapping the sides, rim, and neck.
- A type of song
from India, based on romantic poetry.
- A guitar fitted
with an interface that translates the vibration of the guitar strings
to signals that can control a synthesizer. Most new guitar synthesizers
employ MIDI converters which can control any synthesizer
or sampler, but Robert Fripp, Pat Metheny and others still often use
a pre-MIDI Roland guitar synthesizer that only drives its own sound
- A guitar-playing
technique in which one percussively "hammers" the finger down
onto the string on the fretboard, instead of plucking with one hand
and fretting with the other, causing a note to sound with a sharp attack.
- A technique by
which one can sing several notes at once. By changing the shape of the
mouth, the singer can create resonating spaces in the mouth and sinuses
that accentuate harmonics present in the voice, creating high, whistling
tones in addition to the lower, fundamental tone. The most famous harmonic
singers are the Gyoto Monks of Tibet, but some musicologists
have hypothesized that long ago, travelling Tibetans learned the technique
in Tuva, an area between northern Mongolia and southern Russia. There
have recently been several recordings, and even concert tours by Tuvan
singers. Huun-Huur Tu and Shu-De are
the best-known groups. The Gyoto Monks have been recorded many times
and tour frequently. David Hykes also adapted these
techniques for several interesting recordings, solo and with his group
The Harmonic Choir.
- An electronic
device that is used to change pitch. When the original signal is mixed
with the pitch-shifted version, one can create harmonies from a single
- A title coined
by Echoes for a program that highlights a recording
or artist that has been unfairly forgotten, or never received the exposure
- A stringed instrument
whose strings are "bowed" by a rotating wheel, operated by
a crank. Different notes are sounded by pressing down on keys, which
in turn, press against the strings, like fingers against a violin neck.
- An instrument
created by Michael Brook that employs electromagnetic
devices built into the guitar that excite the strings into "infinite"
sustain without picking them. The sound of the infinite guitar is similar
to that of one played with an E-Bow.
Jaw Harp, Jew's
- A small key-shaped
loop, usually made of metal or bamboo, with a single tine. The instrument
is placed against the lips, the tine is plucked to create a buzzing
sound, and the shape of the mouth is varied to change the pitch and
timbre of the note.
- A tuning system
in which the intervals of the major third and fifth are harmonically
"pure," or "just." This results in different consonances
and dissonances from the more common western "Tempered" or
"Stretched" tunings. Terry Riley, Robert
Rich and many others have recently composed pieces in Just
- see Mbira
- A zither
- A Turkish end-blown
flute, similar to the Ney.
- An African Harp,
most common in Gambia and Mali. It is often built from a large calabash
gourd, with a tall pole protruding from the top. Strings are stretched
from the pole to the gourd in two rows. The kora is often played as
accompaniment by a Griot, or story-teller/historian.
- A Japanese harp
with strings stretched across the top of a long hollow wooden box. Each
string has an individual moveable bridge. It is played with finger-picks
on one hand, while the other hand alternately plucks, strums a glissando,
or presses down on the string behind the bridge to bend the note.
- A smaller version
of the Pedal Steel Guitar, without the pedals.
Basically a small solid-body guitar with no frets, it is played on the
lap, strings facing up, often with fingerpicks. The position of a slide
(a cylinder of steel) along the strings determines the pitch, allowing
the characteristic sliding between notes and the sounding of microtones
that would lie between a conventional guitar's frets.
Living Room Concert:
- A term coined
by Echoes to describe our live concert recordings.
We travel to artists' homes, set up our recording equipment in their
living rooms, and record informal concerts for us, a few friends, and
the listening audience.
- A technique used
by solo musicians to layer performances in real time. It started with
an actual loop of tape on a tape recorder whose erase head had been
disabled. By recording on this loop of tape, a musician could play along
with parts played previously. Complex variations on this scheme, using
multiple tape recorders and other manipulations, were used by many musicians,
including Robert Fripp and Brian
Eno. Now digital technology has replaced the tape loop, and
many musicians are using digital looping devices that have been built
specifically to allow accompanying oneself. The term is also used in
sampling to mean repeating a segment of digitally recorded
sound to sustain a note, or to repeat a few bars of a rhythm.
- A scale of notes
in Turkish and Arabic music, similar to a key or mode.
- These and other quirky
zither-like instruments were made by various companies headed by Henry
Charles Marx, from the mid 1920s, through the 1970s. Sold through catalogs
and door-to-door, the instruments were billed as easy for anyone to play.
In practice, it's actually very difficult to coax anything but strange
sounds out of the odd contraptions with spring-loaded hammers, sliding
bars, bows and multiple strings, but that aspect has attracted a few musicians,
including Forrest Fang, Thomas Newman and Jaron Lanier, to incorporate
them in their compositions.
- An african instrument
also called Kalimba, Sanza, or "thumb
piano." It consists of several thin tines of metal or
wood of varying lengths, mounted on a wooden board, a gourd or a box.
The tines are plucked with the thumbs and first fingers, and other fingers
cover and uncover sound holes to create tremolo.
- A vocal style
in which one sings several pitches in one syllable.
- An acronym for
Musical Instrument Digital Interface. The standard MIDI interface allows
one device to send data about a musical performance, rather than the
actual sound, to another device. MIDI sends such information as note
on, note number, velocity, aftertouch, modulation amount, and note off,
on any of 16 channels on a standard 5-pin cable. The MIDI standard can
be used to send many types of data, and it is commonly used to send
time code, and "system-exclusive" data such as digital samples,
sequences, or programming information. By using MIDI, a musician can
record the expression and nuance of a live performance into a sequencer
without recording the sound itself. That performance can then be edited,
and one can change the sound being triggered by the MIDI data. Most
sequencers allow recording of multiple layers of performances to be
played back by synthesizers, samplers or drum machines, making it possible
for a single musician to play many parts simultaneously. Alternate MIDI
controllers like drum pads, MIDI guitars or MIDI wind controllers allow
non-keyboard players to play synthesizers and samplers.
- A musical movement
that emerged from the academic avant-garde of the 1960s. Reacting against
the prevailing trends in composition exemplified by Stockhausen and
Shoenberg, several composers took as inspiration the modalism of Indian
classical music and the cyclical patterns of African drumming. These
new compositions were characterized by repeated patterns that evolved
slowly through addition or subtraction of elements, or by shifting patterns
against one another. The best-known minimalist composers are Philip
Glass, Terry Riley and Steve Reich,
all of whom took inspiration from the earlier work of Lamonte
Young. None of them accept the tag of "Minimalism"
for their work, but it is a helpful shorthand to refer to these and
other artists working in similar areas.
- An a capella form
of Scottish vocal music, also known as "Puirt a Beul". It
developed as a result of an English ban on musical instruments, so the
vocal parts are often percussive or imitative of instruments. The rhythmic
quality of the music has made it fertile ground for integrating with
modern dance music, and a few groups have done that, most obviously
the band called Mouth Music.
- A South Indian
two-headed drum that plays a role similar to the North Indian Tabla.
One head produces low notes, the pitches bent upward by pressure of
the heel of the hand. The other head creates a tuned high-pitched tone.
- A recording process
in which one records parts onto several different tape tracks, to be
mixed together later. This technique allows musicians to build up many
layers of sound with only one or a few musicians. It also gives more
control in fine-tuning the mix. Multi-tracking was popularized by Les
Paul in the 1950s and its great potential was demonstrated
by Mike Oldfield's 1973 album Tubular Bells
on which he layered literally hundreds of his own performances. Multitracking
is now commonplace, with affordable digital multitracks used routinely
by hobbyists and professionals alike. Digital multitrack recorders that
record to hard-disc or on VHS or 8mm videotape, and older analog reel-to-reel
machines, especially 24 and 48 track models are still standard equipment
in professional recording studios.
- An end-blown flute,
often made of Cedar, usually with five finger-holes. The flute was traditionally
used for courtship by young Lakota men.
New Age Music:
- A controversial
term, used in many different ways. It has been suggested that the first
New Age record was Tony Scott's Music For Zen Meditation
from 1964. Others have proposed that Paul Horn's 1968 recording Inside
started the trend. But the term is most often used to refer to
a quiet instrumental style that became popular in the mid 1980s. At
that time, labels such as Windham Hill, Private Music and Narada released
many albums that sold well, creating a marketing niche. Attempts by
artists and record companies to capitalize on the trend led to plenty
of bad music along with the good, and soon critics declared it all "aural
wallpaper" and "yuppie elevator music," painting with
a broad brush the diverse styles that had been subsumed under this one
category. The name also implied a connection with New Age spirituality,
which was often not the case. While some New Age musicians do compose
music as part of a spiritual journey, or create it to aid others on
that quest, most artists who have been assigned to the category have
no connection to any particular spiritual movement. Some have suggested
that only music created to aid in healing, meditation, or worship can
properly be referrred to as "New Age," but until another term
becomes widely-accepted, all atmospheric, genre-blurring music will
probably remain in this category, at least in record stores. Many musicians
reject the tag, either to avoid the critical backlash, or because they
feel it is inaccurate. No suitable substitute for the name has arisen,
and so it survives amid arguments about what it means.
- A middle-eastern
end-blown flute, usually made from a hollow reed.
- A small flute
or whistle, usually made of clay or plastic. Because of the shape, manufactured
ocarinas are sometimes called "sweet potatoes." South American
clay ocarinas often are shaped like animals.
- A Middle-Eastern
fretless lute with a deep, round body. It is the forerunner of the European
lute and guitar, and is perhaps the predominant instrument in Arabic
- A recording process
by which additional parts are recorded alongside the basic track. This
process allows one musician to play many parts, a single vocalist to
become a choir, or it simply may be used to isolate the various components
of a performance from one another for greater control.
- Rhythmic clapping
that is an important element of Flamenco music.
- An array of fixed-pitch
cane flutes in graduated lengths, bound together in a group. Called
Sikkus, Antaras or Zamponas in South America, the notes of a scale are
often split between two sets of pipes. In performance, the melody alternates
between players, a technique called "Hocketing."
- A type of solid-bodied
electric guitar, mounted horizontally on a stand. The strings are put
under very high tension, which gives a long sustain to a plucked note.
The strings are not fretted as on a conventional guitar, rather a metal
rod, the slide, is placed over the strings which are picked with the
opposite hand, often with finger-picks. There are also pedals and levers
extending down from the instrument that the player moves with a foot
or knee, each changing the pitch of one of the strings, allowing individual
notes within a chord to slide to a different note, one of the characteristic
sounds of the instrument. It is often played using a volume pedal, fading
in the notes after being picked, adding to the fluid feel.
- A scale in which
the octave is divided into five intervals. Due to its mathmatical simplicity,
and perhaps the fact that we have five fingers, its is a common scale
in cultures all around the world.
- A wide-bodied
chinese lute with raised frets, played with finger-picks.
- A medieval zither.
- A construction
supply used in most new plumbing, it has proved to be a popular material
for instrument builders. The group Uakti puts small drum heads over
the ends of varying lengths of these platic pipes and plays them with
their fingers. Another Uakti instrument has an array of different lengths
of pipes, and the open ends are hit with paddles. Others use the pipes
as didgeridoos, flutes, resonators for marimbas,
or percussion instruments played with bare hands.
- A South American
end-blown reed flute.
- A name used for
several different musical instruments in different parts of the world,
usually small bowed string instruments. In many Arabic countries, and
in Indonesia, it is a violin-like instrument, similar to the Chinese
Er-hu. In Afghanistan, rabab refers to a larger, plucked lute.
- A musical form
in classical Indian music. The term can refer to the particular piece,
or to the scale of notes upon which the piece is based. Due to the improvisational
element in Indian music, any given Raga has an infinite number of interpretations.
However, the improvisation is not completely free. In addition to a
scale, a raga may have certain patterns of notes that must be included,
and it may have a defined length, mood, and time of day for it to be
- A thin strip of
wood or reed, placed in the mouthpiece of a wind instrument so that
it will vibrate when blown across. Organs, Accordions, Harmonicas and
the Chinese Sheng use metal reeds.
- A digital recording
of a sound, often a single note, or perhaps several bars of a song,
the length only restricted by the memory of the system. Once the sound
is "sampled" or digitized, it can be manipulated. The sample
can be trimmed, looped, pitch-shifted, reversed, slowed-down or speeded-up,
and altered in a myriad of ways. The most common applications of sampling
are recording a single note of an instrument, then playing that sample
back from a keyboard to simulate the original instrument, or recording
a few bars of a rhythm and using the sampler to repeat that rhythm in
a loop. But the sampler also allows the creation of nonexistent sounds
with some characteristics of natural organic sounds, and the playing
of natural sounds in ways impossible with the original instrument.
- An electronic
device that makes and manipulates short digital audio recordings, often
connected to a keyboard.
- See: Mbira
- A large lute from
North India with melody, drone and sympathetic strings and a smooth
metal neck. The bridge rests in a goatskin stretched across a deep,
round, wooden resonating chamber.
- A long-necked
turkish lute in the baglama family.
- A device for recording
data about musical events, rather than audio. Early sequencers could
only record and play back short patterns of notes with clock-like precision,
but since the advent of MIDI, one can record the
timing and expression of a real performance. That performance can then
be edited, copied or transposed. One can also change the sounds being
played by the MIDI data. Sequencers allow recording of multiple layers
of performances to be played back by synthesizers, samplers or drum
machines, making it possible for a single musician to play many parts
- A japanese end-blown
- A gourd covered
in a netting with shells, beads or stones strung on, that makes a scraping
sound when shaken, or twisted in the hand.
- An Indian double-reed
instrument, similar to the oboe.
- A chinese mouth-organ
with 17 pipes extending upward from a metal bowl. Inside each pipe is
a metal reed. Air is blown into the metal bowl, and the individual pipes
sound if a small hole near the base is covered with a finger. In Japan,
it is called a Sho.
- A South American
- An Indian Lute
with moveable frets and four main melody strings. In addition, there
are several drone strings, and un-plucked sympathetic strings.
- A style of guitar
playing from Hawaii. The term comes from players tuning the strings
down, "slacking" them, to create alternate tunings.
- A style of guitar
playing in which, instead of fretting a note with the fingers, a bar,
or "slide" is placed over the strings, allowing slides between
notes. The slide can be a metal or glass cylinder, usually worn on the
fourth or fifth finger, or even a bottle held in the hand.
- A caribbean instrument
constructed from steel oil barrels. The concave metal inner surface
of the drum is divided into several sections, each a different note.
The drum, or "Pan" is played with mallets.
- A small bamboo
flute used in gamlelan music.
- An electronic
device that creates sound from oscillators, filters and amplifiers.
By combining different waveforms from several oscillators, complex filtering,
and manipulating the attack, decay and release of the sound, one can
create a wide variety of different sounds. The synthesizer can imitate
acoustic instruments, or create original, uniquely electronic sounds.
- The rythmic cycle
used in Indian classical music, roughly analogous to the time signature
or meter of western compositions.
- A set of two small
tuned drums used in North Indian music. The left hand plays the larger
of the two drums, the "Bayan", which has a lower pitch. After
striking the drum with the tips of the fingers, the note is "bent"
up by pressing down with the heel of the hand, tightening the drum head.
The right hand plays elaborate patterns on the smaller drum, the "Tabla,"
which has a higher, fixed pitch.
- In Turkish and
Arabic music, an introductory improvisation that establishes the Maqam,
or scale, in which the piece will be played. Similar to an Alap in Indian music.
- An indian stringed
instrument played as a drone to accompany other instruments.
- A North-African
frame drum, played with the fingers of both hands,
while the edge of the drum rests in the upturned-palm of one hand.
- A dance-music
style that originated in Detroit. It fused electronic, machine-like
music of groups like Kraftwerk with American funk. As techno spread
to England, it became more electronic and frenetic, often featuring
almost undanceably fast rhythms.
- A loosely-defined
style of music that incorporates primal, earthy elements with technologically-based
sounds from synthesizers, samplers or electronic processing.
- A transverse flute
from China made of bamboo. There is a paper membrane that vibrates when
an note is sounded, creating a bright, buzzing timbre.
- The characteristic
texture of a musical sound determined by its harmonic structure. Timbres
are often described in non-audio terms like "bright", "warm
", or "rough ".
- A small, metal
flute used in celtic music.
- A percussion instrument
from the Basque region of Spain, constructed of one or more planks of
wood resting on baskets. It is played with mallets by two people. The
term can also refer to rhythms played on the instrument.
- A clay pot with
an extra hole in addition to the normal top opening. The drum is played
by slapping the hand over either opening, which gives a low tone. When
the hand is pulled away, a higher "release tone" is heard.
By playing both openings, and varying the coverage of the holes, the
player can elicit a wide range of tones.
- Similar to bagpipes,
but instead of the bag being filled by blowing into a pipe, air is pumped
in with a bellows.
- A tube zither
- A Chinese hammer
- A family of instruments
with strings stretched across a hollow soundbox. The strings may be
strummed, struck with hammers, or even bowed. The Dulcimer, psaltery,
Ch'in, and Koto are all variations on the zither.
- A deafeningly
loud reed instrument from Turkey, related to the oboe.
suggestions, corrections? email echoes.