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Re: (more ConCulture than ConLang) tube zithers, board zithers & kites

From:Padraic Brown <pbrown@...>
Date:Saturday, June 24, 2000, 3:49
On Fri, 23 Jun 2000, Jonathan Chang wrote:

> The following is interesting in that similar ideas could be used in a >ConCulture or two, but there are some ConLang points of >interest...naturally... >------------------------------------------------------------------------------ >-- > > In my latest musical research - via both books & Internet - into >seemingly "primitive" string instruments, I have come across a Malay >idiochord zither called _keranting_ - which exists in several differing >forms, under different related names. > > It is made from a single joint of large diameter bamboo - closed off at >each end by the bamboo node. There are anywhere from 2 to 7 strings (actually >strips of the bamboo itself) raised from the bamboo's surface - played either >by plucking or, in some versions, played by striking with hard wood sticks.
Oo! I saw one of these at a flea market last year. I passed it up for lack of interest. Nice to know what it is, though! It was a foot long variety and in nice shape. Probably should have bought it. Oh well, if bought _every_ horn that came my way, I'd need a lot more room!
> Lengths range from a foot to as long as 5' or thereabouts. Bridges >inserted under the strings serve for tuning; rings of rattan prevent the >strings from splitting away from the bamboo tube. There are holes in the >bamboo to bring the sound out of the bamboo. When the strings are fairly >thin, the sound is slightly percussive, with noticeable plucking noise and >little sustain. Thick, heavy strings produce a dual fundamental - an unique >"quaint and attractive effect." > Some forms of this instrument have bamboo frets under the strings. In >recent versions/adaptations, the traditional fiber strings have been replaced >with strings of rattan or wire (wire having the advantage of being easier to >tune & having a clearer, louder sound with a longer sustain). > > Very similar - even identical in many respects - are the _kullibet_ >zithers (also bamboo idiochords) of the Philippines. > (There are oodles of highly unique bamboo tube zithers created & played >by different peoples all along the South China Sea down to Papua New Guinea - >for example, the tribal highland people of Vietnam have some very odd - >sounding & looking, spacey-alien-like bamboo tube zithers). > > Some scholars believe that bamboo idiochords like these originally were >from Yunnan, China, and that these instruments are the ancestors and close >relatives to Asian long board zithers like the Chinese 7-string >_ch'ing_(_qin_), the Japanese _koto_ & Ainu 5-string _tonroki_, and the >Korean _Kaya-go_, 6-string _komun'go_ & the 12 string _kayagum_. > > Intriguing, eh???
They do indeed look somewhat similar, if I'm thinking of the same instrument. Kind of long and narrow wooden affair with a rounded top? Has a number of strings parallel with moveable bridges. Today's musical research at my end involved carving out a four holed bamboo flute (don't know what notes it plays yet) and some whistles, as well as teaching a young fellow how to do same. The whistles worked nicely, though (notch flutes, without blocks like you get in penny whistles), and my friend _finally_ figured out how to blow them! Padraic.
> Havin' FUN, havin' a ball learnin' new stuff... how about you? > > zHANg >