Tuesday, April 22, 2008


What blog on non-western instruments can be complete without discussion of the Hebrew shofar?  The shofar, similar to the previously mentioned Kudu, is made from the horn of the Ibex it is still in use as part of Jewish ceremonies.  Although it is on the fringe of Western culture, it is still exotic religious enough to most Americans that I thought it should have some mention here.  There are many versions of the instrument of different sizes and designs is use today(many now have finger holes), but the original instrument was the unaltered horn of the Ibex.  You can read more about them here.


This website has a lot of resources for people interested in world music. I have used it to find pictures and information for a few of my posts. ASZA is a performing chamber group that specializes in learning world music from many different cultures. Their website has profiles of major world music groups, recording for purchase, instruments for purchase, a calendar of major world music events, instrument picture gallery, and much more. You can visit their site here.

Kudu Horns

I can't believe I forgot about Jeff Agrell's kudu horns. Pictured is a Kudu, a type of Gazelle, and the instruments made from their horns. The set Jeff has is pitched in E pentatonic (each horn plays one note). The highest pitched horn has a finger hole so that it will play two notes. These horns are played all over Africa and are usually used in a rhythmic hocket texture often accompanying a marimba.   You can read more about them as well as some other African instruments here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

National Music Museum

The University of South Dakota houses the National Music Museum. Their website is home to more information on instruments than you would ever want or need to know including an index by location and manufacturer. I highly recommend taking a look.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Gangbe` Brass Ensemble

The Gangbe` Brass Ensemble is a fusion brass ensemble that combines jazz with the traditional folk music of Benin (a small country in Africa in between Nigeria and Togo). It was founded in 1994 by 8 jazz musicians who wanted to experiment was traditional folk music. The music incorporates brass, vocals, and percussion. They have released 3 albums and have toured worldwide.  You can read more about them here and here.

Guca: Serbian Brass Band Festival

Every year a small villiage in Serbia holds a brass festival. You can read more about it here. The music on the website is quite amazing.  This year the festival is August 6 through the 10th. This is a video of some of the festivities from the festival in 2007.

Monday, April 14, 2008


I think this is more of Peter's realm, but I found it amusing.  I was watching fox's King of the Hill, and had another Mangione sighting.  There was a portrait of him on the wall of a marriage counselor's office.  He discusses it in an interview here.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Strange instrument for a land locked region.

When I was originally researching Tibetan m montanous usic for my historical perspectives paper, I came across some other instruments that were not involved in the Tantric ceremonies I was interested in.  this brass conch shell, or Dung, is one such example.  What I find very interesting about this instrument is that it meant to resemble a conch shell......and tibet is a land locked mountainous region.

Vietnamese Jaw Harp

This is a Vietnamese Dan Moi.  It is made of very thin brass and carried in the small bag shown.  It is a very  popular instrument even today in Vietnam and is now commercially produced. Read more about them here.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Thank you discovery channel!

New York Death + Discovery Channel=Fun Fact: The first know professional musician was employed in egypt 5000 years ago.