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mbira Essay

  • Submitted by: vewinkeq74
  • on March 6, 2008
  • Category: Arts and Music
  • Length: 367 words

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Below is an essay on "mbira" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

The mbira is ancient African instrument consisting of reed or metal keys mounted over a bridge on a hard wood sound board. Typically and external buzzing mechanism adds complexity to the instruments sound. The mbira is usually played alone with voice accompaniment but it can also be played in small groups. In Zimbabwe, there are several types of mbira, ranging in numbers of keys from eight to fifty-two. For amplification, musicians steady their instruments inside large gourd resonators decorated with shells and more recently bottle tops which add a vibrating sound to the rich sound mix. Gourd rattles called hosho commonly provide rhythmic accompaniment. Some famous Mbira players are Sekuru ('Grandfather') Gora, Langton Manomano, and Luken Kwari Pasipamire

The Marimba belongs to the xylophone family, but it is fashioned with wooden keys as instead of metal. In order to make the keys echo, hollowed out gourds are placed beneath each key. Some of the newer instruments have aluminum pipes beneath each key for resonating. The aluminum can be shaped very precisely to get an accurate sound. The keys are usually made of rosewood, but a newer synthetic material called Kelon is being used in more modern marimbas as well. In order to support the keys, there are two ropes that run lengthwise along the instrument and are attached to pegs on each end. There are two ropes, for support underneath the top and bottoms of the keys. The keys on the marimba are arranged chromatically, which means there is one half-step between each key. Newer marimbas are sometimes arranged like a piano, with two rows.

The Hosho is played by one person in the group, in order to keep time for everyone else. The Hosho is usually made from dried out gourds, which have seeds inside. When shaken, the seeds hit the sides of the gourd making a crackling sound. This instrument is much like the maraca, but simply originates from a different part of the world. Although the Hosho is a simple instrument,...

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  • Submitted by: vewinkeq74
  • on March 6, 2008
  • Category: Arts and Music
  • Length: 367 words
  • Views: 263
  • Popularity Rank: 543425
  • 1 rating(s)


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