Musical Instrument Glossary B

Babatoni – a one-string bass instrument from Malawi.

Bachi – General term for drum sticks in Japanese music.

Bada – Gourd drum made from a large gourd with the top third cut off, a goatskin is fastened to the gourd with rope and tuned using Mali weave. Ivory Coast.

Bafoko – West African calabash drum, covered by a goat skin.

Bagana – A large eight to ten-string plucked lyre. It has a trapezoidal wooden frame. Also spelled Bägänna. Ethiopia.

Baglama – A long-necked lute, with a pear shaped body, about 1 meter long. It is found in Turkey and Greece.

Baglama
Baglama

 

Bagpipe – A bagpipe is a single or double reed instrument with an air reservoir in an animal skin bag. The bag can be filled with air by mouth through a blowpipe or with the use of bellows. Arm pressure on the bag sends air through a reed on a fingered chanter that makes the sound. Bagpipes are believed to have originated in ancient Mesopotamia and from there they traveled west to Greece and Rome and East to Persia (current day Iran) and India. Bagpipes are currently used in many countries throughout the world. Some of these include gaida, gaita, gaita de fole, biniou, union pipes, uilleann pipes, Northumbrian pipes, piob mhor, Scottish smallpipes, dudelsack, zampogna, cornemuse, musette, musette bechonnet, and cabrette.

 

Bagpipes
Bagpipes

 

Bai – Clappers. Ghana.

Bajflöjt – Drone flute. Sweden.

Bajo sexto – A twelve-string guitar. Mexico.

 Bajo sexto

Bajo sexto

 

Bala – A West African xylophone made with strips of wood, increasing in length, connected together with thread, and with hollow gourd resonators of varying sizes attached to the bottom to achieve a greater tonal range. Also known as balaphone and balafon.

Bala
Bala

 

Balaban – A short Persian cylindrical oboe, with a very smooth and variable sound. Similar to the Armenian duduk. Iran.

Balalaika

Three-stringed folk lute with triangular body. Russia.

Balalaika
Balalaika

 

Balaman – Short cylindrical oboe with a very smooth and variable sound. Azerbaijan.

Balo – West African xylophone made with wooden bars. Also known as bala and balafon.

Bandola – 1. Three string guitar. Spain. 2. A teardrop shaped lute derived from the Spanish vihuela, flat or concave back. Colombia and Venezuela.

bandola llanera from Venezuela
bandola llanera from Venezuela

 

Bandolín – Small South American Creole lute, pear shaped, with a fretted neck. It comes in various sizes and ranges from 8 to 15 steel strings.

Bandolim – Portuguese mandolin.

Bandoneón – A square-built button accordion used in Argentine and Uruguayan tango. Name variations: fuelle, mandolión. Argentina and Uruguay.

Bandoneón
Bandoneón

 

Bandura – A fretless plucked dulcimer. It has a short neck, an oval flat body and is held vertically. Ukraine.

Bandura
Bandura

 

Bandurria – Small 12-string mandolin-type instrument with a very short wide neck and 14 metal frets, popular in Spain and Spanish-speaking America. It’s played with a pick.

Bandurria
Bandurria

 

Bandurria sonora – A bandurria with 6 metal strings instead of gut strings.

Bangu – Frame drum struck by bamboo sticks. Name variations: pan-ku, bang’gu, adanpi. China.

Banjo – A string instrument developed by African American musicians. It has a guitar-type neck and can be found with 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 or more strings. The banjo has become very popular in American old time and bluegrass music. It is also used by Celtic musicians. Banjo variations include the clawhammer banjo, the banjolele and the banjolin. USA.

Banjo
Banjo

 

Banjolele – A hybrid instrument: Ukulele + Banjo. USA.

Banjolele
Banjolele

 

Banjolin – A hybrid instrument: Mandolin + Banjo. USA.

Bansuri – Bamboo flute. Also spelled bansoori. India.

Bansuri
Bansuri

 

Bapó – Shaker. Brazil.

Bara – West African gourd drum with goatskin.

Baraban – Klezmer bass drum.

Barbat – Persian lute. Iran.

Barrel drum – A large two-headed drum that is laid horizontally. Barrel drums include: barriles de bomba (Puerto Rico), buk (Korea), dhak (India), Dhol (India), dholak (North India, Pakistan, and Nepal), glong khaek (Thailand), glong songna (Thailand), glong thad (Thailand), kabaro (Ethiopia), kendhang (Indonesia), khol (India), mridangam (South India), Pakhawaj (North India), sampho (Cambodia), tanbou (Haiti), tanggu (China), taphon (Thailand).

Batá drums – The batá drums is a set of three hourglass-shaped drums from Cuba. They are used in Santería ritual drumming. The smallest drum is the okónkolo. The medium drum is called itótele. The largest batá drum is the iyá. The Cuban batá tradition derives from the Yoruba drumming tradition.

Batá drums
Batá drums

 

Batar – Drum. Somalia.

Barriles de bomba – Barrel drums made of wood and covered with goatskin. Puerto Rico.

Bawu – A single-reed transverse flute. China.

 Bawu

Bawu

 

Bayan – Chromatic accordion with a button keyboard. Russia and Belarus.

Bayan
Bayan

 

Belamentengo – The smallest of the Mandinka drums.

Belengo – The second smallest of the Mandinka drums.

Bell – Metallic instrument in the shape of an upside down wine glass. It is played by striking it with a mallet.

Bembé – A set of three drums made from hollowed palm tree logs, with nailed-on skins which are tuned with heat.

Bena – Sardinian cane clarinet. Italy.

Bendir – A North African frame drum with snares along the inside part of the head. The snares are usually made of string, not traditional Western metal snares.

Bendir
Bendir

 

Berda – Croatian fretted bass.

Berimbau – A bow strung backwards, with a gourd resonating chamber facing the player’s stomach. Brazil.

Berimbau
Berimbau

 

Bianqing – Stone chimes in the shape of scythes. China.

Bianzhong – A set of tuned bronze bells that produce several notes each at different intervals. China.

Bilbil – Kosovar Albanian ducted flute with a mouthpiece that is usually cut diagonally and stopped with a plug.

Biłgoraj suka – The Biłgoraj suka is a traditional string instrument originating from the town of Biłgoraj in southeastern Poland. A long-lost medieval ancestor of the violin, the suka has a crude pegbox and a wide neck, and unlike modern string instruments, is played vertically, using the fingernail technique. In the 1990s, based on only a few centuries-old images and texts, Polish musician and researcher Maria Pomianowska meticulously reconstructed the Biłgoraj suka and was the first modern musician to play and reconstruct this instrument. Source: Polish Cultural Institute New York.

Bili – Ancient flute. China.

Biniou – A Breton instrument that resembles a set of bagpipes with a small seven-holed chanter with a single drone, pitched an octave higher than usual. France.

Bin-sasara – A strung clapper made of many small slats of wood connected by a spine of string with handles at each end. By flicking the handles back and forth, the slats strike each other. Also spelled bin-zasara and bin-sazara.

Binyege – Seed rattles used by the Bunyoro people of Uganda. Young male dancers tie the rattles around the lower legs and compete for the attention of young women.

Bin – Plucked lute. Indian.

Birimbao – A horseshoe shaped Jew’s harp from Galicia (Spain). Made out of wood or iron.

Bishur – Mongolian shawm.

Biwa – A Japanese lute with a cranked neck developed from the Chinese pipa, and played with an oversized plectrum called a bachi. The biwa has three strings and four frets.

Blekete – A large bass drum with double skin. The player holds it under his left arm, and plays a stick with his right hand. Ghana.

Blul – A Kurdish shepherd flute made of ebony. Blur See blul.Blur See blul.

Blekete – A large double-skinned bass drum played with a stick like a talking drum (Ghana).

Blockflöjt – Swedish recorder.

Blockflöte – German recorder.

Bo – A pair of large Chinese cymbals that are struck together. Also known as po. China.

Bobo – 1. Double reed pipe (China). 2. Pegged drum with antelope skin played with hands or hand and stick (Ghana).

Bodhran – Irish frame drum made out of goat skin, generally played with a double-ended beater or tipper. It is usually 45 cms. (18 inches) and 7.5-10 cms. Deep (4 inches). The rim is usually circular. Also spelled bodhrán.

Bodhran
Bodhran

 

Bolombatto – Harp from West Africa with four gut strings over a gourd resonator and an attached tin rattle.

Bolon – A three string bass harp. Its resonating gourd can be used as a drum.

Boloye – One-string bass. Ivory Coast.

Bols – Asian vocal percussion.

Bombarde – A small Breton clarinet-like reed instrument with its own distinctive sound.

Bombarde
Bombarde

 

Bombo – 1. A large sheepskin bass drum used in Spain and Spanish America. 2. Afro-Uruguayan comparsa drum.

Bombo criollo – An adaptation of the Spanish military bass drum, used in Cuba for carnival.

Bombo huilliche – Chilean bass drum.

Bombo rociero – Bass drum used during religious pilgrimages in southern Spain.

Bongos – A set of two small drums attached by a thick piece of wood, played while held between the knees. The bongos were developed in Cuba’s Oriente province.

Bongos
Bongos

 

Bongyi – Large Burmese drum.

Bonshe – Long Burmese drum.

Bontoe – Small Burmese drum.

Boogh – ram’s horn trumpet (Iran).

Booglin – shaman jew’s harp from Mongolia.

Boo-sasara – a long, notched stick that is scraped with a smaller stick.

Botija – A ceramic jug originally used to transport Spanish olive oil, used to provide a bass accompaniment in the Cuban son style. Also known as botijuela.

Bouzouki – A Greek long necked lute with 3 or 4 double courses of metal strings.

Box – Accordion. Also known as squeezebox.

Braguinha – A cavaquinho from Madeira. Portugal.

Braguinha
Braguinha

 

Brekete – A two-headed round bass drum from Ghana with thin goatskin. It has a thin shell and thin head and is played with sticks.

Brelka – A double reed instrument. Russia.

Bubani – A Kosovar Albanian short wooden cylinder covered at each open end with leather stretched with rope. It is played with two wooden drumsticks.

Budongo – Thumb piano. Uganda.

Budongo
Budongo

 

Buita – Angolan percussion.

Buk – Tibetan cymbals used by Buddhist monks.

Buk drum – Chinese suspended drum, played vertically by one or two drummers, who also dance as they play the drum.

Bullroarer – a specially shaped piece of horn or wood attached to a string. The sound is created by swinging it around in circles over the head. By adjusting the speed and length of the string the player can create different pitch and sounds.

Bumb – Huge drum from the Braj area in Uttar Pradesh (India).

Bup – A large Tibetan cymbal.

Buk – Drum. Korea.

Byat Saung – Harp. Myanmar.

Byaw – Drum. Myanmar

Byoo-daiko – Nailed-head drums. Japan.

Byzaanchy – Four-stringed spike fiddle with interlocking bow, from Tuva.

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