Musical Instrument Glossary J

Jalatharangam – A set of porcelain bowls filled with water and struck with sticks that sounds similar to a xylophone. India.

Jaleika – A wind instrument from Tver. It is made from reed-tipped cow horn. Russia.

Jarana – An 8-10 string guitar from the Veracruz region. Used to perform son jarocho. Depending on the size, the guitar has various different names: chaquiste, mosquito, jarana primera, jarana segunda, jarana tercera, cuarto de requinto, medio de requinto and requinto. Country of origin: Mexico.

Java – A finger pick made from a coconut shell. Country of origin: India.

Jabalina – A 4-string guitar used in son jarocho. Also known as guitarra de son and requinto jarocho. Mexico.

Janggu – Hourglass drum. Also known as seyogo, changgo, changgu or Tschanggo. Korea.

Jaw harp – A small musical instrument made out of metal, or wood, which is held against the teeth or lips, and plucked with the fingers. It is also known as jew’s harp. The instrument is found in any cultures throughout the world. arpa de boca, birimbao, guimbarda, guimbarde, marranzanu, maultrommel, morchang, morsing, munnharpe, murchang, Murchunga, scacciapensieri, tromp, trompe de Bearn, trump.

Jaw harp
Jaw harp

 Jejy lava – A one-string musical bow with a smaller gourd resonator. Madagascar.

Jejy voatavo – A string instrument with two adjacent faces, each with courses of strings, one with frets and one without, mounted on a gourd resonator. Madagascar

Jembe – A large rope-tuned goblet drum from West Africa that is played with bare hands. Traditionally covered in goat skin.


 Jetakh – Board zither related to the Chinese zheng and the Japanese koto. Mongolia.

Jew’s harp – a lyre-shaped hand-sized instrument made of metal, bamboo or other materials. It is placed in front of the mouth. The sound is produced by blowing across, and simultaneously vibrating, a flexible metal tongue set into a frame. It is also known as jaw harp. The instrument is found in any cultures throughout the world.

Jew's harp
Jew’s harp

 Jhanj – Indian cymbal.

Jigatch – Kyrgyz wooden Jew’s harp. It is an older relative of the temir komuz. Its tongue is vibrated by forcefully pulling a string. The jigatch is believed to be the oldest Kyrgyz musical instrument.

Jing – Large bronze gong played with a padded stick. Korea.

Jinghu – A soprano version of the erhu fiddle. Used in Beijing opera.

Jouhikko – Bowed lyre of Finland and Russian Karelia. It has a flat bridge. Drone strings and one melody string are played simultaneously. The jouhiko normally accompanies narrative and epic singing. Also known as jouhikannel and jouhikantele (bowed kantele).

Russian luthier Pavel Boev builds tenor and alto jouhikkos, as well as the extremely rare bass jouhikko.

Juan-hsieng – Taiwanese moon guitar.

Jug – A container in which a hole is used to create sound by blowing over the opening of the hole.

Jun-Jun – Talking drum. Nigeria.

Juru Kelenni – A one-stringed instrument, believed to be the earliest known ancestor of the West African ngoni.


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