Musical Instrument Glossary L

Lahute – One-stringed instrument in the lute family, tuned in fifths. A folk instrument of the Kosovar Albanians.

lahute – Photo courtesy of Angela Selmani


Lajas de piedra – Chips of stone. Used in traditional Andalusian folk music. Spain.

Lali – A slit log drum. Lali drums were originally used as a form of communication to announce births, deaths and wars. A smaller version of the lali drum called lali ni meke is used to perform music. Fiji.

Lambe – Large Wolof upright bass drum with closed bottom used in a sabar drum set. Senegal.

Langeleik – Harmonic zither. The langeleik has only one melody string and up to 8 drone strings. Norway.

Langspil – A bowed drone zither. It consists of an oblong box with two strings, one of which is a drone. Iceland

Laouto – A long-neck fretted lute with only one sound hole. Greece.

Lapas – Limpet shells used as a percussion instrument in the Canary Islands. Two shells are struck against each other creating a sound like a castanet. Spain.

Larchemi – Panpipe with a row of six reed pipes. Also known as larchemi. Georgia.

Laúd – Laúd means lute in Spanish. The laud has a flat back, with 12 metal strings in 6 courses and a pear shaped body. Spain.



Launeddas – A polyphonic reed instrument from Sardinia that is made up of three canes. It is also known as the triple pipe. Given that it requires a constant flow of air, it is played using circular breathing. Italy.

Laure – Percussion instrument composed of a 20 cm. bell and a wooden hammer. Ivory Coast.

Lavta – A long-neck fretted lute similar to the Greek laouto. Turkey.

– Small drum used in Bahian candombles. Brazil.

Leizi bili – Vertical six-hole flute indigenous to the Naxi ethnic group in Yunnan. China.

Lera – A 4-6 finger hole cane flute found in the Niger River area of Nigeria.

Limbe – A side-blown flute made of hardwood or bamboo. Players use circular breathing to produce continuous, wide-ranging melodies. Mongolia.

Limbi – A Tuvan side-blown, open-ended flute made of wood or bamboo. Russia.

Limbindi – A bow instrument From the Baka forest people of southeast Cameroon. A strong vine is used as the cord and a strong, elastic branch used as the bow. To change the pitch of the notes the cord is held under the player’s chin which is slid forward and back raising and lowering the pitch.

Linga – Wooden slit-drum. A tree or a solid block of wood is hollowed out to leave a longitudinal opening on the upper side. The edges of this slit are of unequal thickness and produce two sounds of different pitch when struck. They are generally used in groups of three instruments of different size. Each player hammers the edges of the slit with a pair of mallets to produce two different notes. Central African Republic.

Lingbu – Tibetan bamboo transverse flute. Source: Tenzin Choegyal.

Linkwin – Large metal cymbals. Myanmar.

Lirica – Small fiddle with three strings, held on the knee and bowed like cello, from Dalmatia. Croatia.

Litungu – A traditional 8-string harp or lyre played by the Luhya ethnic group. Kenya

Liuqin – A type of lute that looks like a smaller version of the pipa. China.

Lo – A small flat gong, about 20 cm wide (8 inches). China.

Lojki – Wooden spoons used as percussion in traditional music. Russia.

Lokanga – A southern Malagasy three-string fiddle. Madagascar.

Lotar – Pear-shaped lute. Name variations: lothar. Morocco.

Lote – Pygmy notched flute played primarily by elders.

Lunga – A Dagomba talking drum worn around the shoulder and struck with a curved stick. Ghana.

Lusheng – A mouth organ used by ethnic groups in southwestern China (Yunnan, Guizhou), with pipes of varying lengths.

Lute – A class of string instruments that can be plucked or bowed. They are made out of wood and have a pear shaped body.



Lyre – A harp that was used throughout the Classical Antiquity period of Greece.


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