Musical Instrument Glossary U


A low-pitched Igede wooden drum, covered with skin at one end. Nigeria.

Igbo thumb piano made with a decorated gourd. Nigeria.


Short-necked Middle Eastern and North African pear-shaped lute with 11-13 strings. It is one of the most important instruments in Arabic, Turkish and Persian classical music. There are many different spellings of the instrument: oud, oude, outi, aud, aoud, ud, ûd, l’ud and ‘ud. The most common, however, are ud and oud. The Encyclopedia Britannica uses the spelling ‘ud.

Egyptian Ud
Egyptian Ud

Udu drum

Clay pot drum with a bass sound. The udu has two holes that are variously struck and covered with the hands. The sound is produced by compression and release of the air inside it. Also known as pote, abang, and kimkim. Nigeria.

Latin Percussion Udu
Latin Percussion Udu


`Are`are percussion instruments made from bamboo. Solomon Islands.

Uilleann Pipes

Uilleann is Gaelic for elbow. It is a type of bellows-blown bagpipe known in Ireland from the 18th century. The uilleann pipe has a conical chanter which has a two octave range (in the key of D), 3 drones, and 3 keyed chanters known as regulators which are extra pipes that can play certain chords. Also known as Irish bagpipe.


Small Hawaiian 4 nylon or gut string guitar of Portuguese origin. The ukulele derives from the Portuguese cavaquinho, also known as machête or braguinha. USA.


‘Uli ‘Uli

A Hawaiian feathered gourd rattle. The hollow gourd is filled with seeds, sea shells or pebbles. A handle is attached, the tip of which is fringed with cock feathers. The dancer holds the ‘uli ‘uli in the right hand, shaking and striking it against the left hand, hip, knee, shoulder, or other parts of the body. USA


Sumatran kite bow. Indonesia.


A one string gourd bow played by girls. The bow is made from a tree branch. Swaziland.


A bowed mouth bow traditional to the Xhosa people. The string is bowed with a thin dry friction stick, while the tune is produced in the mouth. South Africa.


A long, traditional end-blown, bamboo flute of the Zulu and Bomvana people. It has one finger hole at the bottom end. South Africa.


A bowed instrument similar to a cello. The utogardon has 3-4 strings and is also used as a percussion instrument by hitting the strings with a stick. Also known as gardon or beaten cello. Transylvania (Romania), Hungary and Moldova.

Uubi (uuhi)

`Are`are blown instruments made from bamboo. Solomon Islands.


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