Musical Instrument Glossary W


A one-string bowed lute. Also known as orutu. Kenya.

Wa Patala

Curved wood xylophone with bamboo plates. Myanmar.


Irish and Scottish bagpipes.


The washboard is a corrugated device, typically made of metal, for cleansing clothes. It is used as a rhythm instrument by scraping the board with a piece of metal, one’s hand and nails, or other devices to produce a rasping sound. It’s used in traditional Cajun music and other types of folk music.


Amhara end-blown flute made out of wood, bamboo or other kinds of cane. It has four finger holes. Ethiopia.

Water drums

1. Percussion created by men or women who plunge, slap and beat their hands in the river, lake or sea to create a variety of rhythmic and melodic sounds. Traditional to the Baka forest people of southeast Cameroon, the women from Gaua in the islands of Vanuatu and other global cultures.

2. West African drums made from large gourds. They are cut in half, scraped clean and carefully dried. The large drum is filled with water, and the smaller drum is placed cut-side down in the water.


A small end blown flute with a fipple.

Willow Flute

Long flute without finger holes used in the folk music of Sweden and Norway. Also known as Seljefløyte.

Wind instrument family

Instruments in which sound is produced by the vibration of air, including brass and woodwind instruments.

Woodwind family

Instruments, originally made of wood, in which the sound is produced by the vibration of air.


Highest-pitched of wua flutes. Ghana.


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