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Annotated Checklist of Musical Instruments From
North Africa and Western/Central Asia
On Display in the NMM's Beede Gallery

Note:  This checklist represents only a portion of the NMM's instruments from this area of the world.


Instrument Types Represented in this Display

Drums
Hammered Dulcimer
Lutes, Long-Necked
Lutes, Short-Necked
Natural Trumpets
Spike Fiddle
Woodwinds, Double-Reed
Woodwinds, Single-Reed

Makers Represented in this Display

Kirrci, Recep
Sark Saz Yapim Evi
Sarkhosh

Countries/Regions/Areas Represented in this Display

Afghanistan NMM 1502
Algeria NMM 2380
Azerbaijan NMM 9936
Central Asia NMM 5580
Egypt NMM 2408
Iran NMM 1426, 1496, 2420, 2422, 2424
Iraq NMM 1512
Morocco NMM 2749
Niger NMM 2750
Persia NMM 2420, 2422, 2424
Republic of Georgia NMM 9939
Singkiang Province, China NMM 5725, 9931, 9932, 9933, 9934
Syria NMM 1512, 2426
Turkey NMM 10019
Turkistan NMM 5725, 9931, 9932, 9933, 9934
Western Asia NMM 1425

Maps

Looking for a map? Link to the Perry-Castaņeda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas at Austin for an excellent collection of historic and current worldwide maps. Click here for their selection of maps of Africa.


Checklist

Drums

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NMM 2408.  Frame drum (duff), Egypt, ca. 1880-1900. Wood shell inlaid with triangular and lozenge-shaped bone, mother-of-pearl, and ebony. Five pairs of jingling brass discs. Previously owned by Miss Gridley, England, who lent it to a Missionary Exhibition at an uncertain time and place. Board of Trustees, 1978.


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NMM 2426.  Frame drum (duff), Syria, 19th century. Wood shell that has been passed through a wood-bending mangle, the thinning of the wood at the overlap being typical in Syrian and Turkish frame drums. Triangular inlaid patterns in bone, ebony, and mother-of-pearl, with stringing in lead or tin around the circumference. Five pairs of jingling brass discs. Arne B. Larson Collection, 1979.


NMM 2424.  Goblet drum (zarb or dombak), Iran (Persia), ca. 1925.

NMM 2424.  Goblet drum (zarb or dombak), Iran (Persia), ca. 1925. Clay drum with goatskin head. Four figurative panels, after the Savafid style, depict scenes of feasting beneath leafy trees. The subjects on one are a lute (tār) player and two gossiping ladies, the panel opposite with a male servant offering wine to two seated men. A lady in the panel on the stem holds a wine flask and inclines her head towards a seated man drinking wine. The gulbulbul—a rose and nightingale motif found in all the arts of Persia—appears in several places. A wreath of large roses encircles the foot of the drum. Purchase funds gift of Barnes and Usher Abell, Vermillion, 1978.

Lit.:  André P. Larson, The National Music Museum: A Pictorial Souvenir (Vermillion: National Music Museum, 1988), p. 31.


Hammered Dulcimer

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NMM 1496.  Hammered dulcimer (santūr) by Sarkhosh, Tehrān, Iran, 1969. A trapezoidal box of walnut with two soundholes in the form of stars or flowers. Eighteen quadruple courses of wire strings. Pair of hammers (mezrāb) made of fig-tree wood by Zandi. Bought new in 1969 by Bijan Zaeri, Tehrān, who studied with Mr. Nouri in Tehrān. Board of Trustees, 1976.


Lutes, Long-Necked

NMM 5580. Long-necked lute (Pamir robab), Pamir region of central Asia, ca. 1650

NMM 5580. Long-necked lute (Pamir robab), Pamir region of central Asia, ca. 1650. Made of a single piece of fruitwood with a hollow fingerboard and a skin-covered belly. Six strings in three pairs, with one string shorter than the others, perhaps to be tuned to a higher octave. A Persian inscription on the lute translates: "The dearest precious robab in the name of Seyyed Hasan Shah the year 1025." This text clearly places the instrument in the 17th century (the Islamic calendar began ca. 570 AD). Ex coll.: Mamaldali Yusopovich Halikov, Russia. Board of Trustees, 1993.

Lit.:  "Important Instruments Acquired in 1993," The Shrine to Music Museum Newsletter 21, No. 2 (January 1994), p. 4.


NMM 2420.  Long-necked lute (tar), Iran (Persia), ca. 1925.

NMM 2420.  Long-necked lute (tār), Iran (Persia), ca. 1925. Sharply waisted wood resonator is painted with figurative panels on a green ground depicting lovers playing the tār and holding wine cups, lions hunting various prey, and roosters and other birds against a floral background. The horn bridge rests on the thin skin of a lamb's fetus. Built probably as a decorative piece, rather than for playing. Purchase funds gift of Barnes and Usher Abell, Vermillion, 1978.

Lit.:  André P. Larson, The National Music Museum: A Pictorial Souvenir (Vermillion: National Music Museum, 1988), p. 31.


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NMM 5725.  Long-necked lute (pandchtar), Uighur peoples, Eastern Turkistan (Singkiang province, China), ca. 1990. A photograph at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford shows the same kind of lute being played by a man astride a mule in Tadzhikistan. This instrument is but a later example of a long-standing tradition of building such instruments throughout the vast area from Turkey to western China. Board of Trustees, 1994.


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NMM 9931.  Long-necked lute (rewap), Uighur peoples, Kashgar, Eastern Turkistan (now Singkiang province, China), ca. 1990. Nearly all inhabitants speak Turkic languages. Turkistan has been the bridge connecting the East and West, the route taken by many conquerors and migrating people. It marks the eastern edge of Turkic Islamic culture and music. Ex coll.: Gerald Trimble, Kansas City. Board of Trustees, 2000.


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NMM 9932.  Long-necked lute (rewap), Uighur peoples (of Turkish descent), Eastern Turkistan (now Singkiang province, China), ca. 1990. Body and curved barbs (resembling ram's horns) hollowed out of one piece of mulberry wood, inlaid with bone and colored wood. Belly covered with snakeskin. Child-size. Ex coll.: Gerald Trimble, Kansas City. Board of Trustees, 2000.


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NMM 9933.  Long-necked lute (tanbur), Uighur peoples, Eastern Turkistan (Singkiang province, China), ca. 1990. Child-size. No pegbox since the five pegs are inserted directly into the extended neck. Elaborately decorated. Ex coll.: Gerald Trimble, Kansas City. Board of Trustees, 2000.


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NMM 9934.  Long-necked lute (dutar), Uighur peoples, Eastern Turkistan (Singkiang province, China), ca. 1990. The necks of these instruments are hollow, providing a secondary sound chamber. Elaborately decorated with inlaid black colored wood and white bone geometric figures. Ex coll.: Gerald Trimble, Kansas City. Board of Trustees, 2000.


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NMM 9936.  Long-necked lute (dut tār), Azerbaijan, ca. 1990. A Caucasian instrument, which differs from the Iranian (Persian) examples. Carved, waisted body of mulberry, the top covered with a membrane of fish skin or bladder of a bull, on which the bridge rests. The instrument is held almost horizontally against the upper chest and shaken slightly to produce a vibrating sound. Ex coll.: Gerald Trimble, Kansas City. Board of Trustees, 2000.


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NMM 9939.  Long-necked lute (chonguri), Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, ca. 1990. Four strings, a deep pear-shaped body, and a long neck with tied frets. Cultivated chiefly by women, who play it to accompany their own singing and for dancing. A rather plain example, given to Gerald Trimble as a gift from Georgian conservatory students in 1992, during the fighting between the first elected president, Zviadh Gamsakhurdia, and Edward Shevardnadze, who took power in a military coup. Ex coll.: Gerald Trimble, Kansas City. Board of Trustees, 2000.


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NMM 10019.  Long-necked lute (dambura or Ashik baglama saz) by Recep Kirrci (d. 1995), founder of the family firm, Sark Saz Yapim Evi, Ankara, Turkey, ca. 1990. Pear-shaped body, probably of chestnut, is elegantly inlaid with metal and pearloid or abalone. Ex coll.: Gerald Trimble, Kansas City. Board of Trustees, 2000.


Lutes, Short-Necked

NMM 1512.  Short-necked lute ('ud), Iraq or Syria, ca. 1850-1900.

NMM 1512. Short-necked lute ('ud), Iraq or Syria, ca. 1850-1900. An intricate, finely carved cypress rose, the pattern resembling a series of arrowheads radiating from the center with two concentric circles and an outer border of arabesques and "fleurs de lys." The 'ud is the great instrument of Arabic classical music. Arne B. Larson Collection, 1979.

Lit.:  André P. Larson, The National Music Museum: A Pictorial Souvenir (Vermillion: National Music Museum, 1988), p. 31.


NMM 1502.  Short-necked lute (robab, rabab), Afghanistan, 19th century.

NMM 1502. Short-necked lute (robab, rabab), Afghanistan, 19th century. Body and neck carved from a single piece of mulberry wood. Lower chamber of the body covered in goatskin; upper chamber covered by the end of the fingerboard. Bone and mother-of-pearl inlay. Twelve sympathetic strings pass under the five playing strings and two drones. The instrument has four gut frets and is played with a wooden plectrum. The robab is considered the national instrument of Afghanistan. Ringley Fund, 1977.

Lit.:  Thomas E. Cross, Instruments of Burma, India, Nepal, Thailand and Tibet, The Shrine to Music Museum Catalog of the Collections, Vol. II, André P. Larson, editor (Vermillion: The Shrine to Music Museum, 1982), p. 17.

Thomas E. Cross, Instruments of Burma, India, Nepal, Thailand and Tibet, M.M. Thesis, University of South Dakota, May 1983, p. 36, plate XIV.


NMM 1502.  Short-necked lute (robab, rabab), Afghanistan, 19th century.

NMM 1504. Short-necked lute (robab, rabab), Afghanistan, 19th century. Constructed like NMM 1502 (above), but smaller, with one drone and nine sympathetic strings in addition to the five playing strings. The larger robab is generally used in Afghani art music. The smaller instrument is typically used for the regional music of the Pashtun people. The robab migrated south into India in the mid-19th century, where it eventually developed into the modern sarod, one of the primary instruments of Hindustani music. Ringley Fund, 1977.

Lit.:  Thomas E. Cross, Instruments of Burma, India, Nepal, Thailand and Tibet, The Shrine to Music Museum Catalog of the Collections, Vol. II, André P. Larson, editor (Vermillion: The Shrine to Music Museum, 1982), p. 17.

Thomas E. Cross, Instruments of Burma, India, Nepal, Thailand and Tibet, M.M. Thesis, University of South Dakota, May 1983, p. 38, plate XIV.



NMM 2380.  Lute (quwaytara), Algeria, late 19th century.

NMM 2380.  Lute (quwaytara), Algeria, late 19th century. Richly inlaid and veneered with rosewood, contrasting woods, mother-of-pearl, and bone. Rose is carved from the same wood as the table, with a six-pointed star (Star of David) and a series of interlocking circles, as seen in early-17th-century Italian lutes. This and similar instruments at the Royal College of Music, London, and the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, have more in common with the European lute, which descended from such instruments, than does the 'ud. Beede Fund, 1978.


Natural Trumpets

NMM 2749.  Natural trumpet (nafir), Fes, Morocco, ca. 1975

NMM 2749.  Natural trumpet (nafīr), Fès, Morocco, ca. 1975. Brass, with embossed designs around the bell. Three sections. Integral mouthpiece. Exhibited at the World of Islam Festival, London, in 1976. Board of Trustees, 1980.

Lit.: Jenkins, Jean and Poul Olsen, Music and Musical Instruments in the World of Islam (London: Westerham Press Ltd., 1976), p. 55.

"British Specialist Here for Two Months," The Shrine to Music Museum Newsletter 21, No. 2 (January 1994), p. 6.


NMM 2750.  Double-bell trumpet (kakaki), Konni, Niger, ca. 1975

NMM 2750.  Double-bell trumpet (kakaki), Konni, Niger, ca. 1975. Two sections with geometrical patterns embossed around the bells. Small copper rings hang in the bell rims. Integral mouth-piece. Exhibited at the World of Islam Festival in London in 1976. Board of Trustees, 1980.

Lit.: Jenkins, Jean and Poul Olsen, Music and Musical Instruments in the World of Islam (London: Westerham Press Ltd., 1976), p. 55.


Spike Fiddle

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NMM 2422.  Spike fiddle (kamānche) and bow (archet or kamān), Iran (Persia), ca. 1925. A bowed stringed instrument used to play Persian classical music, coming to the country during the reign of Mozaffar-ed-Din-Shah (1898-1907). May have been decorated by the same hand as the goblet drum (45), so similar are the arabesque and floral designs and, to a lesser extent, the figurative panels. Purchase funds gift of Barnes and Usher Abell, Vermillion, 1978.


Woodwinds, Double-Reed

NMM 1293.  Double-reed woodwind (algaita), Nigeria, ca. 1925

NMM 1293.  Double-reed woodwind (algaita), Nigeria or savannah area of western Africa, ca. 1925. Three-part (cylindrical/conical) wood body covered with leather. Four finger holes, typical of the instrument in Nigeria, where the player presses his lips against the disc and uses his cheeks as an air reservoir, so that the instrument can be blown continuously. Ex coll.: Phillip Bate, London. Arne B. Larson Collection, 1979.


NMM 1426.  Double-reed woodwind (sorna), Iran, ca. 1950

NMM 1426.  Double-reed woodwind (sorna), Iran, ca. 1950. Stained fruit-wood body with seven fingerholes, brass pirouette, and double reed formed from a flattened cylinder of grass. Played in villages for weddings, in cities from towers at sundown and for religious dramas, and by wandering minstrels. Sent by donor's sister, Eleanor Engeman McNair, missionary in Iran, 1949-1954. Gift of Tom Engeman, Sibley, Iowa, 1976.


Woodwinds, Single-Reed

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NMM 1425.  Single-reed woodwind (zummāra), western Asia, ca. 1950. Two, three-part cane pipes, each with a downbeating single reed cut from the cane, remaining attached at the top end. Pipes are played in unison, tuned just slightly apart to produce a pungent sound. Collected by Eleanor Engeman McNair, while in Iran as a missionary, 1949-1954. Gift of Tom Engeman, Sibley, Iowa, 1976.

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