Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

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178 NEGRO FOLK MUSIC IN THE NEW WORLD
nent, as are gourd rattles. Double-headed drums are also used, and so are shallow, single-headed, open drums similar to a tambourine. Various kinds of sticks are used to beat the drums, each cult having its own type of drum sticks and combination of drums. The mos­quito drum, a type of musical bow, of which one end is attached to the ground while from the other extends a string attached to a piece of skin covering a hole in the ground, is used as an accompani­ment to singing. In this instrument, the hole in the ground functions as resonance chamber, much as the calabash or the player's mouth adds resonance to the sound of musical bows in Southern and Central Africa.
Stamping tubes, hollow tubes struck on the ground or on a board, provide another kind of rhythmic accompaniment. A rather large and deep-sounding version of the African sansa or mbira (called marimba in Haiti) is also found in the Caribbean. Horns and trum­pets made of bamboo, each capable of playing only one pitch, are used, as are cow's horns, conch-shell trumpets, and horns improvised from various objects such as phonograph loudspeaker horns. The claves, short sticks made of hardwood and struck together with the use of one hand, are important in the Caribbean. The xylophone, common in Africa, is not as widespread in the Afro-American cul­tures but does seem to have become one of the important instruments of Central America. In Guatemala, the marimba (xylophone with gourd resonators) has become a national instrument. Throughout the area under discussion the Negro community has brought instru­ments directly from Africa, has adapted Western materials and tech­nology to the needs of African instruments, and has exerted the African cultural influence by its interest in instruments and instru­mental music and its creation of many types, as well as by the pres­tige and ritual significance that it has placed on the instruments themselves and on the instrumentalists.
The steel drum, an instrument invented in Trinidad during or after World War II, is a fascinating example of the results of the acculturation of African practices in modern Western civilization. Steel oil containers, abandoned and available, their tops hammered into shapes producing the desired scales, were combined into groups of three or four different sizes and accompanied rhythmically by







E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III