Saturday, July 18, 2015

One of the videos shows this instrument called a 'Thumb Piano'. An ingenious instrument that produces a beautiful melodious sound.

Akogo - Likende - Akadongo - Sansa - Mbira - Akalimba
thumb piano - percussion instrument

Many different names exist for this instrument; kalimba, sansa, and mbira are the most common ones. It consists of a series of flexible metal or cane tongues of varying lengths fixed to a wooden plate or trapezoidal sound box. Nowadays the resonator is made of kiaat wood, and the tines are made of high-quality spring steel. The musician holds the instrument in both hands and uses his thumbs to pluck the slightly upturned free end of the tines. The number and arrangement of the tines, or lameliae, vary regionally. In Uganda the instrument is usually played solo, perhaps to relieve a traveler's solitary trek or a night caretaker's long watch. The instrument accompanies a repertoire of "songs for thought," or laments, sung by both men and women.

In Buganda the instrument is known as "akadongo kabaluru" or "little instrument of the Alur tribe" from the northwest Nile region. The Mbuti pygmies in Amba use rattan cane keys and a straight bridge. However, most sansas in Uganda have metal keys and a U-shaped bridge. The Basoga tribe plays different styles of sansa altogether.
Sansas today are usually tuned to the diatonic scale of G major, although they can be retuned to any key.

Instruments, which produce sounds through the vibration of their whole bodies, are known as idiophones.