Wednesday, November 12, 2014

(Letters G - J) Videos of Traditional Musical Instruments

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is the fourth in a series of seven posts on traditional music instruments throuighout the world. This post features one or two videos of and information about various traditional instruments whose names begins with the letter "G" - "J".

To access other posts in this series, click the "traditional musical instruments" tag below.

In the context of this series, with a few exceptions such as pan ("steel drums"), and vuvuzelas, my definition of "traditional music instruments" are those instruments that were created prior to 20th century and which are largely unfamiliar to people in the general public (including me).

My thanks to the musicians and vocalists featured on these videos and to all the publishers of these videos.

This series does not purport to include examples of all "traditional music instruments" worldwide.

I love listening to music & I enjoy watching music videos. Unfortunately, I don't play any musical instrument and I've never studied ethnomusicology anywhere but informally online. I'm definitely not an expert on the subject of traditional music instruments.

Goge (Gonjey)
Gourd instruments (names?)
Guiro (also known as "calabazo", "guayo", "ralladera", "rascador" and "reco-reco")

Hand drum (Native American)


These featured instruments are presented in alphabetical order, with their geographical places of origin given in brackets.

Other featured traditional musical instruments may be shown in the video for the instrument that is showcased in this post. Some viewer comments may be included along with quoted information about the showcased instrument.

GAMELAN [Indonesia]

Balinese Gamelan Music

siithao | January 01, 2007

When we stayed in Bali, the guest house we were in had a gamelan band that practiced on a regular basis. This was a great opportunity to record their music.

Excerpt from
"A gamelan is a musical ensemble from Indonesia, typically from the islands of Bali or Java, featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums and gongs; bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings. Vocalists may also be included."...


Snowflake by gayageum

tomatomedia | November 21, 2007

Gayageum is [a] Korean Traditional Instrument.

Normally Gayageum is 12 strings. But modern gayageum is modified to 25 strings.

'Chul Kang' Kayagum Performance '출강' 가야금 연주

Chosun Music, Uploaded on Oct 5, 2008

People's Orchestra 100th Anniversary Memorial Kayagum Concert
인민배우 정남희 100돐 기념 가야금 연주회

"The gayageum or kayagum is a traditional Korean zither-like string instrument, with 12 strings, though some more recent variants have 21 or other numbers of strings. It is probably the best known traditional Korean musical instrument.[1] It is related to other Asian instruments, including the Chinese guzheng, the Japanese koto, the Mongolian yatga, and the Vietnamese đàn tranh."

An example of the ghatam is included in a video posted under "m" for "mridangam"


Musicas Glockenspiel

klebaumm | February 02, 2007

Eu tocando uma coletanea no glockenspiel
"A glockenspiel [German Glocken (bells) + spielen (to play)] is a percussion instrument, composed of a set of tuned keys arranged in the fashion of the keyboard of a piano. In this way, it is similar to the xylophone; however, the xylophone's bars are made of wood, while the glockenspiel's are metal plates or tubes, thus making it a metallophone. The glockenspiel, moreover, is usually smaller and higher in pitch.

In German, a carillon is also called a Glockenspiel".

GOGE (Gonjey) [Ghana]

Gonjey Music (Fiddle Music) - Dagomba People

africanbushdoctor | December 14, 2006

Gonjey music from the Dagomba people, Northern Ghana, West Africa.
"The goge is West African one string stick fiddle found in a variety of shapes and sizes, and known by a number of names. The most common form is known as goge by the Hausa and Yoruba in Nigeria and the Songhay, Djerma, Mauri, and Hausa in Niger. In Ghana the Mamprusi-Dagomba call it a gonje and in Benin it can be reffered to as a godie. Typically goge are made from a lizard skin covered half gourd, pierced by a thin neck and a horsehair string that passes over a small bridge placed close to the edge of the gourd. Bowed with a small horsehair bow, the goge has a very distinctive sound that makes use of a multiphonic voice. Played by both men and women with great virtuosity, the goge is used in small ensembles and to accompany singing"..-

Babongo Pygmies of Congo- Traditional Instruments Demo


afriqueprofonde, Uploaded on Mar 31, 2007

This is rare footage, courtesy of Afrique Profonde ( from the Republic of Congo. This is a group of Babongo Pygmies demonstrating their traditional musical instruments and style.

These people are some of the last remaining Pygmies in Central Africa, and their way of life and cultural knowledge are endangered. Afrique Profonde, a nonprofit started by Marius Billy and Justin Perkins, is working to help them preserve their cultural traditions and secure their basic human rights.
Click for information about the Babongo. Note that the word "pygmies" is considered to be derogatory.

GUDUGUDU [Nigeria]

Yorùbá Dùndún Ensemble Drums for the Òrìsà

Debbie Klein, Uploaded on Jan 26, 2009

The late Alhaji Durolu, master drummer from Èrìn-Òsun, leads this ensemble. Alhaji asked me to record these Òrìsà songs.

The gudugudu is described in this video as a "kettle type drum that is included in many dundun ensembles."
"Gudugudu is a traditional drum used by the Yoruba ethnic group of Nigeria. The gudugudu, being a member of the dundun family of drums, is said to mimic speech. Some commentators think that the gudugudu drum is so melodic and danceable that it can sustain a melody without accompaniment. It can be seen and experienced in modern sekere, fuji, apala and possibly juju cultural performances."

GUIRO (Guira) [Caribbean, South America)

cundito guira demostracion desde Santiago

cunditovip | August 31, 2009

¡Es hora de plena!

sawing14s | July 02, 2008
-snip- gives this definition for "plena": "A Puerto Rican folk ballad, often accompanied by guitars, guiros , maracas and conga drums"

"The güiro (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈɡwiɾo]) is a Latin-American percussion instrument consisting of an open-ended, hollow gourd with parallel notches cut in one side. It is played by rubbing a stick or tines along the notches to produce a ratchet-like sound.

The güiro is commonly used in Puerto Rican and other Latin-American music, and plays a key role in the typical rhythm section of important genres like cumbia and son. Playing the güiro usually requires both long and short sounds, made by scraping up and down in long or short strokes.

The güiro, like the maracas, is often played by a singer. Another type of güiro, commonly found in Brazil, is the reco-reco, is made of a cylindrical metal box that encases two or three steel springs. These are stretched over a lid, against which a metal stick is rubbed."...

HAND DRUM [United States , Native American]

American Indian Chant *

Digitalreelz | January 06, 2008

Filmed in Abq, New Mexico
* This video viewer's comment corrects this video's title:
nachise51-"Folks, this is not a "chant", it's a good, old-fashioned round dance song, and round dance songs are usually love songs. Nothing mystical, just good human stuff for social dances.

Good song, great voice."

9 Year Old Rocks Hand drum

1ootsie | September 08, 2009

9 year old Aaron Potts Letendre sings a rounddance song at alexis first nation


Big Walter Horton

sonnyboy3, Uploaded on Nov 19, 2009

American folk blues festival 1970 Copenhagen
"The harmonica, also French harp, blues harp, and mouth organ,[1] is a free reed wind instrument used worldwide in many musical genres, notably in blues, American folk music, jazz, country, and rock and roll. There are many types of harmonica, including diatonic, chromatic, tremolo, octave, orchestral, and bass versions...

The harmonica was developed in Europe in the early part of the 19th century. Free reed instruments like the sheng were fairly common throughout East Asia for centuries and were relatively well known in Europe for some time. Around 1820, free reed designs began being created in Europe. While Christian Friedrich Ludwig Buschmann is often cited as the inventor of the harmonica in 1821, other inventors developed similar instruments at the same time.[10] Mouth-blown free reed instruments appeared in the United States, South America, the United Kingdom and in Europe at roughly the same time. The reason it was made was so it could be used for classical music"...

HARMONIUM [India, Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan]

World's Fastest and Best Harmonium solo by Great Maestro

Uploaded by tablashiv on Mar 26, 2008

Amazing super fast harmonium solo by Pt.Kishore Banerjee in raga Palash Kafi set to 16 beats time cycle Teentaal. Tabla accompaniment by Shiv Shankar Banerjee.

"A harmonium is a keyboard instrument similar to an organ. It blows air through sets of free reeds, producing musical notes. The harmonium sounds like an accordion.

There are two sorts of harmonium. In a foot-pumped harmonium, the player pumps a foot pedal which operates a bellows that sends the air to the reeds.

A hand-pumped harmonium has a hand bellows that blows the air. It is used in music of India, Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan. In a foot pumped harmonium both hands are free to use the key board. In a hand pumped harmoum only one hand can be used. Very skilled players pump enough air with one hand, remove it and play with both hands wherever necessary. It is used as an accompanying instruments in classical Hindustani music, Sufi music, bhajan singing, musical renditions of the classics and a variety of genres. nomadic singers string it and wear it around their shoulders and go from village to village taking part in village fairs and festivals."...

HARP [Egypt, Western Europe]

l homme a la harpe

allahndong | January 08, 2008

Lord Ékomy Ndong ☥

Phantom of the Opera on Harp - Iron Maiden

Jonathan Faganello, Uploaded on Oct 10, 2009

Campanha Jonathan Faganello no Rock In Rio.
"The earliest evidence of the harp is found in Ancient Egypt circa 2500 BC. They were shaped liked bows or angular and had very few strings (because they lacked a column they could not support much string tension).

The frame harp, or a harp that included a straight forepillar (or column in the modern sense), first appeared in Medieval Western Europe in the 8th to 10th centuries AD. Although there are very few remaining in existence, art from that time indicates they utilized about ten or eleven strings. The first harp to feature a hollowed soundbox that amplified the instrument's sound dates back to Ireland in the 14th century. It also included a curved forepillar, a stronger neck and 30 to 36 brass strings."...


Harpsichord Performance: Comparone Plays Scarlatti

Elaine Comparone, Uploaded on Aug 17, 2007

Harpsichordist Elaine plays Sonata in D minor, K. 517 by Domenico Scarlatti on her 2-manual harpsichord built in 1968 by William Dowd.

"A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It produces sound by plucking a string when each key is pressed. The harpsichord was widely used in baroque music. It became less popular following the invention of the piano, but its distinctive sound is still used in contemporary music."

HOSHO [Botswana, Zimbabwe]

Botswana-Zimbabwe Music Lenaka la Kudu 3

Bokete7 | September 06, 2008 |

Musical refugee Innocent Chivarange from Glendale Zimbabwe born in 1963, singing the song "Tsamba Tsamba Nyora Tsamba" with shaker & kudu horn.

In shona language the horn is called "Hwamanda"...

Mbira and hosho, Seke , Zimbabwe

mbiriviri, Published on Dec 12, 2013

Bezil and Ngoni Makombe, Seke, 1998
Another example of hosho playing is found in the video "Mawungira Enharira" which is placed under "mbira".
"The hosho are Zimbabwean musical instruments consisting of a pair of maranka (mapudzi) gourds with seeds. They typically contain hota (Canna indica) seeds inside them.[1] The hosho are used to accompany Shona music, especially mbira music. They make a rattling sound that western ears may be unaccustomed to hearing. However, this accompaniment is essential when playing mbira and/or marimba music. So essential, in fact, that extra vibrating elements such as mirlitons (buzzing membranes made from spider webs) are attached to the resonating tubes of marimbas and machachara (miniature Hosho made from seashells or bottle caps) are attached to the mbira and its deze.[2] Mbiras and marimbas from Africa; and even other instruments, such as drums, will have some kind of rattles associated with their use.

From a western perspective the hosho are seen as accompanying instruments to mbira, when in actuality they are seen as the lead instruments by the mbira players."...

HURDY GURDY[Western Europe or the Middle East]

Hurdy Gurdy: Double Header

Uploaded by gruevie on Oct 8, 2007

Variations on a medeival dance tune called Petit Riens and an original track.
"The hurdy gurdy or hurdy-gurdy is a stringed instrument that produces sound by a crank-turned, rosined wheel rubbing against the strings. The wheel functions much like a violin bow, and single notes played on the instrument sound similar to those of a violin...

The hurdy gurdy is generally thought to have originated from fiddles in either Western Europe or the Middle East (e.g. rebab) some time before the eleventh century A.D.[

Read the comments under the entry for "Hosho".

JUG )Jug band) [African American, United States]

Whistler's Jug Band - Foldin' Bed

Mike *--_--*, Uploaded on Oct 14, 2007

Times ain't like they used to be [videorecording] : early rural and popular American music, 1928-1935

Memphis Shakedown - The Carolina Chocolate Drops

Will Shade Tribute, Uploaded on Apr 26, 2008

The Carolina Chocolate Drops perform a Memphis Jug Band song from 1934 at the Will Shade Gravestone Benefit.
"A jug band is a band employing a jug player and a mix of traditional and home-made instruments. These home-made instruments are ordinary objects adapted to or modified for making of sound, like the washtub bass, washboard, spoons, stovepipe and comb & tissue paper (kazoo). The term jug band is loosely used in referring to ensembles that also incorporate home-made instruments but that are more accurately called skiffle bands, spasm bands or juke (or jook) bands (see juke joint) because they are missing the required jug player...

Early jug bands were typically made up of African American vaudeville and medicine show musicians. Beginning in the urban south, they played a mixture of Memphis blues (even before it was formally called the blues), ragtime, and jazz music. The history of jug bands is related to the development of the blues. The informal and energetic music of the jug bands also contributed to the development of rock and roll.

The well-known Memphis jug bands were small street groups, performing generally on Beale Street, and had their own blues style, using guitar, harmonica, banjo and a jug to accompany their blues and dance songs.[1]"...

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments and additions to this list are welcome.

You may also be interested in my new blog:
Cocojams2 showcases examples of English language playground rhymes, cheers, and singing games, with special emphasis given to African American examples.

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