|Nyonganyonga. Zambezi province, |
Mozambique, ca. 1900.
Wood, shell, metal, beads.
Hall plays a rather unusual combination of two instruments, one that he calls the "kalimbatar." This hybrid instrument merges an acoustic guitar with a specially designed version of the West African kalimba.
Kalimba is one name for a type of instrument known as a lamellophone, consisting of thin metal or split cane tongues mounted on a resonating board or box. Depressing the free ends of the tongues with the thumb produces a gentle ringing sound, which is sometimes augmented by jingling objects. An example of a similar instrument, possibly by the Barwe people—members of the Shona community in the Zambezi province of Mozambique—can be found in the Museum's collection.
This example has thirty-one metal keys and disks made of snail shells that are pinned to the body and rattle when played. Tuning is accomplished by sliding the tongues in or out to alter their vibrating length and pitch.
|Seated Chief Playing Thumb Piano |
(Mwanangana). Angola, before 1869
The use of thumbs to play the instrument is the reason why the lamellophone is often known to Westerners as the "thumb piano."
- Article courtesy of The METMETmuseum.org
- Nyonganyonga. Zambesi province, Mozambique, ca. 1900. Wood, shell, metal, beads. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889 (09.163.6)
- Seated Chief Playing Thumb Piano (Mwanangana). Angola, before 1869. Wood (Uapaca), cloth, fiber, beads. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund, 1988 (1988.157)