Musical Instruments

Bow harp, t'na [tenaku]

The six- to nine-stringed bow harp, t'na [tenaku], is played by the Karen people in northern Thailand, mainly by male youths, as part of traditional youth culture and courtship for song accompaniment. More recently, it has become a symbol of Karen ethnicity. The specimen exhibited here, acquired in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, in 2000, has a wooden body shell with a carved 'heel', two sound holes on the sides and a nailed-on tin top. The curved neck carries six long tuning pegs for the wire strings. 

Northern Thailand / before. 2000

Box lamellophone of the likembe type, endongo enene

The likembe type of box lamellophone spread from the Congo to northern Uganda in the late 19th century and shortly afterwards reached the Basoga people in the south of the country. There it was integrated into the rich local tradition of mixed instrumental ensembles, where it is played in three different pitches under the name endongo [budongo] together with the tube fiddle endingidi, the notch flute endere, two pan flutes nkwanzi and the rattle ensasi. The bass instrument endongo enene, acquired in Kampala in 1997 and exhibited here, has 6 + 7 iron lamellae with rattle tubes and the typical vibrato finger hole on the underside.

Southern Uganda/ before 1977

Bowl-necked lute with bowed bow, rebāb [rabāb]

The Maghreb rebāb [rabāb] is a pear-shaped two-stringed shell-necked lute that is bowed. Its neck-body shell, hollowed out over its entire length, is closed with a split brass plate/brass membrane corner with a rosette-shaped perforation in the brass part. The pegbox, set at right angles at the upper end of the neck, carries two long flank pegs. The instrument occupies a central position in the ensemble of the classical andalusī nubāh. The type is already pictorially documented in the miniatures of the medieval Iberian song manuscript "Cantigas de Santa Maria" (13th century).

Maghreb, probably Morocco, before 2016 

Bird organ, serinette

The serinette or bird organ is a small type of barrel organ that was developed in the 18th century for training singing birds and became a bourgeois children's toy in the 19th century. With the help of the hand crank, one operates a bellows that provides the wind and at the same time sets the pin roller in slow rotation, whose pins open the valves under the organ pipes according to the melody course programmed in their arrangement. The melodies sound in the pitch of birdsong. A centre of serinette building was Mirecourt, located in the Vosges Mountains.

France (?), possibly Mirecourt (?), early 18th to late 19th century

Collection of Musical Instruments

The collection of musical instruments, which is affiliated to the Department of Musicology at the University of Göttingen as a teaching and research collection, is one of the largest in Germany. Its typologically, historically and cultural-geographically wide-ranging holdings include musical instruments from all over the world, especially from Europe, Asia and Africa, including ancient Egypt. It is primarily used for teaching and research in the field of musical instruments.

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