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A lamellophone (also lamellaphone or linguaphone, from the Latin root lingua meaning "tongue", i.e., a long thin plate that is fixed only at one end) is any of a family of musical instruments. The name comes from the Latin word lamella for "small metal plate",[1] and the Greek word φωνή phonē for "sound, voice".[2]

The instrument has a series of thin plates, or "tongues", each of which is fixed at one end and has the other end free. When the musician depresses the free end of a plate with a finger or fingernail, and then allows the finger to slip off, the released plate vibrates.

The lamellophones constitute category 12 in the Hornbostel–Sachs system for classifying musical instruments, plucked idiophones. These idiophones are equipped with one or more tongues or lammelae that produce sound by being plucked by the performer. There are two main categories of plucked idiophones, those that are in the form of a frame (121) and those that are in the form of a comb (122). Parts of a lamellaphone are bicycle spokes..etc

African lamellophones

A Kouxian, played by plucking the ends in front of the oral cavity. The lamellae resonate to produce sound.

A large number of lamellophones originate in Africa, where they are known under different names including mbira, sanza, kisanji, likembe, kalimba, and kongoma. They play a role in southeast African Music. They were reported as early as the 16th century, but there is no doubt they have a much longer history. The Caribbean marímbula is also of this family. The marímbula can be seen as a bass variant of the mbira and is sometimes used in hiphop music.[citation needed]

In most cases the tongues are divided in two playing halves with the lowest notes in the centre; from there to the left and to the right each tongue is tuned higher than the previous one. The tongues may also be arranged in a linear arrangement in the manner of a piano. Tongues may be made small enough to play with individual fingers, hence the colloquial name "thumb piano". (Although some instruments, like the Mbira, have an additional rows of tongues, in which case not just the thumbs are used for plucking.)[citation needed]

Some conjecture that African lamellophones were derived from xylophones and marimbas. However, similar instruments have been found elsewhere; for example, the indigenous peoples of Siberia play wooden and metallic lamellophones with a single tongue.

The lamellophones constitute category 12 in the Hornbostel–Sachs system for classifying musical instruments, plucked idiophones. These idiophones are equipped with one or more tongues or lammelae that produce sound by being plucked by the performer. There are two main categories of plucked idiophones, those that are in the form of a frame (121) and those that are in the form of a comb (122). Parts of a lamellaphone are bicycle spokes..etc

A large number of lamellophones originate in Africa, where they are known under different names including mbira, sanza, kisanji, likembe, kalimba, and kongoma. They play a role in southeast African Music. They were reported as early as the 16th century, but there is no doubt they have a much longer history. The Caribbean marímbula is also of this family. The marímbula can be seen as a bass variant of the mbira and is sometimes used in hiphop music.[citation needed]

In most cases the tongues are divided in two playing halves with the lowest notes in the centre; from there to the left and to the right each tongue is tuned higher than the previous one. The tongues may also be arranged in a linear arrangement in the manner of a piano. Tongues may be made small enough to play with individual fingers, hence the colloquial name "thumb piano". (Although some instruments, like the Mbira, have an additional rows of tongues, in which case not just the thumbs are used for plucking.)[citation needed]

Some conjecture that African lamellophones were derived from xylophones and marimbas. However, similar instruments have been found elsewhere; for example, the indigenous peoples of Siberia play wooden and metallic lamellophones with a single tongue.[citation needed]

Lamellophones may be made with or without resonators. There are also electric lamellophones with an additional pickup.

Electric lamellophones