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Creator Nationality: African; West African; Gambian; Mandinka; Malinke
Creator Role: Maker
Creator Name-CRT: Made by Mandinka people
Title Type: Object name
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1800
Creation End Date: 1899
Creation Date: 19th Century
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Idiophone/struck/tonal
Classification Term: Xylophone
Materials and Techniques: Wood, gourd, hide, membrane
Dimensions: H. 8 5/8 in. (22 cm); L. 34 in. (86.5 cm); D. 17 7/8 in. (45.5 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 89.4.492
Credit Line: The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889
This balo is a xylophone with 15 gourd-resonated bars of wood. Among the Manding peoples, professional male musicians play such xylophones to accompany praise songs in a manner akin to music of the kora. Each hand holds a rubber-tipped mallet and bells are strapped to the player's wrist to add rhythmic emphasis. A sound modifier is affixed over the holes located under the bars in the side of each gourd located. In old examples such as this one, the modifier, which produces a buzzing sound essential to the African music aesthetic, is made of a membrane from a spider's-egg case. Today, makers use a more durable and accessible material-cigarette paper.
AMICA ID: MMA_.89.4.492
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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