Unknown instrument
March 20, 2005 3:30 PM   Subscribe

A few years ago my mother picked up this traditional(?) instrument in Hungary. What's it called and how do you use it?
posted by klue to Society & Culture (9 answers total)
To me it looks like a loom shuttle of some kind (the piece that slings back and forth through the weaving, with thread attached). My mother has a couple she uses as candle holders on the wall. Hers look sort of like this. It might indeed be some kind of instrument, but you could try that angle in your searching.
posted by nelleish at 4:16 PM on March 20, 2005

Maybe a small dulcimer of some sort?
posted by rooftop secrets at 4:33 PM on March 20, 2005

i was thinking along similar lines to nelleish. i wondered if, for example, it might be some kind of "needle" used for repairing fishing nets.

or does it produce a sound in some way?
posted by andrew cooke at 4:37 PM on March 20, 2005

I've seen jaw-harps from the Philippines that look like that. You hold it in front of your mouth and twang the tongue with your finger. I don't know if they have a similar instrument in Hungary, or if that's what yours is, but it seems pretty simple — I wouldn't be surprised if the Hungarians had come up with the same idea.
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:40 PM on March 20, 2005

I'll second nebulawindphone on the jaw-harp / jews harp / trump tip. Check around these links: 1 & 2. Maybe one of the humans behind those sites can give you a positive ID. One or two of the instruments in the pic on this 3rd page look like yours.
posted by omnidrew at 5:03 PM on March 20, 2005

I have one just like that, but in metal - it was from a Hmong tribe in Sa Pa, Vietnam. It's identical in shape, and indeed you use it to play with your mouth. You can vary the tone by changing the shape of your mouth, tongue, throat. Be careful of your teeth though - I've been poked a few times from the little middle part.
posted by fionab at 6:02 PM on March 20, 2005

i think you're on the right track ... this cambodian instrument is pretty close ... this are somewhat similar
posted by pyramid termite at 6:08 PM on March 20, 2005

s/these/this ... sheesh
posted by pyramid termite at 6:09 PM on March 20, 2005

Well, it looks to me like a jews harp, called doromb in Hungarian. Except that I've never seen a wooden one here - people who play them (mostly for music of the Moldavian Csango Hungarians) almost always play metal ones. Your mother probably picked it up at a crafts fair, right?
posted by zaelic at 3:44 AM on March 21, 2005

« Older The ending of   |   AC off car/marine battery -- tips? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.