Quantcast

Back to browse highlights

Nyonganyonga

Date:
1909
Geography:
Zambesi province, Mozambique
Culture:
Barwe People?
Medium:
Wood, shell, metal, beads
Dimensions:
L. 23.4 cm (9 3/16 in.); W. 16.9 cm (6 5/8 in.)
Classification:
Idiophone-Plucked / Depressed
Credit Line:
The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889
Accession Number:
09.163.6
  • Description

    The nyonganyonga is a lamellaphone, an instrument consisting of thin metal or split cane tongues mounted on a resonating board or box. Depressing the free ends of the tongues with the thumbs produces a gentle ringing sound, sometimes augmented by jingling objects attached to the board. The instrument may be amplified by holding it in a hollow gourd. Tuning is accomplished by sliding the tongues in or out to change their vibrating length. Lamellaphones are distributed across sub-Saharan Africa and were brought to Latin America by enslaved Africans. They are known by many names that also may be shared with xylophones. Most names have word stems that include -mbila -mira -limba or -rima. Westerners, not recognizing differences in construction, have simplified the name to two regional terms, calling them either mbira or sanza.

  • Provenance

    Andrew Tracey, Director, International Library of African Music, South Africa stated that it comes from Vila Gouveia (see file), (1981.)

    Old catalogue card calls this instrument a "Zanze, Africa. (Zambezi)"

  • References

    "Musical Instruments in The Metropolitan Museum." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1978), Vol. XXXV, No. 3, pg. 24, ill.



  • See also
    What
    Where
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
503679

Close