Musicians

 

 

Musicians, playing classical music on a city square in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Monks, blowing huge horns during a Buddhist initiation ceremony, taking place outside a Tibetan monastery next to the Bodhnath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal. – This stupa is presented in depth on the page Religion: Buddhism. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

A theatre group in Taichung, Taiwan, named U-Theatre, performing the Sword of Wisdom – combined drumming and dancing with sticks. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

One of the earliest instruments was the drum – originally probably a hollow tree trunk, beaten with a stick. Drumming is of great attraction to almost everybody, appealing to our deepest instincts. A selection of photographs below shows various types of drumming.

 

 

Drumming appeals to our deepest instincts. This Taiwanese child clearly enjoys playing on a drum. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Drummers, participating in a street carnival, Los Christianos, Tenerife, Canary Islands. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

This drummer is performing at a camel festival, taking place in the city of Bikaner, Rajasthan, India. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Drumming is a very important part of any Daoist event in Taiwan – temple festivals, parades, theatre performances, even funerals.

Daoism is dealt with in detail on the page Religion: Daoism in Taiwan.

 

 

During a Daoist parade in the city of Taichung, celebrating Chinese New Year, this long line of drums is pulled by a car. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Drummers parade during a festival in the town of Shinggang, dedicated to the Daoist Mother Goddess Mazu. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Small boys, large drums. – Daoist parades in Taichung (top) and Shinggang. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

A Daoist lion dance, accompanied by drums, is performed in front of a shop in Taichung. Such ceremonies supposedly bring good luck to your business. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

During a performance in Taichung, the faces of these members of the Chio-Tian Folk Drums & Arts Troupe are painted to depict Bajiajiang beneficial, devil-like creatures. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

A simple type of drum is the tabla, which is beaten with the fingertips.

 

The picture below shows a Newar, beating a tabla during the Hindu festival of Bisket Jatra, celebrated in the city of Bhaktapur, Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. The tika mark on his forehead, consisting of a mixture of mustard oil and red powder, also contains rice kernels, indicating that an important festival is taking place. His hat, called a topi, is typical of the Newar people.

 

 

(Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Musicians, playing tablas and cymbals, participate in a procession, bringing offerings to a Hindu temple near Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

These men play tablas at a Hindu ceremony, taking place during the annual Sonpur Fair in Bihar, northern India. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

During a camel festival, taking place in the city of Bikaner, Rajasthan, India, this musician is playing on a tabla. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Muslim musician, performing on a tabla, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Drummer and tabla player, Kota Bharu, Malaysia. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Jain temples in western India are renowned due to their exquisite carvings in white marble. Other pictures from some of these marvellous temples are presented on the page Religion: Jainism.

 

 

Tabla players, carved into a marble column in the Vimal Vasahi Jain Temple at Dilwara, Mount Abu, Rajasthan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

This carving, depicting a female tabla player and a female flutist, adorns the Jain temple atop the Shetrunjaya Hill, near Palitana, Gujarat. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Yet another very simple type of ‘drum’ is the gong, a flat, circular metal disc, beaten with a mallet. This instrument is typical of China, Taiwan, Japan, Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

 

 

Gongs are a very common feature during Daoist festivals in Taiwan. This large one is displayed in the Longde Temple (‘Dragon Virtue’), Fenyuan, western Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

During a wedding celebration in the village of Sagada, northern Luzon, Philippines, Bontoc tribal women perform a dance, while men are beating gongs. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Batak tribals in the village of Tomok, Samosir Island, Sumatra, Indonesia, perform with gongs, drums, and a clarinet-like instrument. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

Blowing through various tubes to produce sounds is another very early type of music. These tubes have evolved into a bewildering array of blowing instruments: flutes, lurs, horns, clarinets, and saxophones, to name but a few.

 

 

These cave paintings in McIlwaine Game Park, Zimbabwe, which were made by San people (‘Bushmen’), depict dancing people and a flute player. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

This Bronze Age petroglyph, found on a stone slab in Kivik Royal Tomb, Skåne, Sweden, depicts people, blowing on lurs. – Other pictures, depicting Bronze Age petroglyphs, may be seen on the page Culture: Folk art around the world. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

This boy in Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka, makes a living as a snake charmer, playing on his flute to make a cobra (Naja naja) ‘dance’ in time with the music. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Celebrating the Buddha’s birthday at the Bodhnath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal, these monks play on flutes, made from human femurs. – This stupa is presented in depth on the page Religion: Buddhism. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

During a Daoist festival, dedicated to the god of medicine, Bao Shang, these old men in the Daoist Longde Temple (‘Dragon Virtue’), Fenyuan, western Taiwan, play on clarinet-like instruments (top), while women are beating a huge drum. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Men, blowing huge, winding horns during a catholic procession in the city of Antigua, Guatemala, honouring Santa Clara of Assisi (1194-1253), one of the first followers of St. Francis. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Mali tribal, playing a flute, Odisha (Orissa), India. – Other pictures, depicting Indian tribals, may be seen in the gallery at People: Tribals of India. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

This Balinese wood carving depicts a man, playing on a bamboo flute. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

During a Hindu temple festival in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, women play on various types of flutes and xylophones. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Celebrating the Hindu festival Dassera, or Durga Puja, these men in the city of Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, India, blow on huge brass horns. – More about Hindu festivals is found on the page Travel episodes – India 1991: Attending Hindu festivals in Rajasthan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

This priest is blowing a horn during the Orthodox Christian festival Timkat, celebrated in the town of Lalibela, Ethiopia. This festival is described in detail on the page Travel episodes – Ethiopia 1996: Timkat – a Christian festival. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

During a Daoist festival, dedicated to the Mother Goddess Mazu, celebrated in the town of Pitou, Taiwan, these men are blowing through long brass horns. The rise of the Mazu cult in Daoism is described on the page Religion: Daoism in Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

A third type of instrument is the string instrument, in which you strike your finger nail, or another hard object, on strings, amplifying the produced sound in a gourd, or some other hollow object. Or you may rub a bow, made from cat’s hair or the like, on the strings to produce sounds.

In the old days, the strings were made of dried intestines, later of steel. Today, plastic strings are widely used.

 

 

Violinists, performing at the Himmelsberga Museum, Öland, Sweden. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

At the Himmelsberga Museum, this woman is playing an old hurdy-gurdy-like Swedish instrument, called nyckelharpa. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

The picture below was taken during a Kabuki (Japanese theatre) performance in the city of Huwei, Taiwan. The musician is playing on a shamisen, or sangen (both words mean ‘three strings’), a traditional Japanese string instrument, on which you use a broad plectrum, called a bachi.

 

 

(Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

A blind Shona musician and his assistant perform on the street in Harare, Zimbabwe. While playing a guitar, the man is moving a puppet with his toes, making it ‘dance’ in time with the music. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

In a city park in Taichung, Taiwan, these women spend the morning, playing on a two-stringed instrument, called erhu. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Sidis are an ethnic minority group in India and Pakistan, who descended from Bantu peoples of south-eastern Africa. Some arrived in Asia as merchants, sailors, or mercenaries, others were brought as servants or slaves. Today, the Sidi population is estimated at about 300,000 individuals, living mainly in Karnataka, Gujarat, and Hyderabad in India, and Makran and Karachi in Pakistan. A majority are Muslims, others are Hindus or Catholics.

 

 

During a performance at Zainabad, Gujarat, western India, these Sidis are playing on drums and a string instrument, called malunga. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

The picture below shows wandering minstrels in Luristan, Iran, playing on a local string instrument and a tabla. This picture was taken by my late friend Arne Koch Christoffersen, whom you may read about on the pages, relating travel episodes from 1972-1973, and 1978.

 

 

(Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

This Iban tribal, who lives in a village near the Kakus River, Sarawak, Borneo, is playing on a traditional string instrument, named sapé. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Young street performer, playing a violin, Old Portland, Maine, United States. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Wandering minstrel, playing on a local string instrument, Litipo Forest, southern Tanzania. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

The harp is an advanced type of string instrument, on which you use the fingers of both hands to produce sounds.

 

 

In Ancient Egypt, the god Bes was defending the good and fighting the evil. This relief in the temple of Hathor, Philae, Aswan, depicts this deity, playing on a harp. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

During an annual music festival, orchestras from various local communities in Tirol, Austria, gather in a village, in this case Prägraten, Virgen Valley. Most members are clad in traditional dress. The white feathers in some of the hats are so-called ‘chamois feathers’, symbolizing a tuft of hairs from the back of the chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra). In former days, Austrian hunters would often attach such tufts to their Tyrolian hat.

 

 

(Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

In September 2001, my late friend John Burke and I attended an outdoor play at Fort Ticonderoga, Lake Champlain, New York State, in which scenes from the American Revolutionary War were re-enacted. Several pictures from this performance are shown on the page Rose of the Revolution.

 

 

In this picture, volunteers perform as English troops, marching into battle. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

A young flutist, marching with revolutionary troops. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

A wandering musician and his assistant enjoy a break outside the Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India. The musician has only one leg – the artificial one is seen to the right. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

This mural in Povls Church, Bornholm, Denmark, depicts serious sins, such as playing music, dancing, and playing games – at least according to certain puritanical Christian sects. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

A widespread African musical instrument is the mbira, or kalimba – in English called a thumb piano. This instrument consists of a wooden board, fitted with a resonator, e.g. a small gourd. On the board, metal tines of uneven length are attached, and you play by holding the instrument in both hands, plucking at the tines with your thumbs.

 

 

This man in Zaire is playing on a mbira. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

Klokkestenen (‘The Bell Stone’) is a dolmen from the Stone Age (c. 3000 B.C.), situated on the island of Lyø, Denmark. The small depressions in the stone are made over time by thousands of people, hitting the stone with a small rock, hereby producing a bell-like sound.

Numerous types of megalithic structures are presented on the page Culture: Megaliths.

 

 

(Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

Army musicians perform during a wedding procession in Kathmandu, Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

During the Daoist Boat Burning Festival, in this case taking place in the village of Jiading, near Kaoshiung, Taiwan, musicians march in front of the boat, which is later burned as an offering to the god of diseases, Wang-yeh.

This festival, and many other Daoist festivals, are described on the page Religion: Daoism in Taiwan.

 

 

(Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

Musicians, made from joined pieces of painted wood, Shenghsing, Taiwan. – More pictures of similar handicrafts may be seen on the page Culture: Folk art of Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

Moving a piano into a farm house, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

The sculpture in the picture below, encountered in the Hindu temple Brihadisvara, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, South India, depicts a being, blowing into a bag-pipe. It is quite similar to the European gargoyle, acting as support for a drainage pipe for rain water.

Gargoyles are described on the page Nature: Rain.

 

 

(Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

Almost all cows, grazing on mountain meadows in the Alps, wear bells, creating music when they move around on the meadows, like this one near Säntis, Sankt Gallen, Switzerland. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

Wind-charms are made from bamboo stems of unequal length, which are hung up in strings. When the wind blows, the stems bang against one another, creating nice sounds. This one was seen in Lugu, Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

(Uploaded September 2017)

 

(Latest update January 2021)