Miscellaneous Information

Some of the instruments played at our live shows

Wind Instruments:

C flute - The common western classical flute usually made of silver or gold, called a C flute since it’s lowest note was C until the B key was added in recent times.

Alto Flute - Of the western flute family. In the key of G. Larger and lower than the C flute, it often has a curved head joint to make the stretch ea
sier for shorter-armed players.

Bass Flute - Of the western flute family. A full octave lower than the C flute. Always has the curved head joint. Is no longer the lowest of the flutes now that certain makers are making the contra bass flute which stands over 5 feet tall.

(rhymes with pizza) - Chinese bamboo flute. Has a unique extra hole between the blow hole and the first finger hole which is covered with a thin membrane that gives the flute it’s distinctive buzzing sound.

Ney (nay) - The Turkish reed flute (rhymes with hay) which is almost identical to the Egyptian nay (rhymes with my). The devotional flute that the Sufi mystic Rumi often writes about. Blown downwards from the side, it has a distinctive breathy quality to it’s tone.

Ocarina - A globular vessel flute with a whistle head found in many ancient cultures. Giuseppe Donati invented a type of ocarina in the late 1800’s and gave it it’s name. Usually made of clay with finger holes on both sides of the body.

Egyptian mijwiz - a reed folk instrument often played at festivals and ceremonies. Has a loud distinct sound which is often associated with trance rituals. Single and double tubes.

Native American flute
- Usually made of Cedar wood. Often played to imitate the sounds of nature. Typically played with a pentatonic scale.

- Small reed fipple flute of Indonesia. Played solo and in gamelan orchestras as well as pop music. Typically played with in traditional slendro scale (pentatonic).

Pan pipes - A row (or sometimes 2 rows) of attached tuned pipes. Found in South America, Africa and Eastern Europe. Made of reeds, wood or clay, named after the god of the ancient Greeks who played the instrument for consolation of his lost love.

- East Indian bamboo flute played in folk, devotional and classical music.

Djovanka - Bulgarian double barreled fipple flute.

Mizmar - Also called a zurna, found in Eastern European and North African countries with related instruments found throughout Asia. a double reeded folk oboe with a distinctively loud and nasal tone quality. Played in ceremonies and festivals for rituals and dancing.

Drums and Percussion Instruments:

Talking Drum - Nigerian drum that can create different pitches and sounds when the ropes are squeezed and tightened. Can duplicate the sound of the Nigerian languages, thus it’s name.

Riqq - Egyptian tambourine with sets of double cymbals which can create many distinct tones and patterns. Often is the lead instrument in Arabic music ensembles.

Tabla - Pair of drums from North India. Right-hand drum made of wood tuned to a set pitch, left-hand drum called bayan is made of metal and has a lower but indefinite pitch. Primary drum for North Indian art music.

Khol - Bengali double-headed devotional drum made of clay.

- Waisted drum from the Middle East. Held under arm rested on the leg and played with the fingertips. Usually made of clay or metal with skin or synthetic
head. Often played for dancers.

Frame drum - Found in almost every culture. Skin stretched over a frame struck with the hand or fingers or in some cases a beater. Can be single or double headed.

Djembe - Primary drum of West Africa with a distinctive range of tones and vibrant tone quality. Goblet drum made of hard wood covered with goat skin. Often played for dancers.

Pakawaj - Considered to be the precursor to the tabla. Large and majestic, made of wood with skin heads.

- West African drum made of attached slits of wood. Predecessor to congas.

Tibetan singing bowl - Made of fine spun metals that can create many overtones when struck or rubbed. Used in ceremonies and meditation.

Dun-dun - West African double headed bass drum, usually played with two sticks.

Kartals - Pair of cymbals most often used to accompany devotional chanting.

Zils - Finger cymbals used by Middle Eastern dancers.

Stringed Instruments:

Sitar - Long-necked lute of northern India. Made of gourd body with 7 principal strings, 4 melody and 3 drone, all made of metal, and 12-20 sympathetic strings that create it’s distinctive ringing tone quality.

Guitar - Popular stringed wooden instrument heard in almost all types of music ranging from classical to rock and roll . The flamenco style highlights flamboyant finger work.

Saz - The long-necked lute of Turkey with three sets of metal strings. Considered to be the Turkish national instrument.

Swarasangam - A modern hybrid blend of the ancient Indian swaramandala (very similar to an auto harp) and the tanboura which traditionally provides the drone in Indian music.

Upright bass
- Classically, called a double bass and is the deepest member of the violin family. Used in jazz, pop and folk music as well. Just over 6 feet high, it has 4 strings and it’s lowest pitch is E, almost 3 octaves below middle C.

Kora - The African harp lute with 21 strings which are held in place by goat skin thongs. Has a gourd resonator and is played solo, in ensembles, and to accompany singers.

mailing list

click below to email:


web design by AFTER THE COMET