Musical Bow - Berimbau
Origin of the Musical Bow
The Musical Bow, or Berimbau, is the oldest and simplest type of chordophone. It consists of a string attached to the ends of a bowed stick. The Musical Bow is believed to have originated in Africa. African people still use the musical bow in ritual folk music. When Africans were forced to the Caribbean islands as slaves, they brought their culture with them. The simple construction of the musical bow allows it to be fabricated easily. The musical bow is still played in the Caribbean islands.
Description of the Musical Bow
The musical bow is approximately 47" long. With practice you can achieve 2 octaves.
With out the resonator you might mistake this musical instrument for the tool it closely resembles and is named after, the bow and Arrow. The “arrow” is a shorten stick, or plectrum. Attached to the “string” or the “bow” may or may not be a resonator. The resonator amplifies the sound.
Our Musical Bow
The musical bow we offer has a metal string with an attached metal resonator which amplifies the sound. The bow and plectrum are wooden.
How to Play the Musical Bow
Hold the bow upright. The bow is held against your chest, to one side, by applying tension on the string. The String may be plucked with the finger, or tapped or stroked with the wooden plectrum. One may also play the string with a smaller bow. As you tap the string with the plectrum, or smaller bow, you fret (or note) the string with the finger of the other hand. You may want to employ a metal washer, paper clip, or other item to keep the wire from digging into your fingertip. Try fretting the string and tapping above and below that note. You will get two sounds. Do not strike the string hard, it is a gentle tap. Experiment with the way you tap and with different objects. Have Fun!