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The mijwiz (midwiz, minjayrah) is a single-reed wood-wind instrument with two cylindrically bored tubes of same length. Both tubes
are bound together with threads. Five to eight large fingerholes of each tube are placed in pairs. Both tubes are tuned in unison. The instruments are manufactured out of hollow plantstalks (mostly bamboo). Sound is mostly softer than sound of sipsi. The instrument was already known in the antique Egypt. It's manufactured nearly unchanged to date. This construction corresponds to two bound sipsis. Possibly it was the prototype for antique aulos (Grece) and tibia (Roman empire).
Two playing techniques exists:
1. It's played unison. This causes a chorus effect. Each finger covers a pair of fingerholes.
2. It's played two-part. Each hand operates one tube. Another difficult fingering especially exists for highest pair of fingerholes. Left forefinger operate both fingerholes. If highest tone should be played on left tube only, middle finger phalanx must be lift of fingerhole and outer finger phalanx must completely cover the fingerhole of right tube. It's more difficult to play the highest tone on right tube only. Outer finger phalanx must be lift of fingerhole and middle finger phalanx must completely cover the fingerhole of left tube to do this. This fingering enables to operate an additional lower fingerhole with right hand.
If more fingerholes are available than fingers to cover them either lower tones aren't used or some fingerholes are covered temporary with stoppers or wax. Both playing techniques can alternately be used. Tuning of this instrument is critical by playing because each try to slide tones affects both tubes at the same time. Its large fingerholes don't allow to use cross fingerings. Mijwiz is mostly played with circular breathing.
The instrument used in sound example comes from Egypt. Scale differs from any European scale!
The arghoul (argul, arroul) looks like the mijwiz in sound and construction, but it has one tube with five to eight large fingerholes and one drone without fingerholes that often consists of several segments. That enables to tune drone. The instrument was already known in the antique Egypt too. It's manufactured nearly unchanged to date. Arghoul played with circular breathing may be the oldest predecessor of bagpipes. Sometimes the mijwiz is called arghoul too.
The launedda that's played till today in Sicilia corresponds to a combination of an arghoul and an additional sipsi.
|© Sönke Kraft, Hannover 2001|
last update: 25.10.2015