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The mijwiz (midwiz, minjayrah) is a single-reed wood-wind instrument with two cylindrical bored tubes of same length. The tubes
are bound together with threads. The 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 the sound of the sipsi. The instrument was already known in the antique Egypt. It's manufactured nearly unchanged to date. This construction corresponds to two bound sipsis and it was possibly the prototype for the 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 be alternately used. Tuning of this instrument is critical by playing because each try to slide tones affects both tubes at the same time. The large fingerholes don't allow to use cross fingerings. The 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 the drone. The instrument was already known in the antique Egypt too. It's manufactured nearly unchanged to date. The arghoul played with circular breathing may be the oldest predecessor of the 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