Thumb Piano

About this object

Specific techniques

Adding beeswax underneath the keys adds to the weight of the key which produces a bigger, stronger sound (Ngoma by H. Tracey. 1948. p. 24).

Physical description

Thumb piano constructed from a wooden plank base with five narrower, and seven thicker metal prongs raised up from the plank on a piece of wood and bent metal, and secured with a metal bar and wire. Each prong has a ball of resin or wax stuck underneath the end. There is a rattle composed of a metal bar with four metal cylinders attached to the edge opposite the end with the metal prongs. A skin handle is attached at the prong end through two holes in the wooden plank. A ridged geometric design, with an overall rectangular shape composed of four triangles, has been carved into the top face.