Musical instruments: Ultuta

In Baskeet, a variety of instruments are used exclusively during mourning ceremonies but never played at weddings or other happy occasions, among them are different types of wooden and horn trumpets. This is the fourth blog post portraying a “mourning instrument” – see the posts on the nookka-trumpet here, the mourning rattles here and the b’ita-trumpet here.

Today’s post is about a wind instrument called ultuta, which is made from a cow horn. The instrument shown below is owned by Sarso Shawtto from the neighbourhood of Doocc’a-Miizgawa:

Baskeet mourning instrument made from a cow horn

Baskeet mourning instrument made from a cow horn

Like the b’ita (a wind instrument made from an antelope horn), the ultuta has two holes, a mouth hole drilled into the horn through which the air enters, and a hole through which the air leaves. The tone of the flute is modified by narrowing or closing and opening the latter hole, as the video below shows. The sound of the ultuta has more volume than that of the b’ita:

Like other “mourning instruments”, the ultuta is played during the processions (called korz in Baskeet) that lead up to the house of a deceased person’s family on the day after the deceased’s burial.

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Acknowledgments: I am grateful to Sarso Shawtto for showing me how the ultuta is played.
© 2011-2 Baskettoethiopia All Rights Reserved
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3 Responses to Musical instruments: Ultuta

  1. Pingback: Musical instruments in Baskeet: Moyza | Basket to Ethiopia

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