bull-roarer

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bull-roarer,

an instrument consisting of slit board or chamber attached to a cord. When swung around in the air, it emits a deep, vibrant, "whirrrrrr"-like sound. The mythology of some Native South Americans (e.g., the Tupí-Guaraní) indicates that women originally controlled such sacred instruments of power as bull-roarers, flutes, or trumpets, but, through some calamity (often involving women's inability to hunt), lost possession of these instruments to men. The control of such instruments legitimizes adult male power. Thus, at puberty, Bororo boys are shown how to use bull-roarers, and they participate in secret rituals with the adult men. There are separate ceremonies in which men taunt women with bull-roarers, sexual songs, and clay phalluses. Taboos exist against women seeing these instruments, which are normally concealed in the men's house but removed for ceremonies. Women's real attitude toward bull-roarers is difficult to gauge; some secretly admit to have seen the sacred instruments, but open defiance of the taboos would invite severe sanctions and is avoided. Among some groups, the instrument is merely a toy. The bull-roarer is also important among the Australian aborigines. See matriarchymatriarchy,
familial and political rule by women. Many contemporary anthropologists reject the claims of J. J. Bachofen and Lewis Morgan that early societies were matriarchal, although some contemporary feminist theory has suggested that a primitive matriarchy did indeed exist
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References in periodicals archive ?
In order of frequency the types were: boomerangs, shields, spear throwers, clubs, containers (coolamons, plates, boxes), walking sticks, stockwhip handles, bullroarers and other miscellaneous objects (including table tops).
In the interests of universalising Aboriginal cultural property, he is displacing it from the interrelated context of place, people, language, dance, clap-sticks, bullroarer, fire and ceremony, and is therefore introducing radical distortions.
The reorganization seems to have been fairly effective but the old beliefs were superseded by new Aboriginal ideas that arose during the chaos or were imported with Aboriginal migrants from other regions; e.g., the Kunapipi cult of the bullroarer from the Roper River region seems to be superimposed on the local Kalwadi cult of the bullroarer.
Klaus makes it clear that much of the music listed in the book is very difficult and cites several pieces that employ extended vocal techniques, Sprechstimme, aleatoric or improvisatory elements, microtones, and graphic notation, as well as a wide variety of nonstandard accompanimental instruments such as bones, bullroarer, car horn, electric shaver, wrapping paper, and so on.
The string is fixed to a bullroarer and this string is made of human hair that has been twisted strongly into form by a woman's manual labour, rolling string on thigh.
Either an embryo (ratapa), living in the metamorphosed body of an altjirangamitjina, enters the body of a woman passing by, in which case the child would be born with a narrow face, or a "totem ancestor" emerges from the earth and throws a small bullroarer at a woman, in whose body the bullroarer turns into a child which would then be born with a broad face.
A psychoanalytic study of the bullroarer. Man 11:220-38.
Several techniques, as often documented in the area, were used to convince the initiates (and the excluded crowd of women) that these powerful entities were actually present through artefacts specifically made for this purpose: decorated water-holes, animated masks, eerie sounds of hidden trumpets, and bullroarers and shadowy and complex figures displayed in the kurabu inside of which the initiates had to crawl after having been submitted to physical and psychological ordeals aimed at creating a receptive state of mind.
A growing interest in the animism of the object was further emphasized in Bullroarers, an installation of skateboards that have been subjected to an electrical discharge of 9,000 volts.
The singing dunes serve as a leitmotif for the arrival of the airplane--which finds its form with the help of a chorus of bullroarers causing the air to vibrate, evoking the din of an approaching engine.
The New Year and Christmas Romanian custom, many centuries old, is that those who go caroling and bidding the best for the year that is about to begin, with bullroarers or Little Plough poems, the goat sketch, Sorcova (a sort of enchantment, old and heathen, spoken on the first morning of the year) and Steaua, referring to the "star in the east" (said to have led the three wise men to where Christ was born) reenactment tradition, wear masks and are organized into bands.
Ora Barlow, a Maori woman from New Zealand spoke of over 200 indigenous Maori instruments, which were lost when Christian missionaries discouraged their usage and then of a recent revival of some, including bullroarers and ocarinas associated with ancient myths of their people and land.