Bladder fiddle

The bladder fiddle (also known as bumbass or poispil) is a folk instrument used throughout Europe. The instrument was a simple large monochord made with a long stick, a thick gut string, and a pig's bladder. It is bowed with either a notched stick or a horsehair bow. It is known under different names; in Germany it was called the bumbass, in France the basse de Flandre, and in England a drone, "drone and string" or bladder fiddle. In Germany sometimes a bell or cymbal was added to the top for decoration or additional sound. In England it was used by traveling musicians.[1]

The drum, made of an inflated animal bladder or taut animal hide, is secured to the centre of a long stick. A thick string is then attached to each end of the stick, securing the bladder. It is usually played standing upright by drawing the bow over the string.

A related instrument was preserved amongst the Pennsylvania Dutch (German immigrant to the rural Eastern United States), and is known as a boom-ba.

Latin America

In Venezuela, the bladder fiddle is known as "marimba, tarimba, guarumba, guasdua, and carangano".[2]


  1. Baines
  2. David M. Guss (2000). The Festive State: Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism as Cultural Performance. University of California Press. pp. 188–. ISBN 978-0-520-92486-4.

External links

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