Music Instruments: African Kissar

African Kissar

African kissar

African kissar

The African kisser was principally found in the eastern districts of Africa. There are a variety of names for this instrument owing to the many localities where they were popular. The strings are plucked and they have a remarkable resemblance to the Greek lyre.

The body is generally round, and consists variously of a gourd, and turtle shell, or even a human skull. From the body, and extending some distance above it, rise two uprights with a cross bar. Its appearance bears a faint resemblance to a rude lyre.

The strings are stretched from the cross bar over a bridge to the lower edge of the body. In the lake countries, antlers were used for the uprights, the material and workmanship were exceedingly crude. The kisser was played by holding the frame in the left hand while resting the edge of the body on your hip. This position of the instrument strongly suggests that of the lyres on Assyrian bas-reliefs.