Lango trumpet

Lango trumpet
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
North of Lake Kyoga
Cultural Group:
European Lango
Date Made:
By 1925
Antelope Horn Animal , Animal Tail , Animal Hide Skin , Animal Claw , Lizard Skin Reptile , Bast Fibre Bark Plant , Textile Animal Hair Plant Fibre Animal Sinew Animal Claw
Carved , Perforated , Bound , Plaited , Twisted , Knotted Woven
Trumpet L = 365 mm; proximal end diam = 85, fingerhole diam = 5; embouchure diam = 27 by 19, L fingerhole to embouchure edge = 71; bell mouth exterior = 50 by 47.5, interior diam = 47 by 43; lower sheath L = 134.7, middle sheath L = 50; reptile skin bindi
503.4 g
Local Name:
arupapa [arupape?] or apel
Other Owners:
Jack Herbert Driberg
Field Collector:
Jack Herbert Driberg
PRM Source:
Jack Herbert Driberg
Donated 1925
Collected Date:
By 1925
Side-blown trumpet, carved out from a single piece of dark brown antelope horn (Pantone black 7C) and then hollowed out. This has been cut off at the proximal end, just above the tip of the horn, to form a circular finger-hole with a worn, rounded edge. A thin sheet of iron has been rolled up and inserted inside this to line the sides. As this would not change the note produced, it must be either decorative or intended as some kind of reinforcement. An oval embouchure has been cut into the upper, convex surface near this end and has traces of wear around the lip; this is the opening through which the instrument would be played. From here, the body of the trumpet gradually tapers out and becomes more oval in section, curving to follow the natural shape of the horn, with ribbing that becomes more marked as it widens towards the bell mouth, which has a slightly irregular lip. The body has been further embellished with bands of hide and reptile skin. The proximal end has been fitted with a sheath of hide covered with short orangey brown (Pantone 469C) to buff hair. This extends from just above the finger-hole to beyond the embouchure and has no obvious seam. It may actually consist of 2 separate sheaths fitted over one another; integral to these are 2 small pairs of animal claws, and a hardened ridge of similar material, suggesting the hide may have been taken intact from the lower leg of a small animal. The hair has worn off along one side, possibly from use. An oval hole has been cut into one side of the lower sheath to expose the embouchure. 2 thin sinew cords have been tied around their upper and lower ends to keep these sheaths in place.

After a short gap there is an additional sheath, made from similar material and also without any seams. There is a further, short gap, then a section where narrow strips of reptile skin have been wrapped around the upper body and finished with a broad raised plaited band down one side. The horn ridge immediately above this band has been pierced, and one of the strips looped through it to secure this binding in place. This binding is a dark brown colour (Pantone Black 7C) with lighter brown showing through in places, and has been smeared with red ochre. It forms a seating for suspension loop that was probably used to carry the trumpet. This made from twisted 2-ply reddish brown plant fibre cord (Pantone 469C to Pantone Black 4C), passed through the plaited band and then knotted at either end to form a loop. A short length of flat yellow and brown bast has been knotted around the lower end of this, and tied to the top of a narrow hide band, plaited in a herringbone design, and smeared with red ochre. At its base, this band is tied to a scrap of buff coloured chequer woven textile (Pantone 466C) from which hangs a long tassel made out of black animal hair (Pantone Black 6C). The hair is attached to the outer surface of one or more hide strips, which are wound into a tight spiral. A short sheath made of of what is probably a section of animal's tail has been fitted over the top of this to help hold the tassel together. This is a dark brown colour (Pantone Black 7C), with traces of reddish orange hair visible in places.

The trumpet is complete and in good condition, although with signs of wear, including some broken sections along the plaited hide band. It has a weight of 503.4 grams. The trumpet body is 365 mm long; its proximal end has a diameter of 85 mm and a finger hole diameter of 5 mm; the embouchure has a diameter of 27 by 19 mm, while the length from finger hole to embouchure edge is 71 mm. The bell mouth measures 50 by 47.5 mm across its exterior, and 47 by 43 mm across its internal diameter. The lower hide sheath or sheaths are 134.7 mm long in total; the central sheath is 50 mm long, and the reptile skin binding is made up of strips that are 4 mm wide, and which cover an area 50 mm in length. The fibre cord has a diameter of 3.3 mm; the plaited hide band is 365 mm long, 8 mm wide and 5.3 mm thick, and the decorative tassel is 470 mm long, and has a diameter of 28.3 by 26.3 mm at the top.

Collected by Jack Herbert Driberg in Uganda, North of Lake Kyoga, and donated to the Pitt Rivers Museum in 1925.

This type of trumpet is known as
arupape, or apel. It was worn around the neck with the long tail hanging down the back, and was used in dances According to Driberg, the term apel is used several ways by the Lango - for a trumpet (as here); for an orchid, so called because its sap is used for rubbing on the trumpet known as apel ; and as 'charred by lightning. Hence also of colour, e.g.: Dyang apel , a cow with black streaks on the flanks' (Driberg 1923, The Lango, p. 367).

Compare the treatment of the finger-hole in this example with 1925.14.15 (an end-blown trumpet), which also has a piece of metal inserted into it.

The object is currently on display in the Court, case 81A.

Rachael Sparks 25/9/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry [VII, p. 189] - 1925 [pencil insert] 14 [end insert] J.H. DRIBERG , Esq. c/o the Postmaster, Khartoum. Specimens collected by himself among the LANGO tribe in the UGANDA PROTECTORATE, N. of LAKE KIOGA. Viz: [...] [p. 190] 1925.213 [pencil insert] 17 [end insert] - Arupapa [sic], or apel , side-blast trumpet of antelope's horn with small terminal stop; worn round the neck with the tail hanging down the back. Used in dances.
Additional accession book entry [VII, p. 25 top, in pencil] - blue numbers not valid & not on specimens. Inserted by an assistant in error. [page opposite 190] - 1925.14.17 Number given HLR.

Old Pitt Rivers Museum label - Side-blast trumpet used for dances, LANGO tribe, UGANDA PROT. (N. of L. KIOGA). Pres. by J.H. Driberg,, 1925.14.17 / Arupape , or Apel [rectangular metal edged tag; tied to object, RTS 6/12/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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