Jing ping

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Music of Dominica
General topics
Related articles
Media and performance
Music festivals Carnival
World Creole Music Festival
Nationalistic and patriotic songs
National anthem Isle of Beauty, Isle of Splendour
Regional music

Jing Ping is a kind of folk music originated on the slave plantations of Dominica, also known colloquially as an accordion band. Dominican folk music, jing ping bands accompany a circle dance called the flirtation, as well as the Dominican quadrille.


The Dominican quadrille generally has four figures, the pastouwèl, lapoul, lété and latrinitez. Some regions of Dominica, such as Petite Savanne, are home to local variants such as the caristo. Many quadrilles are found across Dominica under a wide variety of names. In addition to the standard quadrille, the lancer is also an important Dominican dance.[1]

Accompaniment for the quadrille is provided by a four instrument ensemble called a jing ping band. Jing ping bands are made up of a boumboum (boom pipe), syak or gwaj (scraper-rattle), tambal or tanbou (tambourine) and accordion. The double bass, violin, banjo and guitar are also sometimes used.[2] Bamboo flutes led the jing ping ensembles before the 1940s, when accordions were introduced. The Dominican flute tradition declined as a result, despite their additional use in serenades, until being revived after the National Independence Competitions.[3]

The Instruments of the Accordion Band (Jing Ping)[edit]

The accordion band is the most popular ensemble of folk instruments on the island of Dominica. In recent times, it has been fondly referred to as the Jing Ping band - the name being an onomatopoeia resembling the finely textured sound that is produced by this delightful ensemble:[4]

The Accordion: The accordion, although not indigenous to Dominica, forms an integral part of the traditional band. A retention of European culture, it is a portable aerophone sounded by reeds and the only melodic instrument in the ensemble. It has a set of treble buttons on the right and a set of buttons for chords on the left of the bellows. The more commonly found accordions in Dominica are single action ones, meaning that there is one reed per note, sounding either on the press (when the air is squeezed out of the bellows), or on the draw (when the air is drawn in).

In the band, the accordionist is called upon to establish the melody then to improvise extensively on it.

The Tambal: The tambal is a frame drum, rather like a very large tambourine, utilizing a stretched skin over a wooden body. The metal jingles interspersed along the body of the instrument make for a more lightly textured sound as the player drums. The instrument is held sideways (with the head facing right) and is supported between the lap of the player and the thumb of the left hand which hooks into a loop of twine attached to the instrument. The fingers and heels of both hands are used to produce very syncopated rhythms.

The Gwaj: The Gwaj is a cylindrical idiophone made from a sheet of tin, the surface of which is pierced with holes. It is sealed off at both ends and contains seeds, beads, or tiny stones. A beater, fabricated with three or four lengths of binding wire fitted into a wooden handle is used to scrape and knock the instrument's rough surface as the player, holding the instrument by the tin handle, manipulates the seeds within, producing a series of complex rhythms.

The Boom Boom: The boom boom is a length of bamboo (about 60cm. long and 5cm. in diameter) which is opened at both ends. The player holds the instrument at an angle of about 45 degrees to the floor. He blows into the instrument producing a booming sound. The use of syncopation gives the music bounce and drive.

Jing ping in Contemporary music[edit]


Main article: cadence-lypso

Cadence-lypso was created out of the Trinidadian calypso and Haitian cadence rampa, in connection with the Dominican traditional music call jing ping. If we study closely the rhythms and instruments of jing ping music, we can discern some roots of cadence-lypso.

The rhythm of the syak, also called gwaj - a percussive instrument made from a tin can, punched with numerous holes in which seeds are placed has been used in cadence music via the hi-hat and cymbals. The steady beat of the tanbal (drum) and the foot stomping in jing ping music are reflected in cadence by the drums, particularly the bass drum. The accordion found, so prominent in jing ping music, is reproduced, particularly in terms of the timbre, by the organ and later the synthesizers. The bamboo instrument called boom boom has been replaced by the bass guitar.[5]


Main article: Bouyon music

Bouyon legends Windward Caribbean Kulture (WCK) has played an important role in the development of Jing ping, giving credibility to a style that was seen as backward and unsophisticated. They began experimenting a fusion of Cadence-lypso and Jing ping.[6][7]

While the Cadence-lypso sound is based on the use of acoustic drums, an aggressive up-tempo guitar beat and strong social commentary in the native Antillean Creole language, this new music created by WCK focused more on the use of technology with a strong emphasis on keyboard rhythmic patterns.

Contemporary Jing ping[edit]

Contemporary Jing ping is a modernized version of Jing ping, which utilizes modern instruments such as Drum set, modern Synthesizer, and Electric bass. It reflect a continuing trend to explore the jing ping sound and reproducing it using modern musical instruments and technology.[1]

With cadence-lypso and bouyon we have seen a continuation of certain Dominican music forms such as jing ping and the use of the accordion timbre. The recordings of songs such as "Cavalier MiCavaliere" and "Twenty One" by Exile One and "Hossy" by Imperial All Stars are evidence of Contemporary Jing ping.[2]

Recently, Yohan Henry - Rain from Heaven (JingPing/Dubstep Fuzion).[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Guilbault, Jocelyne (1999). "Dominica". Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Volume 2. Routledge. pp. 840–844. ISBN 0-8153-1865-0. 
  2. ^ Division of Culture is the source for the term accordion band and confirms the primary instrumentation with Guilbault, pp. 840–844; Guilbault does not confirm the use of double bass or banjo.
  3. ^ Cardinal, José. "La Flûte de Bambou dans Quatres Îsles des Antilles (Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominique et Sainte-Lucie)". Master's thesis. Université de Montréal.  cited in Guilbault, pg. 842
  4. ^ "Jing Ping instruments". YouTube. Retrieved September 10, 2005. 
  5. ^ Jocelyne Guilbault. Zouk: world music in the West Indies - page 92. Retrieved August 10, 2010. 
  6. ^ Sullivan, Lynne M. (2004) Adventure Guide to Dominica and St. Lucia, Hunter Publishing, ISBN 978-1-58843-393-0, p. 49
  7. ^ By Paul Crask. "dominica+bouyon&source". The Dominican. Reprinted from National Geographic. Retrieved August 10, 2010.