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The putipù is a musical instrument traditionally used in folk music of Southern Italy, in particular of Naples and surrounding regions. It is a friction drum, consisting of a cylindrical sound box closed at the top by a stretched membrane, with a bamboo cane attached at the center. The instrument is played by rubbing the rod with a wet hand, cloth, or sponge, that causes the membrane to vibrate.
The putipu exists in several variants, differing on the materials and dimensions. Other common names are caccavella, puti-puti, pignato, cute-cute, cupellone, bufù (in Molise) and cupa-cupa (especially in Apulia). Some of these names are onomatopoeias of the sound. The instrument is also called pernacchiatore (literally "raspberry blower") on account of its sound, or pan-bomba (a corruption of the Spanish name zambomba).
Parts and variations
In the variants called caccavella and pan-bomba, the sound box is made of earthenware (from a high quality clay which is used in the Southern part o Italy for making vases, plates and cooking pans). The putipù proper uses a small wooden tub or barrel instead, and the cupellone uses a larger one. The sound box can also be a large tin can, like those used for tomatoes. The edges of the sound box may be decorated with colored ribbons.
The lower end of the bamboo cane is inserted in a hole made in the middle of the membrane, and tightly tied to it. The upper end of the cane may have some decorative element.
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