Ktanka Item in Manifold Sky | World Anvil


The ktanka is a Native Ovinex precussion instrument consisting of one or more long lengths of hollow wooden blocks supported above the ground on frames. The ktanka makes use of the unique ovinex physiology in that it may be played with our without the wooden dowels provided with the instrument; two or three proficient ovinex players may strike the blocks with their keratinous fingers simultaneously to produce blisteringly fast beats.

Mechanics & Inner Workings

A ktanka may stand individually or among others several of different lengths to create different notes. Special frames with grass- or hide-dampened resting pads may be used to bring the instrument up to the level of a standing player, but tradition dictates that a single ktanka held across the laps of its players around a campfire or other gathering is sufficient for the authentic sound. A set of multiple ktanka may also be strapped toether or even fitted to a leather chest harness for playing on the move; the latter such arrangements are common among ovinex fighting units where the ktanka-players serve much the same role as drummers in pre-modern human armies.   The ends of the instrument are not typically capped, though a central wall may be left behind, creating one or more resonant chambers inside of the instrument that provides natural sound amplification properties. The length of this resonant chamber determines the notes playable on a single ktanka, and examples with multiple internal divisions resemble simpler versions of the woodblock instruments used by orchestral bands in the Commonwealth of C.


Oxinex music places much more emphasis on rhythm than tone, meaning that precussion instruments like the Ktanka are far more common amongst them than instruments like the armos nonengu despite ample cross-cultural contact between the ovinex and the neighboring Rostran cultures. The unique sound of ovinex hoof-fingers rapping on ktanka is a point of pride for the Native Ovinex people in particular, as even more intelligent hominid species have difficulty replicating it and Civil Ovinex tend to pick up the utensil-based playstyle of their Rostran compatriots.

Item type
Musical Instrument
While professionally made ktanka are not common outside of the Ovinex Island Tribes, the instrument's simplicity means that performers can source new ktankas or ktanka analogues nearly anywhere.

Raw materials & Components
Because they are meant to be struck hard, fast, and repeatedly, it is important to pick a suitable wood when constructing a ktanka. Locally-sourced ironwood is a popular choice, as, though it is heavier than more convenient materials, it will also resist pitting, peening, and scarring as a result of the performer's ministrations. Dowels used for striking the instrument, whether because the player's fingers are softened for some reason or because the player is not an ovinex, are made of a soft wood for this reason. These dowels are typically undampened and flattened into a spade near the end in an attempt to emulate the sharp, crisp rapping of ovinex fingers.

Cover image: by BCGR_Wurth


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