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The rhaita or ghaita (Arabic: ?‎) is a double reed instrument from North Africa. It is nearly identical in construction to the Arabic mizmar and the Turkish zurna. The distinctive name owes to a medieval Gothic-Iberian influence.[1][2] In southern Iberia, various sorts of wind instruments, including the related shawm, are known as gaitas, but in northern Iberia gaita refers only to bagpipes.

The rhaita was featured in The Lord of the Rings soundtracks by Howard Shore, specifically in the Mordor theme. American composer John Corigliano calls one of the movements of his 1975 Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra "Rhaita Dance," asking the oboist to imitate a rhaita by pushing the reed further into his or her mouth. In 1981 while composing the soundtrack to Altered States Corigliano again called for oboists to mimic the rhaita sound during Three Hallucinations.

See also


  1. ^ Dictionnaire des musiques et danses traditionnelles de la Mediterranée, Paris, Fayard, 2005 (articles on gaita and ghayta).
  2. ^ Pierre Bec, Les instruments de musique d'origine arabe, sens et histoire de leurs désignations, Toulouse, Isatis, Conservatoire Occitan, 2005

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