We can explore the use of instruments including -

  • Membranophones. (An instrument that produces sound from tightly stretched membranes that can be struck, plucked, rubbed, or sung into - (Machlis) For village festivities the membranophones are the most prominent. The village drums are usually stored in a place of importance, the sleeping hut of the Jo Burra. This hut is near the dancing floor and close by the residence of the chief. When played, they are usually placed on forked stakes in the middle of the dancing area. Three drums are usually employed, a small, medium, and large drum. The drums are constructed out of wood and covered with a type of leather. After the tree is cut, an expert will be called who will take about a month to shape the drum. The drum body is open on either end and thoroughly hollowed out in the middle. Though covered at both ends with skin, it is never played on the bottom, only on the top and the rim.

  • Idiophones (Instrument that produces sound from the substance of the instrument itself by being struck, blown, shaken, scraped or rubbed i.e. bells, rattles, xylophones, and cymbals - Machlis) A gourd will be used as a drum - which gives off a pleasant percussive sound when played by the hands of a performer. The gourd provides enough volume for the singer and those around him. Another drum substitute is a one gallon gasoline can (or larger) laid on its side. In Anuak music the sound source may not be an instrument until it is treated as one. One of the most interesting uses made of found sound as percussion instruments were two bottles, one about 12 ounces and the other about 20 ounces played in an alternating pattern, pounding them on the ground causing two different pitches to sound.

  • Chordophones (Instrument that produces sound from a vibrating string stretched between two points. Machlis) The Anuak thom takes at least two forms. The instrument called the thom is commonly called the sansa, mbira, or thumb piano. A small wooden box comfortably held in the hands of the player. Twelve wire bars made of umbrella stays extend over a bridge and are held in place by a metal clamp. The thom is played with the thumbs of both hands. . The second Thom is the one dominant cordophone in use among the Anuaks. This five or six stringed instrument (in appearance like the Amhara Krar.) Six strings are stretched over a stylized animal carving for a bridge and over a skin-resonating box. The instrument plucked or strummed rather than bowed.

  • Aerophones (Instrument that produces sound by using air as the primary vibrating means, such as flute, whistle, and horn. Machlis) This category of instruments is for the most part limited to the flute or opello. The opello is usually made of bamboo though they also may be constructed using a metal pipe. They have for or five holes and are end blown. There are a few bugles (a remnant of the Italian occupation during the 2nd World War). The bugle seem to have nothing to do with the song's pitch or melody. It is a mater of pride in a village and often blown for announcing the movement of the chief.