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A short mvet with four strings and a single central resonator

The mvet is a stringed musical instrument, a type of stick zither, Hornbostel-Sachs (311) of the Fang people of Gabon, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, São Tomé and Equatorial Guinea. Somewhat resembling the Mande kora, but larger and simpler, it consists of a tubular stick of palm-raffia or bamboo, between one and two metres long, with usually three calabash resonators. A central vertical bridge divides four or five gut or metal strings, played both sides of the bridge.

The instrument is held horizontally on the chest to close or open the central resonator with a movement of the arms. It may be played solo or may accompany song or poetry that includes epics, battle-songs, ritual, philosophy and knowledge of the world.

In the late twentieth century the mvet became a key instrument of bikutsi music.

See also[edit]


  • Biyogo, Grégoire (2002). Encyclopédie du Mvett. Paris Libreville: Editions du CIREF Editions de l'ICAD (Institut Cheikh Anta Diop. ISBN 2913983553.
  • Ndoutoume, Tsira (1993). Le Mvett : l'homme, la mort et l'immortalite. Paris: L'Harmattan. ISBN 2-7384-1558-X.
  • Boyer, Pascal (1988). Barricades mystérieuses & pièges à pensée : introduction à l'analyse des épopées fang. Paris: Société d'ethnologie. ISBN 978-2-901161-31-8.
  • Alexandre, Pierre (1974). "Introduction to a Fang oral art genre: Gabon and Cameroon mvet". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. 37 (1): 1–7. doi:10.1017/S0041977X00094799. ISSN 0041-977X. S2CID 162578212.

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