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Ethiopian music is a term that can refer to any music from Ethiopia, although it is most generally used to refer to a genre, a pentatonic modal system with unusually long intervals between notes.
The music of the Ethiopian Highlands is based on the qenet modal system, which comprises four basic modes: Tezeta minor, bati major, and bati minor are three further variants on the previous modes. Some songs are titled after their qenet, such as tizita, a reminiscence song. When played on traditional instruments, these modes are frequently not tempered (i.e., the pitches may deviate greatly from the Western-tempered tuning system), although they are tempered when played on Western instruments like as pianos and guitars. Traditional string instruments in the Highlands include the masenqo (also known as masinko), a one-string bowed lute; the krar (also known as kirar), a six-string lyre; and the begena, a large ten-string lyre. Two chordophones found in the southern United States are the dita and musical bows (which include an uncommon three-string variant). In the Highlands, the washint is a bamboo flute. Both the ceremonial malakat and the holdudwa (animal horn; compare shofar), which are predominantly found in the south, are trumpet-like instruments. Embilta flutes have no finger holes and only produce two tones: the fundamental and a fourth or fifth interval.

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