Xinjiang Uyghur Musical Instrument – Tambur

Tambur is another long-neck lute from Central Asia that exists in different shapes, and is the wire-strung companion of Dutar . musical instruments
Tambur has a pre-Islamic history in the Middle East. It has been found in Ancient Persia and Baghdad Iraq during the Akkadian era (3rd millennium B.C.). In the Sassanid period 5 to 6 century C.E., Tambur in lute form was all ready in use. Later Tambur spread throughout the Middle East and also became popular in Mesopotamia and later on in Babylon. The influence of the Tambur is quite wide spread from Turkey, Kurdistan, Iran to Xinjiang China (Turkistan).
Tambur is either played solo or accompanied by other instruments arranged in ensembles to orchestras. The repertoire being played on the UyghurTambur is called “On Ikki Maqam” or “the 12 maqam”.
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Shell

 

Tambur is made almost entirely of wood. The shell is assembled from strips of hardwood called ribs joined edge to edge to form a semi-spherical body for the instrument. The number of ribs traditionally amounts to 17, 21 or 23, yet examples with slightly wider and consequently fewer ribs (7, 9 or 11) can also be found among older specimens. Traditionally, thinner strips called fileto are inserted between the ribs for ornamental purposes, but are not obligatory. The most common tonewood veneers used for rib-making are mahogany, flame maple, Persian walnut, Mecca balsam wood (Commiphora gileadensis), Spanish chestnut, Greek juniper, mulberry, Oriental plane, Indian rosewood and apricot. Ribs are assembled on the bottom wedge (tail) and the heel on which the fingerboard is mounted.

 

Soundboard

 

The soundboard is a rotund thin (2.5–3mm) flat three-, two- or single-piece plate of resonant wood (usually Nordmann, silver or Greek fir). This circular plate measuring about 30 to 35 cm in diameter is mounted on the bottom wedge and the heel with simmering glue and encircled with a wooden ring. A soundhole is either wanting or consists of a very small unornamented opening (mostly in historical specimens), giving the instrument its peculiar sonority.

 

Neck

 

The neck (Sap) is a mince (only 4-4.5cm in diameter) 100–110cm long D-section fingerboard made of light wood and carries catgut frets adjusted to give 36 intervals in an octave. Catgut frets are fixed on the neck by means of minute nails. The main bridge is trapezoidal and mobile, and since the shell lacks braces to support the soundboard, the latter slightly yields in under the bridge. The smaller upper bridge between the pegbox and the neck is traditionally made of bone.

 

Plectrum

 

The plectrum is made of tortoiseshell and is called “bağa” (meaning turtle). Cut in an asymmetrical V-form and polished at 45 on the tip, it measures 2-2.5mm x 5–6mm x 10–15cm. Nowadays it has seven strings. In the past tamburs with eight strings were not uncommon.

by Xiao Xiao @ InteractChina.com

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Dutar -Xinjiang Uyghur Musical Instrument

Dutar is a two string pear-shaped long-necked lute from western China, played by the Uyghur and Uzbek people of Xinjiang Province.

Dutar ( Dutor or Dotar ) is the main plucked instrument all over Central Asia. It can be found in many different shapes and styles, but Uyghur Dutar is the largest in form, and Kashgar Dutar is the typical style. It is used to accompany singing and dancing and also can be an instrument of virtuosity.

 

The Origin

 

Although western ethnomusicologists state that these instruments came from the Persian Dutar or Dotar (originally a two-string instrument but now with four strings), the Uyghur people say that the Persian instrument descended from theirs. In Persian, the term Dutar or Dotar means two strings with Do or Du meaning two, and tar meaning string. It is interesting to note the number of instrument names that contain the term tar, e.g. Sitar comes from the Persian Setar or four strings and the guitar.

 

Composition

 

Usually Dutar are carved from a single block of wood, but both the large Dutar of the Uzbeks and the Uyghurs are made of staves. The Uyghur Dutar has two gut or raw silk strings, and gut frets. It comes in a number of sizes ranging from 1 to 3 meters or 3 to 6 feet in length.

 

Body

 

The body of the Uyghur Dutar is made from separate ribs (usually mulberry wood), glued together with often a narrow half round strip on the outside of the joins (slightly raised). The flat front is also made of thin mulberry wood. There is no sound hole. musical instruments

 

Neck

 

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The long thin neck (mulberry or apricot) includes the straight peg box. The frets are made of 4-windings of nylon strings and tied-on in half diatonic scale. There is no groove at the side. There are two flat T-shaped friction pegs, one on the front, and one on the left. The two silk strings run over a small loose bridge to a bit of wood at the edge of the body.

musical instruments The neck is often highly decorated with inlay bone or black and white plastic nowadays in squares, triangles, lines. The top of the ribs have triangle inlays, together forming a kind of wind rose. The entire instrument except the front is varnished.

 

Playing

 

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Dutar has a warm, dulcet tone. It is played in folk and Uyghur classical music On Ikki Maqam or the Twelve Maqam. Dutar remains a very popular instrument amongst the Uyghur people, and it can be found in many Uyghur households. musical instruments
Left hand playing is with two fingers for the first string and the thumb for the second string. The right hand plays often in a rhythmic fashion with a different finger for each beat. But also normal strumming with the index finger is done. Although some players play solos on the Dutar, it is mainly used to accompany songs.’

by Xiao Xiao @ InteractChina.com

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Xinjiang Kazakh Musical Instrument – Dombra

Dombra is a pear shaped long necked lute of the Kazakh people of Central Asia. It belongs to the family of two-stringed lutes that are widespread in Central Asia. musical instruments

 

Name

 

Dombra in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, is also referred Dambura or Danbura in northern Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, Dumbura in Bashkir and Tatar, Dombor in Mongolia, Dombra in Kazakhstan, Dombira Xinjiang China. The name arises from the Persian Tanbur Instrument shares some of its characteristics with the Turkic Komuz. The Dutar of Turkmenistan is also closely related.

 

Composition

 

The instrument consists of a rectangular or oval body usually hewn out of a single piece of wood, covered by a wooden soundboard, with a long, slender neck. It is usually unfretted, although modern versions of the instrument have added frets set at chromatic intervals. Dombra is strung by a single gut, or nylon string, which passes from a wooden tuning peg at the end of the neck, looped around a pin at the base of the body and up to a second peg to make two tunable strings.

 

Playing

 

Dombra is played without a plectrum and is strummed quite rapidly with the index finger, or with the index finger and thumb. Typically Dombra music alternates between double and triple rhythms and has a general emphasis on fourths and fifths as basic structural intervals, with the widespread use of melody plus drone. musical instruments

 

Varieties

 

The instrument differs slightly in different regions. The Kazakh Dombra has frets and is played by strumming with the hand or plucking each string individually, with an occasional tap on the main surface of the instrument. While the strings are traditionally made of sinew, modern Dombra are usually produced using nylon strings.

The Turkestani and Badachstan Dambura are fretless with a body and neck carved from a single block of wood, usually mulberry or apricot. Dambura is played with much banging and scratching on the instrument to help give a percussive sound. The two strings are made of nylon or gut. They cross a short bridge to a pin at the other end of the body. There is a tiny sound hole in the back of the instrument, while the top is thick wood. It is not finished with any varnish and filing of any kind, and as with all other Afghan instruments there is some decoration.

Dumbura is the equivalent instrument of the Tatars and Bashkirs. A performer strikes all the strings at the same time. The upper string performs the bourdon tone and the lower string performs the melody. Dumbura is used as a solo as well as an ensemble instrument.

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Dombra especially associated with pastoral nomadic peoples and was traditionally used to play dance tunes, solo programmatic pieces, or to accompany songs and epic tales. The Kazakh poet Abay Qunanbayuli is often shown holding a Dombra at rest and many hold it in high regard as a symbol of nationalism among the post-Soviet nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States. But now virtuosic instrumental pieces are also common. As a result, Dombra has become a popular instrument with non-Kazakh peoples throughout Central Asia, Russia and Dombra clubs in the United States.

by Xiao Xiao @ InteractChina.com

P.S. We need people with similar passion to join or partner with us in promoting ethnic handicrafts! Please contact us at interact@interactchina.com to make any suggestions that you may have in co-operating with us, or join as Affiliate.