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Traditional Instruments: Kamanche

Country: Azerbaijan, Iran and Eastern Anatolia Region of Turkey

Type: String Instrument


It is a traditional instrument belonging to which country/countries?

Kamancheh, also known as kemancha in Azerbaijan and Iran, is a fretless stringed instrument popular in Uzbekistan and Turkey's Eastern Anatolia region.

What are the Features of Kamancheh?

The kamancheh has a long neck with a fingerboard shaped as a truncated inverse cone for easy bowel movement in the down section, a pegbox with four pegs on both sides, and a finial. Kamanchehs used to have three silk strings while modern instruments have four metal strings. Kamanchehs may have elaborately carved ivory tuning pegs and highly ornate inlays. The body has a long upper neck and a lower bowl-shaped resonating chamber made of gourd or wood, which is usually covered with a membrane made of lamb, goat, or fish skin, on which the bridge is set. A spike protrudes from the bottom to support the kamancheh while it is being played, which is why the instrument is sometimes referred to as the spiked fiddle in English. Although it is about the length of a viol, it is played sitting down and held like a cello. While the player is seated in a chair, the end-pin can rest on the knee or thigh.

Where Does Kamancheh's History Rise?

Kamancheh is the common name for two different string instruments, one used in Ottoman music and the other in the folk music of the Black Sea region. Despite its origins in Central Asia, the development of kamancheh occurred in Azerbaijan in the nineteenth century. During the Ottoman period, the Turks first encountered kamancheh and later kamancheh spread from Central Asia to Europe and Africa.

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