Instrument Glossary - Aga Khan Music Initiative - AKDN
Aga Khan Development Network

Instrument Glossary: Bardic Divas

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Bardic Divas
Badakhshan Ensemble
Alim and Fargana Qasimov
Homayun Sakhi
Invisible face of the Beloved

Frame drum, also called qaval, widely used in Azerbaijani folk music as well as in the classical mugham. Fish, goat skin, or, nowadays, plastic provides the playing surface. Jingling metal rings are sometimes attached to the inside of the frame.

A frame drum with jingles, commonly played by both men and women among sedentary populations in Central Asia.

A name for various types of pear-shaped, long-necked lutes typically strung with two gut or silk strings. The Kazakh dombra is most commonly strummed, but may also be lucked. The Kalmyk dombra has a larger body and produces a louder sound.

Designates different kinds of two-stringed, long-necked, fretted lutes among Uzbeks, Tajiks, Turkmen, Qaraqalpaks, Uyghurs, and other groups.

A small accordion played in the Caucasus and by female entertainers (khalfas) in the Khorezm region of northwest Uzbekistan.

Round-bodied spike fiddle with three or four metal strings and a short, fretless neck used by Uzbeks, Tajiks, Turkmen, and Qaraqalpaks. Also known as ghirjek among Qaraqalpaks.

The main folk instrument of the Kyrgyz - a threestringed, fretless, long-necked lute, typically made from apricot wood, nut wood, or juniper. Playing techniques include plucking, strumming, and striking strings with the fingernails, as well as the use of stylized hand and arm gestures, which add an additional narrative component to the komuz’s typically programmatic repertoire.

Longnecked fretted lute with metal strings identified with the ashiqs of Turkey and Azerbaijan. Also called choghur.

Double-chested, skin-topped, plucked lute with multiple sympathetic strings used in urban music from the Caucasus and in Iranian classical music. The Iranian version has no sympathetic strings.

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