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Shirvan tanbur



Shirvan tanbur is of pear shape, and belongs to the family of saz-type instruments. A musical instrument with very simple structure with two, sometimes consisting of three strings now widely spread among the peoples of the Middle East and Central Asia in particular. Tanbur has a very ancient history.  Al-Farabi notes that it was created before the Islamic religion. Tanbur instrument, which was widely used in the Middle Ages in the palace sand the folk music, was described widely in works of the classics and miniature works.
Tanbur was very widespread in the Middle Ages and was famous with the name of Shirvan tanbur . As liked very much by Tabriz people it was named later as Shirvan, Tabriz tanbur. Tanbur playing was  gradually declined in Azerbaijan since the second half of the XIX century.
Tanbur is multitype instrument. Its Baghdad, Khorasan, Indian, Afghan and Shirvan types are mentioned in the sources. Some types were played with kaman(bow) and called as ney tanbur.
Shirvan tanbur consists of a small body and long arm. Its body is made of mulberry and pear trees and arms and head of walnut, and surface of mulberry and pine trees. 14-17 curtains are bound on its arm. In addition, sometimes the front part of the instrument is attached with 3-4 curtains, which are named as special curtains. Shirvan tanbur consists of two string. As instrument is played with finger strings are located away from each other for 20 mm. The procedure of tuning of Shirvan  tanbur is similar to the saz.  The melody is played on the first string, and the second string, depending on the nature of music, is tuned differently. Tanbur is the only stringed musical instruments in Azerbaijan, that played by the senior and middle fingers of right hand. Sometimes, it is played with mizrab placed under the thimble fixed on forefinger. The total length of tanbur is 940 mm, the length of body is 385 mm, width 200 mm, height 135 mm, and arm’s length is 340 mm, length of head is 120 mm. Diapason of Shirvan tanbur is from first octave’s  do to the second octave’s mi sound.

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