Kamanche

Spiked fiddle, Kamancheh, Bowed String, kamanche, kamancha
A Handmade Persian kamanche – By Ghodrat Kordi, Iran 1999

Kamancheh, Kamanche, Kamancha, Kamança (Spiked Fiddle, Lute Fiddle) means the small arc bow in Kurdish and Farsi. It is one of the oldest bowed string from Byzantium Empire and Golden Age century and a member of Chordophone musical instruments the bowed Lira family.

Kamanche has a dominant role in the music of Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kurdish regions and Central Asia. The history of Kamanche dates back to the 10th century when for the first-time Allameh Ghotbeddin Mohammad Shirazi mentioned the name of Kamanche in his encyclopedia book ‘Dorat al-Taj’. Kamanche has been adopted smoothly as a main bowed string instrument in classical and folk music of Iran, Azerbaijan and Armenia.

The sound of Kamanche is recognizing the human’s voice. In traditional music form Kamanche accompanies a solo singer, its role is to repeat the melody of the modes simultaneously with the vocalist. Kamanche has ability to make efficient melodies, effective sounds and supports other musical instruments in the group by changing its volume immoderately. Therefore, Kamanche is capable to perform a wide range of the chromatic tones freely by changing the intervals instead of the fret traditional instruments. This ability also provides Kamanche with more power to play a mixture of classical Maqam and contemporary music today. The sound of Kamanche in an orchestra is substantially smooth, shiny and deep which covers every separate tune which resonated from plectrum instruments.

Techniques

The most basic techniques of violins’ family are used in Kamanche, the timber on Kamanche is relatively comparable to violin, with further taut, nasal and darksome sound. The semicircular edge of the bridge where the strings crossed on its surface, allows the Kamanche bow makes the diverse individual techniques while loose bow hair lay on the vibrated strings. Kamanche is also capable to play double stop notes, drones, trills, and other embellishments techniques which are widely used in bowed instruments family. The sound volume on Kamanche is changeable by moving the pressure on the adjustable band it connects bow hair and the stick.   

 

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