Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.321.5
Region: Central Asia.
Description: The dutar is a lute having only two strings. There are regional varieties of this musical instrument. In which it is found in Central Asia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. There is variation in length of instrument, width of body and frets. The dutar has tied moveable frets.
Etymology: The dutar [also dotar; in Persian: دوتار, romanized: dutâr; in Tajik: дутор; in Uyghur: دۇتتار in Uyghur Latin, Duttar ; in Uyghur Cyrillic: Дуттар; Uzbek: dutor; simplified Chinese: 都塔尔; traditional Chinese: 都塔爾; pinyin: Dōu tǎ ěr; Dungan: Дутар]. It is a long necked lute having only two strings, hence its name. The name is a compound word of “Du”, meaning two and “Tar” meaning string. The Kazakh dombyra is related to the dutar.
The dutar is also an important instrument to the Kurds of Khorosan amongst who Haj Ghorban Soleimani of Khorasani was a noted virtuoso. In Komanji one who plays the dutar is known as “bakci” [backshi]. In Turkmenistan the dutar is played by a “bagşy” [backshi] as often as a soloists’ instrument and or with other instruments in accompaniment. While in neighbouring Azerbaijan the term is “Ashiq”. Khorosani Bakshi music is recognized on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Playing Techniques: The techniques do vary among the different regional ethnic groups in Central Asia. The dutar is usually plucked by the Uygyrs in Xinjiang China. Where among the Tajiks, Turkmen and Uzbeks the dutar is strummed.
Construction: The dutar usually has 15 or more staves that complete the body with a sound-board at the top. The body is fitted onto a long neck. The frets are adjustable as they are tied onto the instrument. This allows for the musicians to adjust to what mode or scale they would play in. The dutar is constructed from Mulberry wood. Construction techniques do vary from region to region.
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