Georgian Garmon

Name: Georgian Garmon.
Type: Free Reed > Aerophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 412.132
Country: Georgia.
Region: Caucasus.

Description: The Georgian Accordion or Georgian Garmoni [in Georgian: ქართული გარმონი] is a traditional musical instrument of Georgia. It is especially popular in Tusheti and in Racha. Garmoni can be diatonic and chromatic. This instrument has been modified in the music of different peoples, they include Georgian and Azerbaijani garmonis, Ossetian iron-kandzal-pandir, Adyghean and Kabardyno-Balkarian pshine, Dagestanian komuz. The Georgian garmoni was created in the 19th century. Presumably by German colonists Who lived in Georgia Since 1818 Before World War II.

Varieties: Tushetian garmoni are especially popular in East Georgian mountainous regions, more precisely in Tusheti. This type of Georgian garmoni was formed relatively early. Tushetian garmoni can be both diatonic and chromatic, they have different bass systems. These garmonis basically have 19 basses, however there also are the ones with 12, 11 and 8 basses. As a rule, Tushetian garmoni has 18 diatonic keys. Accordingly chromatic instrument has 12 additional semitone keys. Bass system can also be diatonic or chromatic, Tushetian garmoni has characteristic appearance, but there also are Tushetian garmonis with different design.

Most Georgian garmonis have an interesting shutter mechanism – a hook and a loop inside the corpus. It opens when the instrument is moved forward and closes when moved back. Miniature diatonic pocket garmoni [tsiko-tsiko and buzika / muzika] which is visually similar to Georgian traditional garmoni is disseminated in Kartli-Kakheti, East Georgian mountainous regions and Racha. Buzika is a little bigger than Tsiko-tsiko, as a rule, they both have one diatonic octave and 2-3 basses; in some cases they have no bass at all.

Later type of Georgian garmoni is the so-called Bass garmoni. Unlike Tushetian garmoni bass garmoni has 80 basses. This type of garmoni is larger in size and has 21 diatonic and 14 semitone keys. Its keys are wider as compared to Caucasian garmoni. Tushetian and miniature garmonis have different playing techniques. The technique for Tushetian garmoni is similar in Tusheti and Racha. However, the Tushetian style of musical thinking is more ornamented and melismatic.

Citations: Nikoloz Jokhadze, Georgian Harmonic, Journal Musika, 2016 N4 / ნიკოლოზ ჯოხაძე, ქართული გარმონი (სახეობები, ოსტატები, დაკვრის ტექნიკა) ჟურ. მუსიკა 2016 N4;