Name: Bandurria.
Type: Cordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.6
Tuning: G# / C# / F# / b / e / a
Country: Many, Spain.
Region: Iberian Peninsula & Western Europe.

Description: In its current form the Bandurria is a short necked lute having 12 strings in 6 courses [paired]. Juan Ruiz first mentioned the term “mandurria” in the 14th century in his “Libro De Buen Amor.” After that, Juan Bermudo gave the description of the bandurria in his “Comiença el libro llamado declaraciõ de instrumentos” as a three-string instrument in 1555.

He also mentioned other types with four or even five strings. In the early 1870s, a child’s wake was accompanied with the bandurria music in Jijona, Alicante Province. The zapateo, a dance derived from the Spanish zapateado and introduced by tobacco cultivators from the Canary Islands, is accompanied with bandurria and other instruments before 1900.

Development: Prior to the 18th century, the bandurria had a round back, similar or related to the mandore. By the 18th century the bandurria became a flat-backed instrument with five double courses of strings, tuned in fourths. The original bandurrias of the Medieval period had three strings. During the Renaissance they gained a fourth string. During the Baroque period the bandurria had 10 strings [5 pairs].

Tuning: The modern bandurria has 12 strings [6 pairs]. The strings are tuned in pairs, going up in fourths from the low G# in the following arrangement / G# G# / C# C# / F# F# / b b / e e / a a / The lowest four strings are a major-third above those of a standard guitar and the highest two strings are a fourth above a standard guitar.


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