Bandurria

Name: Bandurria.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.321.6
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].

The term ‘mandurria’ was mentioned in the 14th century by Juan Ruiz in his book entitled Libro de buen amor [in English: the book of good love]. In 1555 Juan Bermudo described the bandurria in his Comiença el libro llamado declaraciõ de instrumentos [sic] as a three-string instrument.

But he also mentioned other types with four or even five strings. He said that the outer courses were tuned an octave apart, with the middle course either a 5th or a 4th above the lowest. Later, five and six-course bandurrias were tuned in 4ths throughout, a tuning that is still used.

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.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites: Grove Music Online / Bandurria by John M. Schechter ;

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