Chonguri

Name: Chonguri.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.6
Country: Georgia.
Region: Caucasus.

Description: The chonguri is a four stringed fretless lute from Georgia. The playing of the chonguri is associated with several ethnic group. Especially among Megrel and Gurian peoples who live in the planes of western Georgia. Traditionally the instrument is played chiefly by women for accompanying dances and solo songs.

During much of the 20th century when Georgia was part of the Soviet Union, the chonguri and other regional folk instruments were modernized for use in the state run orchestras. In post-Soviet times, while still part of living village culture of now independent Georgia, the chonguri is also found in national folkloric groups based in the capital and other cities.

Development: Modernization of the chonguri began during the  the 1930s during the Soviet period makers started producing chonguri for concert performance by state-sponsored folkloric troupes. These instruments included up to twelve frets positioned to sound a chromatic scale, and were produced in a variety of sizes – primo, bass and double bass [NGDMI: 363] Although still in use today by Georgian government-sponsored folkloric ensembles, the modernized design of the chonguri does not appear to have replaced the traditional design as used outside the government ensembles.

Citations: Bibliography: Chkhikvadze, Grigol and Joseph Jordania. “Georgia.” In Grove Music Online, accessed October 7, 2014 n.a. 1984. “Chonguri.” NGDMI v.1: 362-363 ; Shilakadze, Manana. 2010. “Polyphony and Folk Musical Instruments.” In Echoes from Georgia: Seventeen Arguments on Georgian Polyphony. Rusudan Tsurtsumia and Joseph Jordania, eds. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc. pp. 215-228 ; Websites:

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