Name: Dombyra.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.5
Country: Kazakhstan, Turkestan [Xinjiang China] & Mongolia.
Region: Central Asia.

Description: The dombyra [in Kazakh: домбыра] is a long-necked Kazakh lute and a musical string instrument. The dombyra shares certain characteristics with the komuz and dutar. The Dombyra is a popular instrument among Turkic communities in Central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, in neighbouring Mongolia.

One of the greatest dombyra players was the Kazakh folk musician and composer Kurmangazy, who had a major influence on the development of Kazakh musical culture, including music for the dombyra; his musical composition “Adai” is popular in Kazakhstan and abroad.

Development: The instrument differs slightly in different regions. The Kazakh dombyra has frets that are set in a chromatic scale and tied on to the neck. Allowing the frets to be adjusted. The dombyra is played by strumming with the hand or plucking each string individually, with an occasional tap on the main surface of the instrument. While the strings are traditionally made of sinew, modern dombras are usually produced using nylon strings. In 2012 the elektro-dombyra was created.

Construction: The body of the Dombyra is slightly vaulted resonator with a flat sound board. The neck is cut as a separate piece from the body and affixed to the body nearing the end of the assembly. The frets nowadays usually of nylon line are tied onto the neck, they are adjusted to a chromatic scale. After this part of the assembly is completed A bridge is carved and placed in between the strings and the sound board. Two friction tuning pegs, are carved and installed into the instrument before the strings are attached.

Anthropomorphically the Kazakh musicians assign the names of the components of the dombyra as a human being. The Bas Buyn [in Kazakh: Бас Буйын] the region closest to the head stock. The Orta Buyn [in Kazakh: Орта Бұйын] being the middle of the neck and the Sagha [in Kazakh: Саға] being the top frets closest to the body.


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