Name: Krachappi.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.6
Country: Thailand.
Region: South East Asia.

Description: The krachappi [in Thai: กระจับปี่, pronounced IPA: kra.tɕàp.pì], also spelled grajabpi, is a plucked, fretted lute of Thailand, used in central Thai classical music. It is one of the oldest Thai classical instruments and has been little used since the 20th century.

Construction: It is made jackfruit or teak wood, and it has four strings in two courses that are plucked with a plectrum. It usually has a long decorative wooden “tail.”



Name: Ahenk.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.6
Inventor: Süleyman Suat Sezgin, 1929.
Country: Turkey.
Region: Middle East.

Description: The ahenk is a fretless stringed instrument from Turkey, invented by Süleyman Suat Sezgin in 1929. It was designed to be played like the oud. The instrument is similar to a banjo; like the banjo it uses has a reflector bowl as a resonator. Unlike the Cumbus, another Turkish “banjo” invented in the early 20th century, the instrument has nearly disappeared. There is a renewed interest in the instrument, which is being built in Istanbul and in Eskişehir [where it was invented].

Construction: The body of the ahenk is constructed by way of staves similar to an oud although more round in shape. The front resembles a banjo, with a bridge between the strings and animal skin membrane. The neck is longer than an oud in length, similar to that of the much later invented cumbus. The strings are arranged in the same manner as the oud, although this instrument and an identical oudola strung using modern machine gear, guitar tuners.



Name: Cumbus.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.6
Inventor: Zeynel Abidin Cümbüş [1881–1947] in 1930.
Country: Turkey.
Region: Western Asia & Middle East.

Description: The cümbüş [in Turkish pronounced “dzhumbush” ; in IPA: /dʒuːmˈbuːʃ/] is a Turkish stringed instrument of relatively modern origin. It was developed in 1930 by Zeynel Abidin Cümbüş [1881–1947]. It is fretless as its modelled after the oud. This instrument can be heard as apart of a larger ensemble.

Configurations: Typically the neck of an oud would be mounted onto this instrument. However the concept of this instrument has been applied to other lutes by having the necks of these instruments being the saz, tanbur, yali-tanbur, mandolin, guitar etc.



Name: Oud.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.6
Country: Many.
Regions: Many, Middle East & North Africa.

Description: The oud [in Arabic: عود‎ in Syriac: ʿūd in IPA: ʕuːd] as a wide spread lute bares numerous alternate names often many of the names are regional. The names include include [in Arabic: عود‎ ʿūd or ʿoud or plural: أعواد aʿwād]; in Armenian: ուդ or ud ; in Greek:  oúti ; in Hebrew: [עוּד‎ ud] ; in Persian: بربط‎ barbat. Although the barbat is a different lute instrument. In Turkish the oud is called ud or ut ; in Azeri [ ud]: and in Somali: cuud or kaban.

The scholars Iraqi [Robson, 1938] and the second Iranian [Mas’udi, 1874]. They posited a view; that the ud was invented by Lamak [sixth grandson of Adam], a direct descendant of Cain; on the death of Lamak’s son, he hung his remains in a tree, and the desiccated skeleton suggested the form of the ud. The myth attributes the invention of the mi’zaf [lyre] to Lamak’s daughter.” Stanley Sadie: The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, vol. 3, p. 688.

History: Written documentation of the oud was given by the 11th-century musician, singer and author Al-Hasan Ibn al-Haytham [c. 965 – c. 1040] in his compendium on music Ḥāwī al-Funūn wa Salwat al-Maḥzūn. The first known complete description of the ‛ūd and its construction is found in the [in Arabic: رسالة في لوين ونا النغم epistle Risāla fī-l-Luḥūn wa-n-Nagham] by 9th-century Philosopher Yaʻqūb ibn Isḥāq al-Kindī.

Stretching from North Africa, Sudan, Horn of Africa, Zanzibar a lead melodic instrument in the genre of Tarab, the Middle East including Yemen and as far as Southeast Asia [notably Malaysia and Indonesia]. This instrument has been played for thousands of years. It is the direct ancestor of the European lute. The oldest surviving oud is thought to be in Brussels, at the Museum of Musical Instruments.

In Pre-Islamic Arabia and Mesopotamia, the oud had only three strings, with a small body and a long neck without any tuning pegs. But during the Islamic era the musical box was enlarged, a fourth string was added, and the base for the tuning pegs [Bunjuk] or pegbox was added.

In the first centuries of [pre-Islamic] Arabian civilization, the oud had four courses; one string per course — double-strings came later] tuned in successive fourths. Curt Sachs said they were called from lowest to highest pitch bamm, maṭlaṭ, maṭnā and zīr.

As early as the ninth century a fifth string ḥād [“sharp”] was sometimes added “to make the range of two octaves complete”. It was highest in pitch, placed lowest in its positioning in relation to other strings.

Modern tuning preserves the ancient succession of fourths, adjacent pitches, the lowest or highest courses may be tuned differently following regional or personal preferences. Sachs gives one tuning for this arrangement of five pairs of strings G / D / E / A / D.

Historical sources indicate that Ziryab [789–857] added a fifth string to his oud. He was well-known for founding a school of music in Andalusia, one of the places where the oud or lute entered Europe. Another mention of the fifth string was made by Al-Hasan Ibn al-Haytham in Ḥāwī al-Funūn wa Salwat al-Maḥzūn.

Oud Tunings
Names Tunings
Kurt Sachs [documented by] G D E A D
Syria / Arabic C F A D G C
Syria / Arabic  D G A D G C
Standard C E A D G C
Oud with 12 strings  F A D G C F
Egyptian F A D G C
Egyptian G A D G C
Egyptian E A D G C
Iraqi / Bashir C D G CF F
Iraqi / Bashir F C D G C F
Turkish  E A B E A D
Turkish C# F# B E A D
Turkish D A B E A D
Turkish D G B E A D

Citations: Bibliography: Sachs, Curt 1940, The History of Musical Instruments – New York: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 254 ; Stanley Sadie: The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, vol. 3, p. 688. Websites: Online Encyclopedia of Tunings ; / Stringing and tuning ;


Name: Lavta.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.6
Country: Greece, Turkey.
Region: South Europe, Asia Minor & Mediterranean.

Description: The lavta is a plucked string instrument from Istanbul Turkey. Known as a lavta [լավտա] in Armenian, also occasionally called Πολιτικό Λαούτο [politiko lauto] or [Lute from Constantinople] in Greek. The lavta was popular in the early 20th century; particularly among the Greek and Armenian communities of Istanbul, but also the Turkish community.

It was one of the many instruments played by noted Turk Tanburi Cemil Bey. It was gradually replaced by the oud and survived until this day. From the 1980s onward there has been a revival of interest in this instrument. The lavta is now available again in both Turkey and in Greece.

Lavta Tuning
Name Tuning
Bolahenk C G D A

Construction: The lavta is in the same family as the laouto and oud. It is constructed from a ribbed body much the same way as a laouto, bouzouki or saz. Utilizing the carvel bending technique to form the ribs that make up the body. The instrument has six doubled strings and a 7th single string arranged in the order of four doubled strings [a pair of two strings] and one single string.

Occasionally musicians may change the strings from nylon to metal to achieve different tonal characteristics of the same musical instrument when played. The frets are tied and are arranged to the quarter-tones present in the maqam system.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites:


Name: Komuz.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.5
Specimen: 1 in collection.
Country: Kyrgyzstan & Xinjiang China [Turkestan].
Region: Central Asia.

Description: The komuz [in Kyrgyz: Комуз] is a three stringed, fretless long necked lute having a pair-shaped body. The back of the instrument is slightly vaulted at a minimum angle. It is related to the Azeri gopuz and Turkish kopuz. A unique feature in the tuning of the komuz is that the middle or centre string is tuned the highest strings the second and third strings are usually tuned either in fourths, fifths. During the soviet era, frets in the 12-tone chromatic scale were added.

Komuz Tunings
Names Tunings

Construction: Typically the komuz has a pear shaped body, it is carved from apricot or juniper wood, with a skin membrane or wooden sound table. The strings are traditionally of gut or nowadays nylon [or occasionally metal pass over a loose adjustable bridge to a tailpiece. Originally wooden tuning pegs would be used, although mechanical guitar tuners are common place.

Citations: Bibliography: Table 1. Komuz Tunings ~Kirgiz  Instrumental Music by Mark Slobin, New York, Society for Asian Music 1969 Library of Congress No 70-93475 ; Websites: Komuz / Grove Music Online ;


Name: Domra.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel Sachs No#: 321.312.6
Country: Russian Federation.
Region: Eastern Europe.

Description: The domra [in Russian: домра domra] is a long-necked Russian folk string instrument of the lute family with a round body and three or four metal strings. In 1896, a student of Vasily Vasilievich Andreyev found a broken instrument in a stable in rural Russia. It was thought that this instrument may have been an example of a domra.

Although no illustrations or examples of the traditional domra were known to exist in Russian chronicles, the traditional domra was only known through numerous mentions in folklore. Though examples of a related Turkic instrument, the dombra, existed.

A three-stringed version of this instrument was later redesigned in 1896, patented, and introduced into the orchestra of Russian folk instruments. In recent times, scholars have come to the conclusion that the term “domra” actually described a percussive instrument popular in Russia.

The discovered instrument was either a variant of the balalaika or a mandolin. Today, it is the three-stringed domra that is used almost exclusively in Russia. It is played with a plectrum, and is often used to play the lead melody in Russian balalaika ensembles.

Tunings: Typically domras are tuned in fourths the prima domra being E A D. Later, a four stringed version was developed employing a violin tuning G D A E by Moscow instrument maker, Liubimov, in 1905.

Domra Tunings
Names Scale Length Tuning
Piccolo 40 cm B E A
Prima [First]   63 cm E A D
Alto  78 cm E A D
Tenor 85 cm B E A
Bass 120 cm E A D



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.



Name: Danburo.
Type: Chordophone > Lute.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.5
Country: Sindh, Balochistan, Pakistan.
Region: South Asia.

Description: The danburo is a lute with a pear shaped body and a long neck. It is found in both Balochistan and Sindh, Pakistan. Where it often accompanied by the Sorud [a double-chested bowed instrument similar to the sarinda].

Construction: The danburo is a long necked lute having a pear shaped resonator and affixed with a sound table. The sound table is adjoined to a long tapering neck with a small projecting ridge around the joint. Six copper-wire frets are bound to the neck but only of the upper half closest to the body. Extra tones can be obtained on the open region of the neck.

Citations: Bibliography: N. A. Baloch: Musical Instruments of the Lower Indus Valley of Sindh, Hyderabad, 1966 ; J. Jenkins and P. R. Olsen: Music and Musical Instruments in the World of Islam, London 1976 ; Alastair Dick, Stanley Sadie – New Grove Dictionary Of Musical Instruments Vol. 1, Book A to F Page 541 ;

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