Buzuq

Name: Buzuq.
Type: Chordophones > Composites > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.321.6
Area: Lavent.
Country: Lebanon, Syria.
Region: Levent, Middle East.

Description: The buzuq [in Arabic: بزق‎‎ buzuq] also transliterated as bozouk, buzuk etc. It is a long necked member of the lute family that is related to the Greek Bouzouki and Turkish Baglama Saz. An essential instrument in the repertoire of the Rahbani brothers. It does not share the same status as other classical instruments. However, this instrument may be looked upon as a larger and deeper toned relative of the saz. 

One could compare the buzuq to the saz; analogous to violin is to viola. Prior to the popularization of the buzuk by the Rahbani brothers. The bozuk was played in the music of Lebanon and Syria. 

Etymology: The name of the bozuk may have come from the Turkish bozuk meaning “broken” or “disorderly”. This refers to the Bozuk düzen baglama, düzen is Turkish for tuning; in reference to the nomenclature of Turkish Baglama tunings. Another theory on the origin is that it comes from the Persian expression [in Farsi: تنبور-بوزورگ“tanbur-e-bozorg”.

Construction: In common with other long necked lutes of this region the bozuq shares this feature. Frets are tied onto the neck. As such the adjustable frets allow for the instrument to produce quarter tones that are present in maqamat [musical modes].

A total of six tuning gears are affixed to the head stock, typically machine gears are used. The strings are spaced in a similar order to the saz C • C • G • G • C • C. The strings are metal owing to the instruments metallic yet lyrical resonance. Some instruments have three courses up to seven strings in total.

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