Name: Bordonua.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Guitarillos.
Hornbostel Sachs No#: 321.322.6
Country: Puerto Rico.
Region: Caribbean, Latin America.

Description: The Bordonua [in Spanish: Bordonúa] is a large, deep bodied lute. Bordonua usually are 15 cm or 6 inches in depth. Bordonua are native to Puerto Rico. They are made using several different shapes and sizes.

In 1849 a book published under the title “El Gibaro” written by Manuel Alonso. Alonso describes the bordonúa as a large guitar, roughly made and sometimes with no more tool than a knife or a dagger and that played the “bass voice” of the instrumental group jíbara [orchestra jíbara]. In 1887, the chronicler Francisco del Valle Atiles notes that it had six thick strings.

Over time the, the bordonúa ceased to be part of the folk orchestras. During the 1950s, an effort to rescue the use of this instrument was carried out by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture embarked on a program to revive the traditional string instruments of Puerto Rico.

Bordonua Tunings
Names Tunings
6 Stringed  F# B E E A D
10 Stringed A D F# B E

Artisans were commissioned to build bordonúas and began to develop a method for teaching students how to play the instrument. Today, this instrument is an essential part of many folk music groups.

Citations: Bibliography: Stanley Sadie ~ New Grove Dictionary Of Musical Instruments – Book A to F Vol. 1 Page 252 ; Websites: Encyclopedia PR / The Bordonua ; Francisco Marrero Ocasio, Los instrumentos de cuerda en Puerto Rico 2003. CD Vuelvo a mi Estrella. Taller Musical Retablo ; William Cumpiano / Bordonua [Wayback machine] ;

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