Karadeniz Kemençe

Name: Karadeniz kemençesi.
Type: Bowed > Chordophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.7
Luthier: Bagdat Saz-Evi, Izmir Turkey.
Country: Turkey & Georgia, Armenia.
Region: Asia Minor & Caucasus.

Description: The Kemençe of the Black Sea [Turkish: Karadeniz kemençesi or [in Greek: Ποντιακή λύρα Pontiyaki Lyra], Laz [in Laz: ჭილილი or Çilili] or [in Armenian: Քամանի qamani]. It is a bottle-shaped bowed lute found in the Black Sea region of Turkey [Pontus] adjacent Armenian and Georgian regions, as well as in Greece. It is also known as the “kementche of Laz”. The name kemençe comes from Iranian Music Instrument Kamancheh. It is similar in apperance to the “Kit Violin” or “Pocket Violin”.

Playing Techniques: The strings are depressed onto the neck of the instrument by the player’s finger tips in the way violin strings are pressed, such as the large Cappadocian kemane. It is played in the downright position, the Karadeniz kemençesi is held by the left hand while strings are pressed and depressed during playing. One may play the Karadeniz kemençesi; by either resting the instrument on the left knee. Or by holding it in left hnd while stsnding. It is always played “braccio”.

The musicians usually play two or all three strings at the same time, utilizing the open strings as a drone. Sometimes they play the melody on two strings, giving a harmony in parallel fourths. They tend to play with many trills and embellishments and with unusual harmonies.

Construction: The kemenche bow is called the yay (Turkish: Yay) and the doksar (Greek: δοξάρι), the Greek term for bow. The kemençe is similar to a kit violin, as it allows for the violinist to dance while playing.


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