Dombyra

Name: Dombyra.
Type: Lute > Chordophones.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.4
Tuning:
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. It is a popular instrument among Turkic communities in Central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and in neighbouring Mongolia.

The Atryau Local History Museum holds over 60 specimens of Dombyra in their collection. An exact copy of Kurmangazy Sagyrbayuly’s dombyra as well as the instruments of Nurgissa Tlendiyev and Karshiga Akhmedyarov are displayed. Prominent Kazakh composer and performer Dina Nurpeyissova’s original dombyra is also featured on display.

Repertoire: The dombyra is the lead and solo instrument in the accompaniment of vocals from epic songs to folk songs. The Kazakh folk musician and composer Kurmangazy Sagyrbaev [in Kazakh; Құрманғазы Сағырбайұлы; 1818–1889] 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 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.

Citations: Website Article on Dombyra and Kazakh Music [web archive; way back machine] ; National Day of Dombyra ~ Kazakh TV ;

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