Tips For Purchasing A Turkish Qanun | Where To Buy A Qanun Instrument

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Tips For Purchasing A Qanun


When it comes to Turkish music, one of the first instruments that comes to mind is Qanun. Having a soothing and a tranquil sound, Kanun can be played solo or as part of an ensemble. The name Kanun derives from the Arabic word Qanun which originally means “rule” or “law”. According to different sources, in the early periods of Islamic world, Kanun was used in a pedagogic manner, in order to instruct sound systems and acoustic rules, thus giving the instrument its current name.

After being invented in the middle Asia, Kanun is brought into Anatolia with the migration of Turks, then spread into different regions such as Armenia, Persia, Arabic world and even western countries such as Greece. Having a long history, one can encounter Kanun in different stories and ancient tales in various cultures. It was mainly played in Arabic regions of Ottoman Empire for a fair amount of time and also widely loved and played by women.

What are the features of a Kanun?


       Kanun is a member of the stringed instruments and has the form of a trapezoid-shape. The shape serves the purpose of adjusting the length of the strings. On the left side, there are pegs also known as “burgu” which are used to tune the instrument. Kanuns produced in Turkey generally have 26 courses of strings. Every course has three set of strings that have the same pitch. Until the 20th century, animal intestines were used in the making of the strings. Contemporary Kanun designs use nylon strings since they are more durable and produce somewhat of a stronger sound.

        The instrument also features special metallic levers called “mandal” on the left side. This features was not present until the 1870s. According to a famous Turkish musicologist Rauf Yekta, this feature was added to the instrument since there was no solution when the performer wanted to raise or lower the pitch of a particular course other than just tapping their fingers on the strings. The lack of ability to alter the pitch of strings created the need to add mandals to the instruments. On a contemporary Turkish kanun, there are six to fifteen mandals for every three strings that the performer can alter quickly when playing.

On the right end of the instrument, the strings are stretched over the bridge called “eşik” made of lamb or fish skin. The instrument is played on the lap while sitting by plucking the strings with two picks –one for each hand- made of tortoise shell.

Keys to purchase the perfect Kanun

Kanun is one of the most important instruments of the Classical Turkish music and like any other instruments, a great deal of attention is required when picking and purchasing the perfect instrument. The heart of a Kanun is the mandals. They have to be very sturdy in order to get the perfect sound and also for the intonation and tuning. The way the bridge sits on the skin is also very important. If a sturdy method when producing the instrument is not achieved, the bridge will lose its original situation and thus cause skin to be damaged.

Where to get one?

If you are one of those people who are determined to play this beautiful instrument, the first place to look for it is our store. We only make hand-made, professional kanuns for you to get the unique joy of playing this instrument. No matter what your needs are, we provide you only with the best quality and the fine workmanship.


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