What Is Kamancheh?


What Are The Types of Kemancha?

Kamancheh, the kemancha with another name, usually Azerbaijan, Iran, is a string fretless stringed instrument used in Uzbekistan and Turkey's Eastern Anatolia Region.


So, what are the features of Kamancheh? Where does Kamancheh's history go on? What are the varieties of Kamancheh? What are the differences between Kabak Kamancheh and Classic Kemancha? Is Kamancheh a difficult instrument to play?


Let's examine all these questions and their answers together!


What are the Features of Kamancheh?

Kamancheh's bowl is spherical and the arm is fretless. His face is pulled from the veil of bovine liver, the skin of fish or camels. This musical instrument, which used to be 3-stringed, in other words, has now become 4-stringed.


Kamancheh, one of the oldest musical instruments in Azerbaijan, is 70 cm tall. It has a chord system determined in accordance with the type of melodies and the authority read. The most commonly used chord in all this chord system is the 5-4-5 system. While the stem of Kamancheh is made of plum wood, its body is formed by carving the walnut wood. The walnut tree must be kept for a while in order to form its trunk.


Its total weight is about 1-1.5. Springs are custom made. It is drawn only by hand, not with any apparatus such as a violin bow, and there are quite a lot of them. The springs are made of juniper wood, while the strands are made of horse hair. Holes are drilled in the front and back of the body and the front is covered with fish skin. The bows are wrapped around the bowl-shaped body and Kamancheh is completed. Even if Kamancheh has several varieties, its construction and features are generally similar.


Where Does Kamancheh's History Rise?

Kamancheh's oldest known history dates back to Safavid and Qatar periods. It was one of the musical instruments frequently used in celebrations at that time. In addition, Kamancheh can be seen in the works illustrated in the Mongol and Timur periods. According to rumors, it is one of the first stringed musical instruments. According to rumors, Kamancheh emerged as follows; "While the bird of prey (eagle, hawk, stork, etc.) catches the animal that it hunts and flies, the intestines of the animal hang on the branches of the trees. By making use of it, they prepared instruments such as hook-type and arfa. Then, plucked and wedged (stringed) stringed musical instruments emerged. "

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Although the starting point dates back to Central Asia, the development of Kamancheh took place in Azerbaijan in the 19th century. The Turks first met Kamancheh in the Ottoman period. Kamancheh later spread from Central Asia to Europe and Africa.

Kamancheh is the common name of two different string instruments, one used in Ottoman Music and the other in folk music of the Black Sea region. The “Classic Kamancheh” is a small instrument 40-41 cm long and 14-15 cm wide. Its half-pear-like body, elliptical screw "head" and stem "neck" are made by carving and carving from a single piece of wood.

It has two large D-shaped holes on its chest, with the rounded edges out. The instrument has a "back groove" on the back. The strings of the kemençe are 7-10 mm higher than the key, while the tail wedge is placed on the left knee and the strings of the kemençe are held in a vertical position by leaning against the chest or placed between the two knees. Because the sounds are obtained not by pressing the strings with the fingertips, as in most stringed instruments, but by gently pushing the strings from the side with the fingernails.

The twist, neck and body of the “Black Sea kamancheh” are also carved and carved from a single piece of wood. But the form is completely different. Like all other folk instruments, it is difficult to talk about the standard sizes of the "Black Sea kamancheh". But today, the "kamancheh" used by experts and professional commentators are usually 56 cm long. The trunk, which has straight sides and a straight back, is mostly made of plum or juniper wood. The chest, made of fir or spruce, is quite thin.


What are the types of Kamancheh?


Although Kamancheh is mentioned in many different ways in many different countries, it is divided into certain groups in terms of basic features and the sound curtains they make.

  • 4/4 Classic Kamancheh

  • Alto Kamancheh

  • Bass Kamancheh

  • Double Bass Kamancheh is generally divided into 4 varieties.

What are the differences between Kabak Kamancheh and Classic Kemancha?


Although the Kabak Kamancheh, which belongs to the same family, and the classic Kamancheh are known to be the same, these two musical instruments have many differences. The most important difference of the pumpkin violin and the classic Kemancha is its weight. The Classic Kemancha goes up to 1.5 kg, while the Kabak Kamancheh weighs about 400-500 grams. While 4/2 bows must be used in the pumpkin violin, 4/1 bows must be used to play the classic Kemancha. While the pumpkin is divided into three parts as violin, handle, body and leather, the classic Kemancha is divided into four basic parts as body, handle, auger and strings. While the pumpkin is produced with violin gourd, the classic Kemancha is made with walnut and plum trees. In fact, these two stringed instruments are completely different from each other. Even though they belong to the same family, their biggest similarity is that they can be stolen by putting the knee against the bow. Sound curtains and colors are actually completely independent from each other. The classical Kemancha's pitch is much harder and more striking than the Kabak Kamancheh.

Is Kamancheh a Hard Instrument to Play?

Kamancheh is an instrument that is very close to the human voice. The fact that it is fretless allows many different tones to emerge during the play. Although this feature provides great convenience for people performing Kamancheh at an advanced level, it can be challenging at the beginning stage. Kamancheh is an industry that requires regular and demanding practice.  People who study conservatories in Azerbaijan and focus on Kamancheh undergo a difficult education.

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Structure of kamancheh        

The “classic kamancheh” is 40-41 cm long. The kamancheh is a small fretless instrument 14-15 cm wide, played with fingernails. Its half-pear-like body and the "neck" of the stem are carved and sculpted from a single piece of wood.

The trunk of the kamancheh is completely carved from mulberry, black mulberry, maple, juniper, spruce, or plum wood. According to kamancheh's type and characteristics, it is made between 3-15 days.

His chest has two large "D"-shaped holes with rounded edges. When the strings of the kemençe are 7-10 mm higher, the tail wedge is placed on the left knee, and the kemençe is held in a vertical position by leaning against the chest or placed between the two knees. Sounds are obtained not by pressing the strings with the fingertips, as in most stringed instruments, but by gently pushing from the side with the nails.

Kamancheh models can also vary a lot. While some kemençe lovers prefer a plain and unpretentious look, others prefer the kemençes, which are made by combining the art of decoration. You can visit our website for more information about our Sala Music kamancheh models. Sala Music is the right choice for any type of kamancheh you want.


  • Şenol

    Thank you so much :)

  • Alper

    Thanks for these useful informations!

  • Serpil

    Thank you for this content about Kamancheh..

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