The tamburitza is a stringed instrument primarily associated with the northern part of Croatia that shares many features with the Russian balalaika and the Italian mandolin. The tamburitza became popular in the 1800s, and today it is a traditional feature of Croatian folk music.
The tamburitza has six strings which are played in pairs. The strings are tuned as A, D, and G. Playing music that covers more than one octave requires a great deal of skill because the fingers must move swiftly up and down along the neck of the instrument. The bridge is not glued to the body, but can be moved to make minor adjustments to the tuning. The resonance of the double strings give the tamburitza a loud voice that can be heard clearly even over the stomping of feet on a dance floor. You can hear the sound of the tamburitza in the following version of the Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts" written by Joseph Brackett, Jr. in 1848. These are the lyrics:
'Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right.
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
to bow and to bend, we will not be ashamed
To turn, turn, will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning, we come round right.
Simple Gifts played on a tamburitza
Click here for free MP3 download (372K)
The bouzouki is probably the most characteristic instrument of Greek music. It is also used in the folk music of Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Ireland. The bouzouki has a long neck and a bowl-shaped body similar to the lute or the mandola, and its front is usually inlaid with mother-of-pearl. The bouzouki is played with a plectrum (a pick) and has a sharp metallic sound. In Ancient Greece, a three-string instrument known as the "pandouris" was the forerunner of the bouzouki. The modern bouzouki has 8 metal strings which are arranged in 4 pairs (courses) typically tuned as D3G3B3E4, corresponding to the tuning of the four thinner strings of a Spanish guitar, except that the two lower-pitched courses consist of a thick and a thin string tuned an octave apart.
Just like Carnatic and Hindustani traditions provide the foundation for the classical music of India, the sitar has a long history as the most typical instrument of Indian music. The sitar is a plucked stringed instrument that developed in the Indo-Pakistan region toward the end of the Mogul era around the 18th Century. Sitars are usually highly decorated with inlays and carving. Sitars use gourds, called toombas, as the resonating cavities for the instrument. A single-toomba sitar is basically a large gourd attached to a fingerboard with frets. A double-toomba sitar has a second small gourd which acts as a resonator at the top of the neck of the fingerboard. Sitars usually have 18 to 20 strings, where 6 or 7 main strings over the frets are used for the melody, 3 chikari strings provide a drone, and the 11 to 13 remaining sympathetic strings run underneath the frets and resonate at various frequencies to provide a fuller tone. The tuning of the sitar varies depending on the the style of music and various musical traditions.
Here is a sample of an instrumental piece played by Dr. Chandrakant Sardeshmukh who started playing the sitar at the age of four. He is an accomplished sitar player who actively promotes traditional Indian culture and art forms.
The classical guitar developed in Spain during the 15th century from the vihuela which was a small four- or five-string guitar. By adding a sixth string, the guitar gained a range comparable to the lute, which was a popular string instrument at that time. The guitar's flat back and curved sides make it easier to handle than the bowl-shaped lute. Today, the guitar is an indispensable instrument in such diverse genres as classical music, folk music, jazz, soul music, rock-and-roll, etc. The popularity of the guitar is due in part to its expressiveness and portability. Electric guitars were introduced in the 1930s. Modern electric guitars have solid bodies and rely on the amplification of the string vibrations through a loudspeaker to produce sound. The electronic signals can be modulated to produce unusual sound effects.
|Standard Guitar Tuning|
|Besame Mucho (846K)|
|J.S. Bach - Minuet in G (1.1M)|
The bandura is a Ukrainian folk string instrument without frets that has from 30 to 68 strings and is played by plucking. The long neck has from four to six strings played with the left hand to produce bass tones, and the other strings are played with the right hand for the melody. The first banduras were developed during the 18th century and were used to accompany paraliturgical hymns sung outside of churches. Many of these traditions continued into the 20th century, but the Communist party of the Soviet Union persecuted bandurists in an effort to curtail Ukrainian nationalism, and many bandura players were sent to labor camps or killed. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the bandura regained a prominent place in the musical culture of the Ukraine. Today, the bandura is being incorporated into orchestral works by Ukrainian composers, and many contemporary works include the bandura.
Although the origin of music is not known, the first music probably consisted of whistling, chanting, and rhythmical tapping. Instruments developed with the discovery of the resonant properties of hollow tree trunks, bamboo pipes, and taut strings. The Australian aborigine didgeridoo (also spelled "didgeridu") is believed to be one of the world's oldest musical instruments. The Didgeridoo varies in size from 4 to 7 feet and is basically a gum tree branch hollowed out by termites that is fitted with a beeswax mouthpiece.
Contemporary Spanish Music
Spanish music has a wide spectrum of genres and rythms that range from Latin beats to rock music with Spanish lyrics. The following selection is a sample of many free downloads available from the collection of The Gomez Symbol.
Album: Creencias y Mentiras - Distante del desastre (1992)
Artists: The Gomez Symbol
Track: Una Vez Más (MP3 4.3Mb)
Bangla music is a fusion of traditional Bengali music with modern styles and instrumentation. The increasing popularity of this style of music is due to the universal appeal of its rhythms and tonalities. These are some samples of different types of Bangladeshi Music and Bangla songs.
Album: Prapto Boyoshker Nishiddho (1997)Bakkata (MP3 1.9 Mb)
Artist: Maqsoodul Haque (Band: Maqsood O' dHAKA)
Jazz-Rock Fusion From Bangladesh
Track: Gonotontro (MP3 351K)
Music is frequently downloaded using peer-to-peer sharing programs such as Napster, Kazaa, iTunes, and Rhapsody. Sharing music has impacted the sales of musical recordings (CDs) to such an extent that the recording industry has taken legal action to enforce copyright laws. Some file sharing systems have gone out of business, while others have adapted by allowing legal downloading of music and songs through paid subscription services.
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