Woman playing the kamancheh in the painting "Musical banquet" by Ibrahim Jabbar-Beik (1923-2002)
|Other names||Kamancha, Kamanche, Kemancheh, Kamanjah, Kabak kemane|
|Art of crafting and playing with Kamantcheh/Kamancha, a bowed string musical instrument|
|Country||Azerbaijan and Iran|
|Inscription||2017 (13th session)|
The kamancheh (also kamānche or kamāncha) (Persian: کمانچه, Azerbaijani: Kamança, Kurdish: کەمانچە ,Kemançe) is an Iranian bowed string instrument used in Persian, Azerbaijani and Kurdish music. The kamanchech is related to the rebab which is the historical ancestor of the kamancheh and the bowed Byzantine lyra. The strings are played with a variable-tension bow. It is widely used in the classical music of Iran, Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan with slight variations in the structure of the instrument.
The word "kamancheh" means "little bow" in Persian (kæman, bow, and -cheh, diminutive). The Turkish word kemençe is borrowed from Persian, with the pronunciation adapted to Turkish phonology. It also denotes a bowed string instrument, but the Turkish version differs significantly in structure and sound from the Persian kamancheh. There is also an instrument called kabak kemane literally "pumpkin-shaped bow instrument" used in Turkish music which is only slightly different from the Iranian kamancheh.
The kamanche has a long neck including fingerboard which kamancheh maker shapes it as a truncated inverse cone for easy bow moving in down section, peg box in both side of which four pegs are placed, and finial Traditionally kamanchehs had three silk strings, but modern instruments have four metal strings. Kamanchehs may have highly ornate inlays and elaborate carved ivory tuning pegs. The body has a long upper neck and a lower bowl-shaped resonating chamber made from a gourd or wood, usually covered with a membrane made from the skin of a lamb, goat or sometimes a fish, on which the bridge is set. From the bottom protrudes a spike to support the kamancheh while it is being played, hence in English the instrument is sometimes called the spiked fiddle. It is played sitting down held like a cello though it is about the length of a viol. The end-pin can rest on the knee or thigh while the player is seated in a chair.
Kamancheh is usually tuned like an ordinary violin (G, D, A, E).
In the Republic of Azerbaijan it constitutes a major element of classical and folkloric music, and performances occupy a central place in a wide number of social and cultural gatherings.
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