Articles

Tres and Cuatro: Latin String Instruments

Posted by Eric Azumi on

Tres and Cuatro by David Brown   The guitar was the companion of the Spanish as they colonized the Caribbean, and in time several regional variants developed. From Cuba came the tres, a small 3-double course instrument, and from Puerto Rico, the now 5-double course cuatro. Each was originally associated with a regional, rural but sophisticated musical style with roots in Spain. Now both are used in other contexts, particularly in Salsa. The cuatro was the instrument of the jibaro, rural farmers, and also the name of the music they played on cuatros and guitars and guiros. It also was...

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The Cimbalom: With Alex Eppler

Posted by Eric Azumi on

Alex Eppler And The Cimbalom Written by Astra Thor, Edited by Jehan Paul.   Alex Eppler is a respected musician, designer, and craftsman. Born and raised in the northwestern United States, he was inspired as a child by his parents, whose great love of traditional music and culture of Eastern Europe influenced him from early childhood. His parents loved Roumanian Gypsy cimbalom music in particular, and had an extensive record collection which was played so frequently that the entire collection became etched in young Alex's memory, forming the nucleus of his large repertoire. He remembers being impressed, as a child...

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The Tamburitza: Tamburitza History and Music

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Tamburitza Musicand the Tamburitza Family by Karen White   Tamburitza music has come to the United States by way of Yugoslavia, where its principal instrument, the tambura, is looked upon as the national instrument of the Croatians (Croatia is now a independent country). The tambura family comprises a large and diverse group of instruments, for which there are a variety of tuning systems. THE INSTRUMENTS The tambura has evolved from before the 19th century, when it was used as a solo instrument, to the present day, where in its many variations, it is played in large groups of from 3...

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Middle Eastern Shawms: Zurnas & Mizmars

Posted by Eric Azumi on

Middle Eastern ShawmsZurnas & Mizmars by David Brown   From Morocco to Central Asia, from the Sudan to the Balkans, festivals, dances, weddings and processions are accompanied by the exotic wail of the ancient folk oboe. These similar instruments are called different names in each region, but all share basic, essential features: stepped conical bore; a flattened straw or grass for the reed which is placed completely in the mouth, no limping; 7 fingerholes plus one thumbhole rendering a Majorca scale with an upper note, with the rd and degree lower than a tempered major scale; all other chromatics available...

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Iranian Strings: Other Instruments To Use For Iranian Music

Posted by Eric Azumi on

Adapting Easily Available Middle Eastern Stringed Instruments To Play The Iranian Radif by David Brown   When I first began playing Iranian music over 16 years ago, I was struck by the fact that just finding (not to mention affording!) traditional Persian musical instruments was a major roadblock to learning this wonderful musical genre. Since the scales used in the radif utilized pitches larger than a semitone and smaller than a whole tone, most Western instruments are incapable of easily playing these important pitches which give the music of Iran its character. Of course, the fact that the timing of...

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