Fretless > Lute > Chordophone.
Bhutan > South Asia.
G D A.
Scale Length 78.2 cm.
Date: circa 2000.
Source: New York, USA.
The dramyen is a fretless plucked lute and it is a member of the
chordophone family of instruments. Other names for the dramyen and they
include Sgra-Snyan. Danyen. Damyen or Damyan. It is primarily found in
Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan and played to accompany singing and dancing. The
dramyen is featured in the icon of the goddess of the eastern regions
[Dbyan-Cans] or in Sanskrit [Sarasvati].
There are three types of dramyen, including Nepalese and
Tibetan. the one featured in my photo is from Bhutan. These dramyen
share similar profiles in shape but differ in their string
arrangements, tuning and physical profile. .
A personal story about my specimen: At the time my father
and I were on vacation we went to New York City in 1999. Upon
walking around in Lower Manhattan, we encountered a store that
packed with musical instruments of all sorts from the floor to the
ceiling. By turning up my head slightly I was able to see the
dramyen hanging from the ceiling. I knew what the instrument was
and said "I want this one". This instrument remains one of my
favourite acquisitions to this day.
The body of the dramyen is hand-carved from a
single-peace of wood. A resonating chamber is formed by
stretching animal hide from yak skin over the top of the body.
All of the tuning pegs are wooden and hand carved. Only two
nails are used on my specimen of Bhutani dramyen. The first nail
is used to hold the head-stock to the neck, the second nail is
used to support the stretch animal hide. Multi-coloured patterns
are painted onto the surface of the instrument. The dies applied
to the tuning pegs are likely plant based. A substance called
chesso is used to enhance a three dimensional approach to the
artwork. The colour pallet is wide on this specimen and ranges
from red, pink, orange, yellow to gold.