Type: Fretless > Lute > Chordophone.

Region: Bhutan > South Asia.

Tuning: G D A.

Dimensions: Scale Length 78.2 cm.

Acquisition Date: circa 2000.

Acquisition Source: New York, USA.

Description: 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. .

Note: 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.

Construction: 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.