Name: Bouzouki.

Type: Plucked Lute > Chordophone.

Region: Greece > South East Europe.

Tuning: C F A D.

Luthier: Manolis Paraskavas.

Dimensions: Scale Length 67.4 cm.

Acquisition Date: Circa Nov 2012.

Acquisition Source: Paul Kikuris @ Bouzouki.org.



Description: The bouzouki or known by its plural designation “bouzoukia”, it is a member of the plucked lute family of chordophones. It is played with a plectrum and its tone is describe as a bright and metallic sound. The closest cousins to the bouzouki are the Turkish saz or sazi in Greek and the Arabic bouzuq who is played in the Levant (Lebanon, Syria and Iraq). The origins of the bouzouki date back since antiquity, likely from an instrument called a pandouris which had only three strings.

Bouzouki Tunings
Greek Trichordio D A D
Greek Tetrachordio C F A D

Modal A D A D
Celtic / Irish
G D A E
Celtic / Irish
G D A D

Physical evidence backs up the existence of the pandoura can be observed on carved statues, written documentation of the panduris was recorded and transmitted through the Mantineia marble dating back to the fourth century B.C. Which is exhibited at the National Archaeological Museum of Greece. The name bouzouk in Turkish means “broken” or “to be modified”. The bouzouki as we know it today was introduced into Greece with immigrants from Asia Minor during the 1900's. Since the Byzantine empire the bouzouki was called tambouras.

The bouzouki family: The original bouzoukis are called trichordio having only 3 courses or six strings are the ones favoured by the rebets, these are the musicians who played rebetika music. The second type of bouzouki being the tetrachordio four course or eight string bouzouki was popularized by Manolis Hiotis during the 1950s. Since the 1960's the electric bouzouki became common place. Custom pickups for both trichordia and tetrochordia bouzoukis are currently manufactured.

Construction: The bouzouki as is with most forms of lute construction includes a body, since the 1910s the body was built using staves. A neck, fingerboard, head stock. Prior to the use of machine-gears wooden friction tuners were also common. A moria or (small fret) is often added on the second chromatic fret closest to the head stock, so that quarter tones can be expressed especially during the playing of dromoi (roads) or scales. Not unlike the Turkish saz the bouzouki originally had tied frets adjusted to a scale using quarter tone notes.

Citations: Bibliography: New Grove Dictionary of Music G to O Page 87 by Stanley Sadie. Websites: Instruments-Museum (Greece)




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