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date: 15 October 2019

Simsimiyya [semsemiyya, sumsumiyya]locked

  • Christian Poché


[semsemiyya, sumsumiyya]

Bowl or box lyre with five strings, found in Egypt (from the Suez area to Sinai), Saudi Arabia (the Red Sea coast) and South Yemen (where it has six strings). This instrument is smaller than the ṭanbūra. In South Yemen the simsimiyya lyre has a circular soundbox, with two arms, less widely spread than in the Ṭanbūra , standing almost parallel. The strings tied on the yoke are held not by rings of material, as in the ṭanbūra, but by pegs, as in the beganna.

In Saudi Arabian popular usage, a petrol can may serve for the soundbox ( see Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of ). The Egyptian simsimiyya seems to adapt to the shape of the ṭanbūra, but rectangular models also exist – those on the Red Sea coast formerly called ṭanbūra and more particularly in the Egyptian port of Qusseir, where it is played by sailors.

The tuning of the simsimiyya...

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Asian Music