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date: 18 November 2019

Āžrags [āža rags, buka rags]locked

  • Valdis Muktupāvels


[āža rags, buka rags]

Goat horn of Latvia. The horn averages 20 to 30 cm long and has three to five fingerholes in one side. The tip is cut off and a cup-shaped mouthpiece is cut in that end. Blown mostly by men, the instrument produces a strong, deep sound that carries a great distance, hence its use as a signalling instrument. It was also blown by a young man on still summer evenings as a sign that he intended to marry that autumn. Typical tunes are pūtieni (two- to four-bar motifs in Phrygian mode repeated with variations). The āžrags is mostly played alone, but responsorial performance by two players or by a soloist and a group is also documented. Because of its connection to wedding rites, the āžrags is a phallic symbol and represents orgiastic fertility powers in folklore. The making and playing of the āžrags was revived by enthusiasts in the early 1980s, and since then it is occasionally played at folk concerts and festivals....

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