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date: 16 November 2019

Tanbūrolocked

  • Alastair Dick

Extract

Long-necked plucked lute of Sind, Pakistan. The instrument is specific to the accompaniment of the Sindi Sufi kāfī, or ī (religious songs), of which the most famous composer is the saint Shah Abdul Latif (1690–1752); the development of the tanbūro is attributed to him. It is also known as Latīf-jo-tanbūro (‘Latif’s tanbūro’).

The lute has an ovoid wooden resonator, either simply hollowed (yak bhandyo) or carvel-built, with ribs (phakdār), and a wooden soundtable. The bridge is of the deep South Asian type. The five pegs are inserted frontally and laterally through the top of the neck; the arrangement of the metal strings is from player’s right to left (unusual for the long-necked lutes of the region, but found also in the danbūro of Sind and Baluchistan). The first, main melody string (zuban: ‘tongue’) is tuned to pa, the middle 5th (e.g. ...

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