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date: 15 December 2019

Waji [wuj]locked

  • Alastair Dick

Extract

[wuj]

Chordophone of Nuristan (formerly Kafiristan), eastern Afghanistan. It is played by people of Dardic heritage and language but there is no record of its being used by the Dards on the Pakistan side of the border. It consists of a string holder (a relatively thick, bow-shaped piece of wood) and a boat-shaped wooden resonator, pointed at both ends but flat-bottomed and waisted, which is covered with a skin laced by thick thongs. The skin might be pierced with several soundholes. The string holder passes through two holes in the centre of the skin and projects upwards on either side; it appears to be supported by the skin alone, but in some cases is braced by double cords that pass around the ends of the resonator and the bow and are wound tight by wooden pins tucked into the holes. There are two main shapes, sizes, and tunings. On the smaller model, roughly one-third of the almost semicircular bow projects upwards to the front of the instrument and two-thirds to the rear. There are four strings that pass through holes near the lower front end of the bow (here somewhat flattened) and are held by knotting; at the other end they pass over small knobs to thick tuning loops or cords hung with long tassels and wound around the bow. One four-string model has been said to be tuned to a Phrygian tetrachord: ...

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