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date: 07 December 2019

Bambir(ii)locked

  • Robert At’ayan

Extract

Type of Armenian cello, invented in the early 1950s and named after the ancient Armenian instrument. The body is hollowed from a single piece of wood and covered by a wooden soundtable. The large bambir has two crescent soundholes (7 cm long and 2.5 cm wide) in the soundtable and a thin animal membrane, with several soundholes (about 5 mm in diameter), stretched underneath. This membrane under the soundtable gives the instrument its distinctive timbre—a clean tone, reminiscent of a muted cello, but related to the sound of the k’amancha and other folk instruments. The body is 54 cm long, and the width varies from 29 cm at the base to 13 cm in the middle and 24 cm at the top. The bambir is strung and tuned like the cello, and the sounding length of the strings is 63 cm (from head to bridge).

The small bambir has no membrane and only one soundhole in the belly. Its measurements are: body length 40 cm, width 24 cm at the base, 12.5 cm in the middle, and 19 cm at the top; sounding string length 39 cm. It is tuned like the violin but an octave lower. When ...

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