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date: 20 October 2019

Komuz [k’muz, khomouz, qomuz]locked

  • Laurence Libin

Extract

[k’muz, khomouz, qomuz]

Three-string, long-neck lute of the Kirghiz and surrounding peoples people of Central Asia. It is related to the Azeri gopuz and Turkish kopuz. Typically the pear-shaped body is carved from apricot or juniper wood, with a skin or wooden soundtable. The strings, traditionally of gut or nowadays nylon (or occasionally metal), pass over a loose bridge to a tailpiece and are tuned by means of lateral pegs at the end of the tapered neck. In the most common tunings, the middle string is the highest in pitch. It is the only three-string lute among the Central Asian long-necked lutes, and one of the few that traditionally have no frets, although during the Soviet period frets were added. The komuz is considered a national symbol of the Kirghiz and is played solo or to accompany singing. Its parts have zoomorphic (equine) names. Some long-necked lutes of the same or related names, widespread from Eastern Europe to Asia, have four or more strings; ancient ones might have had only two....

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