8 Popular Turkish and Persian Instruments that Work Best for a Violin Player
Violins are known to have a strong historical background in the Turkish and Persian traditional music history. Historians believe that amongst different western musical instruments, the violin was the most popular ethnic instrument accepted by the Persian musicians.
At the time of the Islamic revolution, a number of Iranian musicians got settled in the United States, leaving no choice for the classical and pop Iranian musicians to use a violin. This western instrument was found to be suitable for Persian music as it could play a variety of shadings, ornaments, and dynamics, as required in Iranian music. Eventually, it gave birth to the Persian violin, which introduces us to a completely different style of playing the violin.
This clearly indicates that if you are a violin player, you can start playing some of the most popular Turkish or Persian instruments that are very easy to learn. If you love playing the violin, you will definitely love playing these instruments.
Kamancheh is a popular bowed instrument that forms the basis for Persian or Iranian violin style. It has a round body, with a spike neck, underhand bow grip, skin resonator, and four strings. Earlier it used to have only three strings, but to make it look like a violin, a fourth string was added to the instrument. Also, it is played in a similar manner as a cello (string instrument of the violin family). Therefore, by sharing a number of similarities with the violin, it is regarded as an ideal instrument for violin players to play and learn. Kabak kemane is a Turkish instrument with only a slight difference in structure from its Persian counterpart, Kamancheh.
Oud was originally invented in ancient Iran, known as barbat. Today, it is widely used in art music across the world with more common use in Turkey, Arab and Egypt. It is a pear-shaped stringed instrument with 11 or 13 strings. However, the modern ouds can slightly vary from one another, depending on whether it is a Turkish Oud (higher-pitched, brighter timbre), Persian Oud (longer neck, smaller body) or Arabian Oud (larger in size with fuller, deeper sound). Just like a violin, an oud produces a meditative effect and helps in achieving a relaxed state of mind. Hence, if you are a violin player, you will definitely love playing the oud.
For further information please see our Oud Collection.
3. Yayli Tambur
Yayli Tambur is a Turkish musical instrument that has a long, fretted neck (just like a lute) with a covered wooden or metal soundbox in a round shape. It is held vertically in a way that the soundbox rests between the calves or in the lap of the player. It is played almost in a similar manner like a Violoncello, and that is why it is easy for violin players to play. The bow is held sideways, with the index finger and thumb holding the rightmost edge of the bow and other fingers pressing on the horsehairs.
4. Tombak/ Tonbak
Known as a principal percussion instrument in Persia, Tombak or Tonbak is a goblet drum, made of wood. Goblet drums are very popular in different regions of Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia, and Tombak is also known to share several similarities with other goblet drums. However, the techniques to play Tombak are significantly different from others. Violin players love playing Tombak for the very fact that it produces a range of timbres, sounds, and rhythms.
For further information please see our Tombak Collection.
5. Sornā or Sarnā
Sornā is an ancient woodwind Persian instrument, which is known to be played in the festive ceremonies in the outdoors as regional music of Iran. Its history dates back to 550-330 BCE, the Achaemenid Dynasty, wherein the Sornā used to be a large trumpet-like instrument. However, its size reduced later on, with a simple-shaped wooden body and a heavily flared bell. One thing that makes it ideal for you is that it easily produces a relatively high-pitch just like a violin.
Santoor is a type of percussion-stringed instrument with Mesopotamian or Iranian origins. This instrument has traveled to different countries and parts of the Middle East, which is why different countries have different versions of Santoor that adapts to their musical tunings and scales. If you love playing fretted violins, you will certainly find Santoor an amusing musical instrument to play the diatonic scale.
For further information please see our Santoor Collection.
Turkish folk music is widely represented by Baglama, which is also often known as Saz or Cura. It features a long neck with a deep round back, almost similar to the Middle-Eastern oud, and Western lute. It is very easy to play using a fingerpicking style or with a plectrum. If you have ever tried the string-plucking technique, such as pizzicato, you will find it amazing to play Bağlama or using a plectrum.
Another popular Turkish folk music instrument is a Tar. It is widely used in Georgia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Iran, along with the Kars region of Turkey. The strings on the Tar are classified into two groups, with the first group being involved in playing melody, while the second group is used for harmony. This classification of strings is what makes Tar an ideal instrument for violin players. Violins are best known for playing melody and when you can play it with Tar as well, why not give it a try.
No matter what genre of songs or music style you enjoy, every violin player can easily play and learn these amazing Turkish or Persian musical instruments. Learning different types of instruments will not just boost your knowledge about music, but also help you evolve as a music legend.