All About Black Sea Kemence

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KemenceofBlackSea

Northern Anatolian folkloric music cannot be separated from Kemence. It is the main musical instrument of the Black Sea folklor with its melancholic sound. Although there are two instruments named Kemence, one known as the Fasıl Kemence and the other known as the Black Sea (Karadeniz) Kemence, the latter is very different than the other. The Black Sea Kemence has three parts; the neck, the body, and the stem. It is carved out from a single wood, has strings and is played with a dom.

Black Sea Kemence is an ethnic music instrument that celebrates the diversity of Anatolian culture. Although it is mostly mistaken for the Fasil Kemence, it does not have a standard size like other folkloric instruments. Professional musicians usually play a 56 cm long Kemence which is made of juniper or plum wood. When played, unlike most of the stringed musical instruments, the sound is produced via dom and fingernails.

You may also like: Guide to Turkish Music - All About Turkish Music

The Structure of Kemence

The Black Sea Kemence has three parts. Its body is carved out of wood. Although it does not have a standard size, most of the professionals prefer 50-60 cm long kemence to play. It has strait sights and a flat back which is easy to handle during playing it afoot or sitted. The chest of Black Sea Kemence is very thin and usually is made of spruce or fir. Its most distinctive feature is the raised dome. It is there to overcome the pressure being put on the strings while playing.

Kemence BlackSeaKemence

The Melancholic Sound of Kemence

The small pegs on the Kemence's body are attached at the back of it and there are three strings. The sound of Black Sea Kemence is rather distinctive and very gritty. The number of chromatic tones being produced by the Kemence is related to the melancholy of the Black Sea climate. In fact, it is the most associated musical instrument with the culture of Black Sea and its people. 

 Kemence Kemence

Strong Bonds With Culture

Althugh the name kemençe comes from the Persian musical instrument kamancheh, Kemence is a very typical Turkish instrument. It is played by many people in Karadeniz region. It is always played when people dance in the region. Horon is a famous folk dance of Black Sea and is very popular in Turkey.  It represents the region and makes the native sound symbolic of Turkey. Turkomen in Antalya region also use Kemence in their native sound and ethnic music.

BKemence Kemencefromblacksea

You may also like: Guide to Turkish Music - All About Kamancheh

Key  Quality Features

Kemençe is a tuned instrument and has a one octave range. Black Sea Kemençe has an important predominance in parallel fourths and this feature is its strength. It can be played both as an ensemble with other traditional instruments and as solo. Although most of the folk instruments are played polyphonically, Kemence is played both melodically and polyphonically.

All the Kemences at our store are hand made products of excellent craftsmen with affordable prices. Upon the request of customers tailor-made professional Kemences of all sizes are made by our  masters. If you are looking to buy a convenient Kemence with a fair value please visit our store in İstanbul or check our online catalogue.

For further information please see our Kemence Collection

2 comments

  • Posted on by Jeremy

    How is this instrument tuned? (What is the pitch of each string?)

  • Posted on by Andrew

    The bow . Not good… that came with order I broke stick to fragile dry out an bow hair’s… not good enough… nylon..not able to make tite..or sound..redo bow better next time…
    So I got a 40$ violin bow.. instead..no worries oh well sounds great…

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