What Is The Difference Between Baglama and Bouzouki – Sala Muzik

What Is The Difference Between Baglama and Bouzouki


Baglama vs bouzouki. These two string instruments are belong to two similar yet different cultures. They are both from long-necked lute family. Although modern day bouzouki resembles more to mandolin, it is deeply connected with baglama.

What is Baglama


Baglama (in Turkish bağlama, also known as “saz”) is a string instrument from Turkey. It is widely used in Turkish music for centuries, as well as in other Middle East countries under different names. Baglama is a very important instrument in Turkish traditional music, folk music and arabesque music.

It has a pear shaped body and a long neck. Except for the electric baglama, all baglama types are completely made out of wood. There are different sized baglamas, and even if the name of the instrument changes by its size, they’re still called baglama or saz in general. Usually baglama has 6 strings in 3 courses. Sometimes it can be added fourth single string. Baglama is played with plectrum, but some musicians, especially coming from folk music culture or likes to improvise, don’t use a plectrum.

As well as in professional music, it’s also widely loved and played by amateur musicians from all ages. It can be tuned and played in different patterns. Most preferred tune pattern for baglama is re-entrant tuning, which it is called “bozuk düzen” in Turkish, literally means “corrupted/ broken order”. 

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What is Bouzouki


Bouzouki is an instrument that has a history no more than 100 years, yet it has very deep historical origins both from Greek music and Turkish music. It’s been told that bouzouki has first appeared after Anatolian Greeks (Rum) immigrated to Greece at 1922 and Bouzouki’s first design is inspired by people who brought their baglamas with them. For that reason, early designs of bouzouki was more like baglama, both in appearance and voice range. In time, instrument masters redesigned it and nowadays there are bouzoukis vary by appearance, size and string numbers. It is played with plectrum. Bouzouki’s voice resembles a little bit of mandolin because of its metal strings, but with lower pitch.

What is the difference between Baglama and Bouzouki


Bouzouki’s name is told to be derived from baglama’s most used tuning pattern “bozuk”, which means corrupt or broken. First bouzoukis were 6 stringed in 3 courses just like baglama, but today the most popular kind of bouzouki is 8 stringed in 4 courses one; it is preferred for its tuning pattern’s resemblance of guitar.  Originally bouzouki’s body was carved from a block of wood, just like baglama, but nowadays its body and neck has metal parts.

Baglama’s origins are based on Middle Asian Turks’ instruments, mostly the “kopuz”; on the other hand, although baglama is the prototype to bouzouki, it also considered as a descendent of pandoura, an ancient Greek instrument. Nylon strings are used for baglama vs bouzuki is used with metal strings, which makes a very different sound tone.

There are lots of differences between baglama and modern bouzouki, but also lots of resemblences and common things; baglama and bouzouki are used together in a music called rebetiko (also known as rembetiko) which actually makes a bridge between Turkish and Greek people through music.

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