Friday, December 7, 2007

Russian Folk Instruments

балалайка - stringed instrument with 3 strings or 6 in pairs

The modern балалайка comes in six sizes - piccolo, prima, secunda, alto, bass, and contrabass.

The origins of this instrument are not precisely known, but the early representations resemble Central Asian instruments. The frets were tied to the neck and could be moved around the neck.

Fun Fact: The Beatles mention the балалайка on their White Album in the song "Back in the USSR".

Take me to your daddy’s farm

Let me hear your balalaikas ringing out

Come and keep your comrade warm.

I’m back in the USSR.

баян - a chromatic button accordion

This instrument was developed in the early 20th century and was named after the bard, Boyan.

The differences in construction from western accordions give the баян a different tone color; the bass has a much fuller sound.

Владимирский Рожок - a wooden horn with less than a two octave range and a very distinct sound

The repertoire for the folk music played on this instrument is divided into signal, song, dancing, and dance. A lot of folk music is played on this instrument because of the wide variety of shepherd's signals played on it.

1 comment:

Dr. Michael A. Denner said...

i love the accordion! it's amazing how adaptive folk music is -- the fact that it could absorb a twentieth-century instrument like the accordion and make it serve the music... great entry. i had to tweak your balalaika embed