Kamancheh is one of the fiddle-like musical instruments that according to UNESCO is the ancient cultural heritage of Iranians, despite many other countries having expert Kamancheh players and good fiddle tracks. (Some other countries like India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal, and some Arabic countries.) Its name means little bow in Persian. (کمانچه)
Iranian Kamancheh has a sound similar to the violin but sharper and much more pleasant, especially for those who love listening to traditional music.
It was first invented and used in Lurestan province, west of Iran. Those years first ones used to have only 3 strings and a deer’s skin-covered bowl. As obvious from the picture, Kamancheh has a box (bowl) and a neck.
More modern ones have 4 metal strings and the bowl is covered by the lamb’s stomach skin.
Kamancheh is the developed type of “Rabab“, another ancient fiddle-like instrument that originates in Afghanistan and Sistan province.
Experts say playing this traditional instrument can make different sounds depending on various factors like the way its neck is attached to the bowl, the type of the wood used for making the bowl, the thickness and the size of it besides the strings type.
1. Bowl or the resonating box (That is mostly made of Walnut, Mulberry and maple wood)
2. Bridge (Kharak)
3. The headstock (Sarpanjeh)
4. Neck (walnut wood)
5. Tuning pegs (walnut wood)
6. Fingerboard (Indian rosewood)
7. Nut (ebony)
8. Soundboard which is made of lambskin
4. Double bass
Persian traditional classical music also uses the ordinary violin with Persian tuning. The kamancheh and the ordinary violin are tuned in the same way and have the same range but different timbres.
It is played sitting down held like a cello though it is about the length of a viola. To produce the sound the musician needs to move the neck to right or left on the centrality of its leg and drag the bowstrings on its strings with his right hand while putting and moving his fingers on the fingerboard.
You can enjoy several Iranian music festivals every year which will make your experience of touching Iran’s culture more delicate and memorable.