behind the band


August 15, 2022

Bandura is a Ukrainian string instrument. She descends from the 14th century kobza, the oldest known musical instrument in these regions. It is also called torban, theorban or husli. The main term derives from the drum. It should not be confused with the bandurria, a Spanish mandolin.


Originally, the bandoura was used to accompany folk dances. It becomes really popular between the 15th and 18th centuries with the itinerant bards, the kobzars, who sing the exploits of the Cossacks, the Ukrainian warriors. It accompanies the dumas or doumkas (literally thought), heroic or lyrical poems that bandourists set to music. Like William Shakespeare who was nicknamed the bard, the Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko was nicknamed the kobzar although he was not a musician and did not play the kobza or the bandura.


Although it retains a neck, it is no longer fretted and chords are no longer played on it. The vast ovoid-shaped wooden sound box supports two curved bridges through which pass more than 50 metal strings. Over time the bandura acquired more strings and became completely chromatic with permutators to change key.


The bandoura combines the principles of the zither and the lute. You pinch the strings with your fingers: the long basses with the left hand, and the melodic strings with the right hand.

Notes and References

See also


Julian Kytasty, Black Sea Winds, The Kobzari of Ukraine, November Music Ltd, London, 2001

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