Articles » Structure of dombyra

The structure of dombyra.
During all the time Dombyra keeps it is basic form. Nevertheless Dombyra craftsmen used to vary some parts of it to achieve certain acoustic effects of it. For instance, Dombyra made in Central Kazakhstan  had two strings and was flat. Typical and widely spread Dombyra has oval body as it is shown on the picture.

Body shell- is called shanak in Kazakh language. Boy may be made in two ways: carving out in a singly piece of wood and assembling from parts.
Front cover of the body shell is called Kakpak in Kazakh language.
Internal arm bar- is a new part designed by Soviet craftsmen like in violin. In German it is called «der bassbalken». It was not used in the past in Dombyra production. The lenth of it in violin is from 250mm to 270 mm and 295 mm. Dombyra has the arm bar sized from 250mm to 300 мм.
Sell parts are 1-1.2 мм thick.

Bridge – is called tiek in Kazakh language and it is always movable along the strings.
String- were originally made of the dried sheep’s and goat’s guts. They were tuned as follows: G-c, A-d, B-es, H-e. The sheep and goats from western Kazakhstan were popular for their specific quality of guts for string production. That kind of organic strings could not stand higher tension and used to tear up from tuner stretching. Then in 1940-s Soviet craftsmen used fishing plastic line for higher tuning. Till now it is used as standard in Dombyra production. The change of organic strings to plastic ones made Dombyra lose its unique human voice lice touchy sound.

Source: Zhumagali Nazhmedenov. Acoustic features of Kazakh dombyra. Aktobe, Kazakhstan, 2003.

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