Uzbek Afghan Rabab

Uzbek Afghan Rabab

In Uzbekistan a special version of the Afghan rabab is used. The Uzbek rabab has only 3 courses and has no resonance strings. It is less popular than the kashgar rabab or the tar.

The body of the Uzbek rabab is not made by carving a solid block of mulberry wood, but by building it from separate pieces of wood : some curved pieces for the sides, one for the join under the neck and two for the side ridges, plus a flat top and a flat back. The lower half of the body has a (quite thick) piece of skin glued to it, the top half is covered with part of the fingerboard.

The neck is joined to the body and the top of the neck is carved as tuning head, with the back in a flat backwards curl. There are 5 tuning pegs (violin style), 2 on the right, 3 on the left side of the open tuning head. Sometimes there are (guitar-like) tuning machines. The thin fingerboard has about 20 thick wooden inlayed frets, slightly curved, in a Western scale.

The 5 nylon strings are in 3 courses : first and second double, third single. Tuning is: C gg c'c'. The strings run over a loose wooden bridge on the lower skin, to 5 pegs fixed to the bottom of the body. There is no decoration, like on the Afghan rabab. The complete instrument is varnished, with the neck in a lighter, clear varnish. Playing the Uzbek rabab is similar to playing the Afghan rabab, with a plectrum, accompanying songs and dance music.

The rabab which Tomasz plays has been refurbished by himselves - the string pegs, frets as well as the stringing were refined. This version contains 8 resonating strings which make its sounding closer to the Afghani rabab.


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