Afghan Rubab

Afghan Rubab

Rubab, robab or rabab is a lute-like musical instrument originally from Afghanistan. It derives its name from the Arab rebab which means "played with a bow" but the Central Asian instrument is plucked, and is distinctly different in construction. The rubab is mainly used by Pashtun, Tajik, Kashmiri and Iranian Kurdish classical musicians. Rabab is also the National Music Instrument of Afghanistan.

The rubab is a short-necked lute whose body is carved out of a single piece of wood, with a membrane, covering the hollow bowl of the sound-chamber, upon which the bridge is positioned. It has three melody strings tuned in fourths, three drone strings and 11 or 12 sympathetic strings. The instrument is made from the trunk of a mulberry tree, the head from an animal skin such as a goat skin, and the strings either gut (from the intestines of young goats, brought to the size of thread) or nylon.

The rubab is known as "the lion of instruments", and is one of the two national instruments of Afghanistan.

The 5 nylon strings are in 3 courses: first and second double, third single. Other 6,7 and 8 from steel is resonating strings. Tuning is: C ff b'b'. The strings run over a loose wooden bridge on the lower skin, to 11 pegs fixed to the bottom of the body.

The rubab which Tomasz plays was restored and renewed by himselves - string pegs and frets were corrected. Additionally, the fret board has been straightened. The skin was changed, wood was renovated, and the whole instrument was painted and linished.


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