Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Girjek or Spike Fiddle of Karakalpakstan




The Girjek or spike fiddle is used by Uyghurs, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Turkmens and Karakalpaks.

It is a very distinct instrument with beautful inlayed or leather covered bases it has characteristics similiar to the violin. A round-bodied spike fiddle with 3 or 4 metal strings and a short fretless a spherical resonator with a skin soundtable. Although not visible, the acoustics produced are made possible by this skin inlay soundtable within the base. The bow is made of horsehair.

The instrument is held on the knee while playing. During the 19th century the Ghirjak had two, three, four or seven strings, but by the end of the 20th century only the four-string Ghidjak was in use in Uzbekistan. The sound became stronger and diapason became wider. Other related instruments are the Girjek-alt and Girjek-prima.

In Karakalpakstan the Girjek player is called a Girjeksh. It is played both as a solo instrument and in the orchestra and is also used to accompany singers.

The origins of the girjek are not known, but the instrument is mentioned in 10th-century manuscripts which indicate that almond shells were used to construct the bridge (harak). It was depicted in 15th-century Persian miniature paintings is similar in construction to the 20th-century instrument but had a longer spike.


Source: http://nukus36.karakalpak.ru/cyberfair/girjek.html

Music Instruments of Uzbekistan The rich variety of musical instruments within Uzbekistan reflects the great diversity of musical styles performed on them. Small ensembles of mixed instruments are at the heart of the classical maqâm tradition. Characteristic instruments in such ensembles include the long-necked fretted lutes (tanbur, dutar, ud, tar, rubab, sat (setar), spike fiddle (ghijak/girjek) and the Kobooz), also present are instruments such as the side-blown flute (nai and ghadjir nai), struck zither (chang), frame drum (dayra) and a small clarinet like instrument made from reed (qoshnay). Another typical ensemble consists of long trumpets (karnai), loud oboes (surnai) and, membrane percussion instruments – (doira, chindaul and others). The kettledrums (naghora) are also an obligatory presence at festive and ceremonial occasions. In rural regions, epic singers accompany themselves on a short fretless lute (dombra), while amateur musicians play the Jew's harp (chang-kobuz) or a simple variety of the spike fiddle (kiak). Source: http://www.iberiasiatour.com/english/Music.html