Thursday, January 8, 2015

Karakalpak Dutars

KARAKALPAK DUTAR  - The dutar (Dotar) is the main plucked instrument all over Central Asia. It can be found in many different shapes and styles. Although some players play solos on the dutar, it is mainly used to accompany songs and poetry. In the past, Karakalpak bards (performing poets) roamed from village to village, reciting stories and verses. They were accompanied on the bow played two-stringed dutar, and the qobyz and ghypzhek.

The body of the dutar is made from a single block of (usually mulberry) wood. The flat front is made of thin mulberry wood. The edge of the body around the front is left a bit thicker. The sound-holes are a few drilled holes in a geometrical design.

The long thin neck (made of mulberry or apricot) includes the (straight) peg-box. There is no fret-board. The frets are made of nylon strings and tied-on in half diatonic scale (depends on the player). At the right side of the neck is a groove to ease making the knots in the frets. There are two flat T-shaped friction pegs, one on the front, one on the left. The two metal strings run over a small loose bridge to a bit of wood at the end of the body.

The neck and the body is often highly decorated with inlay bone, with black etchings of lines and circles, and glued and nailed to the instrument. The top of the body also has inlays, together forming a kind of circle. The entire instrument is left unvarnished.
Left hand playing is with two fingers for the first string and the thumb for the second string. The right hand plays normally strumming with the index finger.

Good reference on the musical culture of Karakalpakstan read Baksi and Jyrau, Duutar and Kobyz by Djumaev Alexander (Journal of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan) for article go to

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