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SURVIVING FOLK INSTRUMENTS: THE "BANDURRIA" -PART ONE- BY DANIEL GARCÍA DE LA CUESTA




SURVIVING FOLK INSTRUMENTS: THE "BANDURRIA" BY DANIEL GARCÍA DE LA CUESTA
This brief summary was adapted by Daniel García de la Cuesta from his book entitled "The bandurria and the rebec", published in 2005. All rights reserved by the author and published under his kind permission.
Despite the passage of time and the loss of older people musicians in tradition, and due to the work of field research, today is still possible to find authentic ethnographic treasures that bring us together, sometimes to medieval times. This is the case of a musical string instrument used in Asturies and called "bandurria". This is not the most popular and employed in musical bandas
such as "tunas" and "rondallas" but another "8" shaped, which has three gut strings and played with bow while seated in between the legs. The study of the bandurria links us to the presence of this type of instruments at the time of preserved romanic iconography which shows their ornamental, morphological relationship, and possibly even more their performing ways. It is important to quote that the "bandurria" name given to this instrument leds to misunderstanding, because with the same name is called a plucked string instrument used mostly in musical groups such as those already mentioned. This type of instrument was so popular and well known in the area around us, when we speak of bandurria the first image that comes to mind is precisely that of the twelve-metal string plucked instrument.
Moreover, comparisons with other string instrument with which it shares musical history, the
rebec, continues to generate many misunderstandings. What in the east of Asturias and Cantabria in the west is called bandurria, is the bowed string instrument, cabil , or cayáu. According to the models found in Asturies date at least about 150 years ago, the measures that have studied the instruments are between 50 and 62 cms,long by 14 to 22 cms wide, and 6 to 8 cms tall. The back side of the box is always flat and usually takes a few lengths with geometrical designs, zigzagging around roses, crosses, faces, scratches, some prints, or is attempting to have all the traditional ornamental style employed for furniture in Asturies.By those engravings we may often get information through letters or symbols, about who is, or was, its master craftsman. Some bandurrias bear the date of its construction. Details bandurrias Asturian
The Intervals to tune the strings usually are eighths, fourths and fifths, for example: D, A, D', or, D, G, D', which also leads us to the musical forms used in medieval music. The skin is an essential element of bandurria front sound board. Usually fixed to the box with cloves wood lathes. "Caballu" is the mane for the wooden bridge where the strings rest on the skin and is used to transmit its vibration to the instrument
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