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Piwin

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Dombra 

I've recently been listening to quite a bit of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. I looked into some of the musicians he had collaborated with and, after many twists and turns (one of which got me looking into how musicians survived in Afghanistan under the taliban regime...there are some truly heart-wrenching stories involved...) I discovered an instrument I had personally never heard of: the dombra. Apparently it is played in many different countries in Central Asia, and in Afghanistan mainly by the Pachto and Hazara peoples.
Here's an example:
This just might be a display of my own ignorance, but it's the first time I see so much similarity between flamenco guitar technique and the technique on another instrument. As far as the right hand is concerned, it's almost all there: abanicos, rasgueados and even the old-school golpe with the thumb. I'd been told that most flamenco guitar techniques had originated in classical guitar (but that classical guitar had over time abandoned those techniques, such as the rasgueado, so I'd never really looked any further) but I guess if we agree on the current theory that the gypsies originally emigrated from India, it makes sense to find these sort of parallels along the way. I'm not very much informed about the "older" history of flamenco music and techniques, but if anyone knows anymore about this, I'm very curious about the possible lineage between flamenco and this.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 23 2016 18:42:04
 
eg.czerny

 

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RE: Dombra (in reply to Piwin

Catchy. I like it. Even some cante. You may be on to something about flamenco techniques. All on two strings. Even the rhythm is just a short jump to something like a tientos to my ear.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 23 2016 20:31:48
 
Piwin

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RE: Dombra (in reply to eg.czerny

If you look closely it looks like he's cheating and playing with some kind of protection on his fingers! (at least on his index finger). After years of nail breaking and tons of different products, I now have to try the "putting-a-thimble-on-your-finger approach". I can't way to see what the guys at the pena will think when I pull off a thimbleado!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 23 2016 21:19:22

El Frijolito

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RE: Dombra (in reply to Piwin) (in reply to Piwin

They'll probably just try to needle you about it, but you'll be amply protected.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2016 23:24:48
 
Piwin

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RE: Dombra (in reply to Piwin) (in reply to El Frijolito

quote:

They'll probably just try to needle you about it, but you'll be amply protected.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2016 23:28:02
 
Dudnote

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RE: Dombra (in reply to Piwin

Looks pretty similar to the Dutar used in Uyghur song...



Cross over into China you find beautiful ladies playing "pipa" with right hand technique that looks very flamenco - they even hold their instruments exactly like Manuel Molina so perhaps he'll be reincarnated as a beautiful pipa girl . Main difference in technique is they tape tortoise shell plectrums to their fingers, so the attack is not exactly the same.


There's some history of the pipa here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pipa#History) - 2nd century AD - certainly pre-dates the gypsy emigration from Asia.

Also, don't forget the sitar players in India - how old is that tradition?

Edit: not so old apparently, 16th century for the sitar. But it's predecessor, the veena, goes back way earlier - pre-dating the Gupta empire (240CE - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veena#The_early_Gupta_veena:_depiction_and_playing_technique).

Edit 2: From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guitar#History
quote:

A 3,300-year-old stone carving of a Hittite bard playing a stringed instrument is the oldest iconographic representation of a chordophone and clay plaques from Babylonia show people playing an instrument that has a strong resemblance to the guitar, indicating a possible Babylonian origin for the guitar.


Conclusion: playing "guitar" is as primordial to us as staring deeply into the embers and flames of a burning fire.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2016 2:15:22
 
Piwin

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RE: Dombra (in reply to Dudnote

quote:

they even hold their instruments exactly like Manuel Molina so perhaps he'll be reincarnated as a beautiful pipa girl

Darn it! Now I watched the whole video of that pipa girl imagining what she would look like with a big, lush Molina-style beard!
Thanks for all of the info. I feel this is one of those rabbit holes where, once you go in, you could spend a lifetime and never get to the bottom of it! But it's fascinating stuff, so I'm going in anyway.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2016 4:25:13

El Frijolito

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RE: Dombra (in reply to Dudnote

Actually I seem to remember my wenyan teacher, decades ago, telling us that musical instruments with two-syllable names are not originally native to China. As ancient as the pipa is, relative to the grand scheme of Chinese civilization it's not all that old and probably came from somewhere else.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2016 8:38:01
 
Dudnote

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RE: Dombra (in reply to El Frijolito

I thought they all had two syllable names
ErHu
PiPa
Guqin
Guzheng
etc etc https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Chinese_musical_instruments

OK, I'm exaggerate for fun, but two syllables is the bread and butter of 80% of anything in Chinese (appart from idioms).

I have comic books depicting Confucius playing Guqin, and the wikipedia page suggests a history of up to 5000 years with earliest written records appearing 3000 years ago.

It was interesting searching the Uyghur videos last night - they have a violin that looks not dissimilar (& sounds very similar) to the ErHu. So this brings me to something I didn't know, the "hu" is a reference to the "barbarian" tribes that threatened Chinese security (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Barbarians) - so far from being barbaric in the true sense these cultural interactions left an indelible mark on Chinese classical music.

At the end of the day, the silk road was a major tool for carrying culture between Asia and Europe, so it is not surprising you can find similarities along the way. Take the Hui ethnic minority of China's NingXia province - remnants of Ghengis Khan taking Islam east.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2016 12:18:15
 
Dudnote

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RE: Dombra (in reply to Piwin

quote:

ORIGINAL: Piwin

quote:

they even hold their instruments exactly like Manuel Molina so perhaps he'll be reincarnated as a beautiful pipa girl

Darn it! Now I watched the whole video of that pipa girl imagining what she would look like with a big, lush Molina-style beard!



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2016 13:16:53

El Frijolito

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RE: Dombra (in reply to Dudnote

quote:

OK, I'm exaggerate for fun, but two syllables is the bread and butter of 80% of anything in Chinese (appart from idioms).


That's more true of the modern language - it is less true of the language used up to about the Ming dynasty, and is probably mostly the result of increasing linguistic elaboration over time. For the most part the "classical" Chinese of Confucius, Mencius, et al. consists of words of single characters rather than compounds.

"Guqin" 古琴 is actually literally "the ancient" qin ( 琴 ). The qin probably originated in China - the 古 was added later to distinguish the qin from other instruments that also came to be described as "qin" (e.g. the piano, or 鋼琴).
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2016 17:58:19

El Frijolito

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RE: Dombra (in reply to Dudnote

Also, if you looked harder at your Wikipedia list, you'd see that most of the very few instruments with single character names are associated with greater antiquity and are hence considered indigenous (e.g. 瑟 , 簫 , 篪 , 籥 ...). Similarly, if you look deeper into the origins of instruments like the erhu, you'll find they originate somewhere else.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2016 18:08:59
 
Leñador

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From: Los Angeles

RE: Dombra (in reply to Piwin

Que tremolo tiene la mujer tocando la pipa!
That sounds funny..... Lol

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2016 18:28:00

El Frijolito

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RE: Dombra (in reply to Leñador

There were some interesting photos that popped up when I searched for "la mujer tocando la pipa."

This is not as interesting, but it was funny.



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2016 18:58:04
 
Leñador

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From: Los Angeles

RE: Dombra (in reply to Piwin

Hah! Pretty good.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2016 20:56:37

El Frijolito

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RE: Dombra (in reply to Dudnote

以維基百科来跟我爭論這種問題, 而不了解它的内容, 真是班門弄斧.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2016 22:39:07
 
Piwin

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RE: Dombra (in reply to El Frijolito

quote:

以維基百科来跟我爭論這種問題, 而不了解它的内容, 真是班門弄斧.


That's exactly what I was thinking!

(just kidding, I don't understand a word of it! )
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2016 23:19:58

El Frijolito

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RE: Dombra (in reply to Piwin

笑一個
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 28 2016 23:39:22
 
Piwin

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RE: Dombra (in reply to El Frijolito

I tried Google Imaging that. I get smiling dogs and a cat that's winking at me. There's also a picture of a very buff Mona Lisa.
I assume it's that quote from Confucius:

The cat may wink at the smiling dog, but their progeny will still be as ugly as a buff Mona Lisa.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 29 2016 0:29:08
 
Piwin

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RE: Dombra (in reply to El Frijolito

The cat may wink at the smiling dog, but never mess with a pipa girl.
???
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 29 2016 0:32:45
 
Dudnote

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RE: Dombra (in reply to Leñador

quote:

ORIGINAL: Leñador
Que tremolo tiene la mujer tocando la pipa!
That sounds funny..... Lol

LOL!!

"Pipa" sounds pretty funny in French too...


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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 29 2016 0:55:42
 
Dudnote

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RE: Dombra (in reply to El Frijolito

你贏了,你對我來說太強烈。

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 29 2016 1:04:35

El Frijolito

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RE: Dombra (in reply to Dudnote

过奖了.

On to more interesting things...

...y vamos a ver mujeres tocando las pipas...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 29 2016 1:56:00
 
Leñador

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From: Los Angeles

RE: Dombra (in reply to Piwin

Asi??



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 29 2016 2:42:47

El Frijolito

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RE: Dombra (in reply to Piwin

Ah, Piwin alludes to this well-known section of the Analects:

子曰 : "貓可向有笑之狗而眨其眼,但向彈琵琶之女而擾之不可也."

Confucius said: "The cat may wink at the smiling dog (lit. "may face the dog (that) has a smile, and wink its eye") but facing the pipa-playing girl and molesting her is forbidden."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 29 2016 2:45:06
 
Sr. Martins

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RE: Dombra (in reply to Piwin

Portuguese pipas:



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 29 2016 13:17:26
 
Piwin

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RE: Dombra (in reply to Dudnote

many thumbs up for the Brassens video. I got to admit that I probably idolize him even more than Pdl (actually Pdl would have to come in 3rd place, after Brassens and Brel)
I also very much enjoy his Spanish disciple. The woman who translated Brassens for Ibanez did such a good job at getting the essence of it that I enjoy the Spanish version just as much as the French!



(song starts around 2:30)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 29 2016 22:00:42
 
Piwin

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RE: Dombra (in reply to Piwin



This is my go-to song whenever I'm handed the guitar during a juerga or the like and my hands just aren't up to playing any flamenco. It never fails to get some olés and applause. I guess sometimes the words can have as much effect, if not more, than a powerful voice or virtuoso guitar playing (I have neither of the two!).
The poem is by the late J.A. Goytisolo

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"Anything you do can be fixed. What you cannot fix is the perfection of a blank page. What you cannot fix is that pristine, unsullied whiteness of a screen or a page with nothing on it—because there’s nothing there to fix."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 29 2016 22:21:38
 
Escribano

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From: England, living in Italy

RE: Dombra (in reply to Piwin

Really lovely. From France to Spain is a strange but beautiful transition, I can't put my finger on it, mais je peux l'entendre ici.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 29 2016 22:37:56
 
Dudnote

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RE: Dombra (in reply to Piwin

quote:

ORIGINAL: Piwin
I've recently been listening to quite a bit of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. I looked into some of the musicians he had collaborated with and, after many twists and turns (one of which got me looking into how musicians survived in Afghanistan under the taliban regime...there are some truly heart-wrenching stories involved...) I discovered an instrument I had personally never heard of: the dombra. Apparently it is played in many different countries in Central Asia, and in Afghanistan mainly by the Pachto and Hazara peoples.

Glad you liked the Brassens. I was quite into Brassens when I first moved to France, but to be honest my French was never good enough to get me to see the full beauty of the word play. In fact most of it is quite lost on me, with perhaps the exception of this one, inspired by a would be Pipa player, a bartender serving Port (exciting pipes there Rui), or a plumber, or (almost but not quite) anything female that moves...


So this thread has drifted far from it's strong start with the thorny issue of the Taliban's banning of music. Reminds me of a film I saw last year in Nantes just some days after the Charlie Hebdo shootings, Timbuktu (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/timbuktu_2015/), a tale of a Mali community's struggle to adjust to life under Islamic State - a very powerful film. Music driven under ground by brutality. So wanting to know more of the subject to which you first alluded I dug up this article from 2009 - http://freemuse.org/archives/4689 - and came across an artist I didn't know before, Haroom Bacha, who fled Pakistan for New York.


Piwin, why not share some of the music and articles you dug up about Afghanistan? Otherwise I'll spend yet another 24 hours sniggering inanely yet again over "Que tremolo tiene la mujer tocando la pipa!" I might do that anyway- Qué duende posee el viento que sopla desde Los Ángeles!!


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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 1 2016 3:12:09
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