barbat is a plucked string instrument that was used
in Azerbaijan up until the 16th-17th centuries (photo
29). It was considered to be a palace musical instrument.
Detailed information on this instrument can be found
in the works of medieval Azerbaijani poets such as
word "barbat" is thought to originate from
the words "bar" (chest) and "bat"
(duck). However, some sources affirm that this word
is Arabic in origin and is translated from the Arabic
for "waves, ripple on the water".
is possible to conclude, surveying the medieval sources
and Nizami's works, that the creator of this instrument
was the well-known musician, skillful player, singer
and composer Barbed. Nizami Ganjavi described the
palace musician Barbed in his poem "Khosrov and
as a drunken nightingale, entered Barbed,
There was as rippling water in his hands a barbat.
Choosing from the hundreds of songs he knew,
Barbed played the tunes of thirty favorites,
Making my soul and heart alive and dead.
versions of the barbat were spread throughout the
Eastern countries during the Middle Ages. But the
native land of the instrument is considered to be
Many ancient sources reveal that there were three-,
eight- and ten-stringed versions of the barbat. The
strings of the instrument are made of silk and animal
gut. The barbat consists of three main parts: the
body, neck and head. The body is made of walnut or
red plane wood. The head, neck and pegs are made of
walnut. The face of the body is covered with a four-mm-thick
pine plate. Resonator apertures are made on this plate.
The total length of barbat is 665 mm, the width is
465 mm, the height is 250 mm, and length of the neck
is 205 mm. Like an ancient ud, the barbat is tuned
in perfect fourths. Its range goes from the "mi"
of the great octave to the "mi" of the second