The etchnic culture of Azerbaijan
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Sounding of instrument

Maker - M.Kerimov.
Baku. 1980

The 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 Nizami Ganjavi.

The 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".

It 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 Shirin":

When, 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.

Maker - M.Kerimov.
Baku. 1980

Various 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 Saudi Arabia.

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 octave.



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