The etchnic culture of Azerbaijan
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Sounding of instrument

Goltug (bosom) Naghara
V.Gafarov's private collection. Baku.

The goltug naghara is usually used in combination with the zurna, balaban and other instruments (photo 2). In former times, a wolf's skin was stretched over the body of the instrument. Nizami Ganjavi described the naghara in one of his poems:

The wolf skin naghara became agitated,
And stirred up the brain of the world.

Nowadays, the naghara is a leading instrument in ensembles and orchestras composed of national instruments. The word "naghara" comes from Arabic, meaning "to hit". The performer plays the instrument by striking it with the palms and fingers of both hands. Some folk pieces are played with the help of two lightweight drumsticks. Other techniques include slapping, trilling and flicking. The naghara has a strong, dynamic sound, with various nuances in timbre. It can be played in the open air as well.

The goltug naghara is often used in folk ceremonies, games and dances such as the "jangi", which refers to a group dance reflecting the spirit of heroism and fighting and incorporating elements of wrestling, horseback riding, javelin throwing and fencing. (The word "jangi" means "war" in Persian.) The goltug naghara is also used for "yalli", an ancient Azerbaijani mass folk dance performed mainly during open-air festivities.

The body of the goltug naghara may be made of walnut, apricot or other kinds of wood. Its height is 350-360 mm, and its diameter is 300-310 mm.


        © Musigi Dunyasi