The rubab is
a plucked string instrument (photo 27-28) that is
played with a plectrum. It was widely used during
the Middle Ages in Azerbaijan. The rubab was described
by Nizami, Nasimi, Fuzuli, S.A. Shirvani and many
other classical poets. According to Al-Farabi, a prominent
Arab scientist living in the 1 Oth century, the rubab
is of ancient Eastern origin.17 It was very popular
among the peoples of Central Asia under the names
"Kashghar rubab" and "Tajik rubab".
Nizami compares the gentle, delicate sound of the
rubab with the voices of singing birds.
The rubab was
very popular in Shirvan musical gatherings (majlises).
It was highly praised in Khagani Shirvani's works:
Rubab is intoxicated with wine,
It has lots of veins on its arm.
It has experienced so much suffering
And its singing is as a dry reed.
In the 17th
century, Givami Mutarzim wrote about a duet of a chang
and a rubab:
and beauty fog his eyes,
Chang and rubab are ringing in his ears.
the 1 8th century, the rubab was used less and less
in Azerbaijan, and is no longer used today.
which played a significant role in the history of
Azerbaijan's musical culture, has recently been restored
and returned to our culture.
The body of
the rubab is made of mulberry wood, walnut and beech,
and the neck is made of nut wood. Fish skin or film
from a bull's heart is stretched over the face of
the body. Two pairs of strings and one individual
string are made by twisting silk or gut, which is
then fastened to the instrument.
There are 18
frets on the neck of the instrument. The total length
of the rubab is 910 mm. The body is 210 mm wide and
80 mm tall. Its range goes from the "si"
of the great octave to the "mi" of the second