✦ Kamanche ✦
Kamanche is a string or stringed instrument. In these musical instruments a stretched vibrating string produces the initial sound. They are called Chordophones as well. "Kamânche" consists of "Kamân" and "che". "Kamân" is a Persian word that means bow in English and "Che" is the Persian suffix to create a diminutive form, therefore the word "Kamânche" means "small bow". Kamanche is a bowed string instrument, so it means that a bow is used to stroke the strings, in order to create sound. Kamanche is a fretless instrument and may be called the Persian spike fiddle, so the instrument has a spike at the bottom to rest on the ground or lap.
A rare drawing of Kamanche in an old Persian manuscript written by "Hassan Kashani".
The treatise "Kanz ol Tohaf" is dated between circa 1340 and 1362.
One of the most important points about this manuscript is the drawing of the instruments, information about the components of the instruments and in our special case maybe the older name of the Kamanche "QESHAK". It is interesting that he calls plectrum of the instrument "Kamanche", that it is correct in term of the terminology of Persian language.
The Kamanche Player - painting on the east wall of the north bay of central audience hall of Chehel Sotun Palace
"Shah Abbas I known as Abbas the Great (1571-1629) receives the Uzbek ruler Vali Muhammad Khan"
Here I am going to introduce only some Kamanche players, who were or are unique and brilliant Kamanche players. It includes some important lines about their musical life, a picture and an audio sample. I hope that these informations are going to be helpful, for the Kamanche lovers, who want to develop their skillfulness in playing the Kamanche.
Hosseyn Xan Esma'il Zade
Hosseyn Esmai'l Zade (?-1941) is the son of Esmai'l Xan, the Kamanche player of Qajar era. He was a Kamanche virtuoso and taught the instrument for many years. He cooperated as a soloist in concerts with Darvish Xan (the Persian Tar player) and Aref Qazvini (poet and song composer). It is said that his skillfulness in playing the Kamanche in his era has the same status as Mirza Hosseyn-Qoli's in playing the Persian Tar or we can say that he is the most important figure in Kamanche in the last decades of Qajar era. He composed also beautiful pieces in "Reng" and "Pish Daramd" forms. Thanks to Pooyan Nassehpoor for this rare recording.
Baqer Xan Rameshgar
Baqer Xan Rameshgar (1873-1959) was a Kamanche player of Qajar era. Intresting is that he had a Kamanche with six pegs. He learned the Kamanche from Musa Xan Kashi and the Radif (the principal repertoire of Persian classical music) from Mirza Hosseyn-Qoli. He traveled with some other musicians to Paris, London and Tbilisi for recording music. In the picture above the Tonbak (Persian goblet drum) player is Isa Xan Aqa-Bashi.
Alecsandr Arshacovich Ohanyan famous as Sacha Oganezashvili (1889-1932). He was an Armenian Kamanche player, researcher of musical folklore and composer. He was born in Tbilisi province into an Armenian-Georgian family. He studied Kemancha (Kamanche) under the Kamanche player Oganez Oganezov, in honor of whom he took the pseudonym Oganezashvili (literally, the son of Oganez). He gave presentations on Armenian and Persian music at the State Institute of Musical Science in Moscow. He published a work on Persian music theory as well. The most important point here is that the Homayun he has played is so similar to Persian Homayun. He plays three parts of Homayun: Daramad, Chacavac and Bidad. Recording date is 1930.
He was an Armenian-Iranian Kamanche Virtuoso player with Azeri-Armenian style and accent. Haig (Հայկ) is in Armenian mythology, the legendary patriarch and founder of the Armenian nation.
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