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Thread: Bulgarian Tambura

  1. #26

    Default Re: Bulgarian Tambura

    violomando, that's quite the instrument you are holding in your picture. it looks like a Larson brothers octave mandolin or mandocello.

  2. #27
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bulgarian Tambura

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Schneider View Post
    Probably Farkas system
    The one with the odd fretting and maybe the older system?

    Quote Originally Posted by violmando View Post
    Don't know who on here reads music or learns by ear, but if you're doing the Bulgarian stuff, I recommend BY EAR. I'm classically trained, so the first time I prepared for camp I tried to do it all by reading sheet music and struggled with those WILD time signatures and rhythms. Once I got to camp, I realized that everyone does it by feel or by things like "long, short, short" etc. Made it so much EASIER to feel than try to intellectualize.
    I've seen it done both way - and even when reading the Bulgarian music the players I know will translate all the 223 or 22322 or 2223 or whatever rhythms into shorts and longs, just like the dancers do. Most of the real Bulgarians I've met may play all this stuff by ear but have been well trained at some point and can read and write the music as needed - which they usually don't since it's what they do all the time!

    One thing your absolutely right about is that you need to play this stuff by ear to get the ornaments. The tambura players I've met have, among other tricks, a cool rhythmic hammer-on/picking sort of timing thing going on that's very cool, plus whatever gaida/kaval/gadulka school (adapted of course) ornaments they can play too.

  3. #28
    Registered User Colin Lindsay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bulgarian Tambura

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    One thing your absolutely right about is that you need to play this stuff by ear to get the ornaments.
    One thing I noticed during my time in Greece was that if you play along as they dance, you fit a nice dance rhythm to the tune; unconsciously you’re moving along as you play. It’s visual timing. I used to play Irish tunes as I’d heard so many bands play - thrash them out, the faster the better - but realised that if you play them as dance accompaniment you bring out a far better melody and style.
    "Danger! Do Not Touch!" must be one of the scariest things to read in Braille....

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  5. #29
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bulgarian Tambura

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Lindsay View Post
    One thing I noticed during my time in Greece was that if you play along as they dance, you fit a nice dance rhythm to the tune; unconsciously youíre moving along as you play. Itís visual timing. I used to play Irish tunes as Iíd heard so many bands play - thrash them out, the faster the better - but realised that if you play them as dance accompaniment you bring out a far better melody and style.
    Did you ever play Irish music for dancing at strict tempo, where the player has to play reels and jigs at a danceable tempo? The you realize that all the ornaments are there for the rhythm, not to show off the fiddle player's skill.

    Yeah, I noticed the same thing as I learned Greek music, the dancers showed you how to play the tune.

  6. #30

    Default Re: Bulgarian Tambura

    It IS a Larson Bros. mandocello. Has had some bad repairs done that I'd like to get restored someday, but it has a really great sound!
    Where are you? I know of tambura teachers in NY and Pittsburgh if you are in the US; probably many more, but those are the only ones I know personally. There may be someone who could tell you more if you get on the EEFC listserve via the www.eefc.org website. The books I have are all mostly in Bulgarian with bad translations so a teacher would be best. I wonder if Adam Good (the NY guy) does anything by Skype?
    "There are two refuges from the miseries of life--music and cats" Albert Schweitzer

  7. #31

    Default Re: Bulgarian Tambura

    It is definitely the Farkas (s is with a check but I can't do that on mobile) system of tuning. It is a samica, which is the precursor to the more modern Serbo-Croatian tambura. The lower two strings are generally played as drones while the melody is carried on the higher two strings. While the tambura still has people who can play and teach others (like me), the Farkas system is outdated and very difficult to find a player in the US.

  8. #32

    Default Re: Bulgarian Tambura

    It's a Larson Bros. (Stahl label) mandocello. I love it.
    "There are two refuges from the miseries of life--music and cats" Albert Schweitzer

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