Video NewsSilk Road radioPostcards from the road Maps
Group of people walking
Music & Artists

Ensemble member Yang Wei playing the pipa for schoolchildren at Museum Rietberg in Zurich, Switzerland

© RAINER WOLFSBERGER

Engaging New Audiences
Silk Road Ensemble member Yang Wei plays the pipa for schoolchildren at Museum Rietberg in Zurich, Switzerland. Residencies in museums and universities allow Ensemble members to take inspiration from works of visual art, collaborate on new projects, and share musical traditions with audiences in informal settings.


Kamancheh

© TARA TODRAS-WHITEHILL

"When the Western violin was introduced into Iran at the end of the 19th century, a lot of people put their kamanchehs aside in favor of violins. The violin was Western, fashionable and chic. Later, I did find kamancheh teachers, and now I am a teacher myself, helping to preserve classical Persian music as well as to create new kinds of music."

- KAYHAN KALHOR

Kamancheh

orig. Iran  The kamancheh is a small fiddle with a long conical neck, a round wooden body covered in animal skin, and a spike protruding from the base. The instrument rests on the player's knee or on the ground and is swiveled on the spike to meet the bow as it is played.

Traditionally played in the improvised Islamic music known as mugham, the kamancheh's warm, elegant sound is reminiscent of the human voice, making it conducive to solo-virtuoso or small-ensemble playing. With early written references dating to the 12th century C.E., the kamancheh has been featured in courtly, folk, religious and secular settings for centuries.


Hear the instrument
Kamancheh sound clip »


Kamancheh players
Rauf Islamov
Kayhan Kalhor


Other string instruments
Cello
Contrabass
Erhu
Harp
Kayagum
Morin khuur
Oud
Piano
Pipa
Ruan
Santur

Tar
Viola
Violin


Other Persian instruments
Ney
Santur
Tar