Kamancha Tarhu & Shah Kaman

The three leading kamancha players in the world today all play Kamancha Tarhus made by Peter Biffin:

Habil Aliyev from Azerbaijan, Kayhan Kalhor from Iran and Imamyar Hasanov from Azerbaijan.

 

Sound Design

Both kamancha tarhu and shah kaman have been designed to produce the greatest possible range of tone colours with the smallest change in how the bow is used. Compared to traditional kamancha, they also have a very strong sound.

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Azeri and Persian styles

Vibrating string length is either 33cm, (standard length for Iranian style kamancheh) or 29cm (standard length for Azeri style kamancha). The sound adjustments provided by the moveable bridge pin (see Design) allows the sound of any kamancha tarhu to be directed towards the sound pallette of either Azeri or Iranian styles. Players of Azeri style kamancha should note that because the Azeri string spacing is much wider than on a Persian style instrument, 5 playing strings can't be used without reducing the string spacing substantially.

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Stringing and tuning:

The kamancha tarhu uses a violin string-set for 4 string models, and viola string set for 5 string models. Shah kaman uses viola string. Tuning is either fifths (identical to violin) or a mixture of fourths and fifths. As with other tarhus, the kamancha tarhu will still work effectively with the strings tuned down a long way from their intended violin tuning. Most common 4 string tuning is (highest to lowest) c,g,c,g, (or d,a,d,a) and most common 5 string tuning c,g,c,g,c (or d,a,d,a,d)

On shah kaman, the sympathetic strings are tuned to whichever mode is being played.          

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Kamancha Tarhu

The kamancha tarhu was inspired by the playing of the legendary Habil Aliyev, and the kamancha tarhu's sound was developed in close collaboration with him. It is an instrument with 4 or 5 strings, and can be played straight away by players familiar with traditional kamancha - no new techniques have to be learnt.

Kamancha Tarhu (as pictured below):
Body made from 18 laminated ribs using figured Blackwood, Black wood neck, Ebony fingerboard, pegheds geared pegs.
4 Playing string - $4700aud
................5 Playing string - $5000aud

Prices do not include case or freight. Kamancha Tarhu cases $400 (laminated wood construction)

For a story about the development of the kamancha tarhu see HERE

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MP3 Sound Samples:

Kamancha Tarhu played by Habil Aliev - tarhu and drum (zarb)

Kamancha Tarhu played by Habil Aliev - small ensemble

Videos featuring kamancha tarhu:

Imamyar Hasanov's Youtube Channel is a good starting place. It has many videos of Imamyar playing kamancha tarhu

http://www.youtube.com/user/nargiz76?ob=0&feature=results_main

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Shah Kaman

The shah kaman has 4 or 5 playing strings and 7 sympathetic strings. The sympathetic strings run in a channel under the fingerboard. This design was developed in collaboration with the Iranian Master Kamancheh player Kayhan Kalhor. Kalhor named the instrument Shah Kaman, which translates into English as King of Kamanchehs. The shah kaman requires additional tuning, otherwise all traditional kamancheh techniques can be used.

4 playing strings with 7 sympathetics - Body made from 18 laminated ribs using figured Blackwood, Black wood neck, Ebony fingerboard pegheds pegs,
$5700aud

5 playing strings with 7 sympathetics - Body made from 18 laminated ribs using figured Blackwood, Black wood neck, Ebony fingerboard pegheds pegs, (photos left above)
$6000aud

For a story about the development of the shah kaman see HERE

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Videos featuring Shah Kaman:

A search for Kayhan Kalhor Shahkaman on Youtube will produce plenty of results.