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This is the most common stringed instrument in Turkey. It is known as bağlama, meydan sazı, divan sazı (court saz), bozuk, tambura, cura, üçtelli (three-string), onikitelli (twelve-string), çarta, ırızva, cöğür etc. depending on its size and region.

The smallest of the bağlama family, and that with the highest pitch, is the cura. Slightly larger and an octave lower is the tambura. The lowest pitch in the bağlama family comes from the divan sazı, which is an octave lower than the tambura.

The bağlama consists of three sections; Table, chest and stem. The table section is generally made of mulberry wood, the chest from spruce, and the stem from beech, white beech or fir.

On that part of the stem furthest from the table is a part called the peg, to which the strings are attached. These pegs are used for tuning the instrument. There are frets on the stem tied with fishing line.

The bağlama is played with a plectrum made of cherry bark or plastic, and in some regions with the fingers. That mode is playing is called ‘şelpe.’

These string groups can be tuned in different ways. One method consists of tuning the bottom group to La, the middle group to Re, and the top group to Mi. There are a number of other alternatives (Kara, misket, müstezat, abdal, rast etc.).

Sound of the bağlama/mp3 (663KB)
Sound of the bağlama/rm (124KB)

Picture: A bağlama