The Art of Making and Playing Kamancheh - Persia Advisor Travels

The Art of Crafting and Playing Kamancheh
Photo by Vigen M / Shutterstock

Kamancheh is an authentic old bowed string musical instrument with a bow (like a violin), long neck, small bowl, four strings (in the past it has three strings) and different parts made of wood, skin of lamb or goat, bones, and metals. The bottom of Kamancheh has a metal base that is put on the thigh or ground when playing. This instrument is capable of being played individually or in bands to convey a vast range of themes including epic, spiritual, amusing, and happy themes.

According to pieces of evidences, the history of Kamancheh dates back to over one thousand years ago, played mostly in the classical music of Iran and Azerbaijan. Based on the available visual proofs from different historical eras, it can be argued that Kamancheh has been played in many Iranian ceremonies, out of which includes historical miniatures in Chehel Sotoun Palace in Isfahan remained from the Safavid dynasty (1501-1736).

The Art of Making and Playing Kamancheh - Persia Advisor Travels

The Art of Crafting and Playing Kamancheh
Photo by Levent Konuk/ Shutterstock

However, after the entrance of the violin to Iran, many of the Kamancheh players put this instrument away and started playing the violin. Given that they were unfamiliar with the principles of playing the violin, they played it based on the existing rules and principles of playing Kamancheh and the only difference lied in the way they held it in their hands.

In fact, Kamancheh is played while sitting down similar to a cello. Ali Asqar Bahari was the first contemporary Iranian musician who attempted to survive Kamancheh and managed to introduce it to the Western world.