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Bandura - a multi-stringed Ukrainian folk instrument.

The bandura can trace its origins back to a lute-like predecessor. The first use of the term bandura in Polish written chronicles dates back to 1441. The bandura became the favourite instrument of the Ukrainian Cossacks. After the destruction of the Zaporozhian Sich the instrument continued to be played by blind itinerant musicians known as kobzari. In the 20th century the instrument began to be used widely throughout Ukraine. Bandura ensembles and conservatory courses were established.


A number of different types of banduras exist.

  1. The Folk bandura having some 20 strings and wooden pegs and tuned to a diatonic tuning.
  2. The Kyiv style bandura was developed in the 1930s and was serially manufactured by the Chernihiv or Lviv musical instruments factory. Standard instruments have some 55-58 strings tuned chromatically. Concert instruments have a register mechanism in the side and have 61-65 strings.
  3. The Kharkiv style bandura was developed in th 1920's and was refined by bandura makers Peter Honcharenko and Bill Vetzal. This instrument allows the use of both hands over the full range of the instrument. Various types exist. Diatonic instruments with 34-36 strings, semi-chromatic with 58 strings a fully chromatic instruments with 68 strings.