The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

July 7, 2009

electric yayli tanbur

15:19 minute bowed & plucked yayli tanbur solo
finally it sounds the way i imagined it
the tanbur's run through a small marshall amplifier
quite happy w/ this - *

* but maybe i'm missing something **
** probably not but then these scales are unfamiliar +
+ more or less 28 frets to the octave ++ ***
++ given the spacing, less than quarter tones ^
^ i won't even get started on the bow ^^
^^ more later on bows and things
*** 56 frets on the neck +++
+++ which reaches about three octaves ^^^ *****
^^^ you're only bowing the upper string ****
**** plucking, on the other hand, can go anywhere ++++
++++ and does ^^^^
^^^^ enjoy
***** the last 2/3 octave or so is fretless

cobza/koboz solos for a description and pictures
of the instrument. for nice

two solos:

traded in dotar and tambur and some books for the cobza, which sounds
amazing and is interesting to play - a fretless five-inch neck. i have
it tuned eee/aa/dd/ggg, somewhat between a tiple and guitar. it's
incredibly resonant.

bit of phenomenology follows:

local spots on yayli tanbur

given the irregular positioning of the frets, there are local intensities,
strange attractors, often preceded (i.e. lower down i the scale) by a
series of quarter-tones. the result is a psycho-geography of the neck
which refuses cartesion/tensor mathesis; this universe is hardly homo-
geneous, much less isomorphic. think of it as a one-dimensional vector
heading towards a hyperbolic geometry at the higher end - the asymptotic
gathering of octave after octave, endless. local memory plays a role here
- not a finger/chord-positioning demanding equality everywhere on the
fingerboard, but a local cluster-population to which the fingers respond.
here the medieval (i.e. not equally-tempered, assembly-line) meets the
universe (pythagorean 'natural intervals); you can literally sense the
tension between industry/artifice and craft/physics. capital in this
regard is hardly natural; instead, it is at odds with the order of things
that in fact is ungainly, local, inelegant. there's no room for the abject
on the western fingerboard (no wonder so many bent notes); there's room
for everything on the yayli tanbur - except for chordal vagaries, trans/

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