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The M. Paula Survilla Collection of World Instruments

Turkish Spike Fiddle

Turkish Spike Fiddle

The instruments referred to in the West as "spike fiddles" are referred to in the native language of the originating culture as some variation of "kamanche." Kamanche is spelled a variety of ways based on the regional language—a region that includes the Middle East, Persia, and the Balkans (includes Turkey, as the name implies; note particularly the cultural group of the Kurds, which crosses several country borders). Check out The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music to learn more, particularly the "Middle East" volume--look up "kamanche" and its variants in the index. Grove Music Online also has some interesting (and more summarized) information.

In the image below, a Wartburg student shows how it is possible to play this fiddle like a violin (this was for a presentation--the normal holding position is vertical, with the spike resting on the ground and the player seated).

Wartburg student holding spike fiddle incorrectly

RICE Day 2014. Image Credit: Julie Drewes.

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