Bouzouki #atozchallenge


The bouzouki is a string instrument that’s like a mandolin or a 12-string guitar in that its steel strings come in pairs, tuned either in unison or an octave apart. Like a lute, it also has a rounded back. There are two kinds, a trichordo, with three sets of strings, and a tetrachordo, with four. It’s the instrument that gives Greek music its familiar sound.

Trichordo bouzouki (source:Wikipedia, Public Domain)

The trichordo is the original bouzouki. It was introduced to Greece from Turkey around 1900. The pair closest to the player (on top) are tuned an octave apart, the other two pairs are tuned in unison. Here are Lakis Karnezis and Kostas Papadopoulos on trichordos, playing a familiar tune.

The tetrachordo was developed in the 1950’s and was made popular by Manolis Chiotis, who tuned it like a guitar, much to the chagrin of purists. Here are Mr. Chiotis with singer Mary Linda with “Laos kai Kolonaki” and “Pare me sto tilefono,” from the 1959 movie Laos kai Kolonaki.

Kind of reminds me of Django Reinhardt…

In the mid-1960’s, Johnny Moynihan introduced the bouzouki to Irish music, and soon the Irish bouzouki evolved, with a flatter back, four pairs of strings, and tuned differently than the original instrument. Here is YouTube user TijnB42, who appears to be Dutch, with the reel “MacArthur Road.” You can see how different from the original instrument the Irish one is.

So we have a Dutch player of a Greek instrument playing an Irish reel. Quite a mashup of ethnicities…

There’s plenty more bouzouki music out on YouTube, if you’re interested.