The Cobzã by Ioana-Cristina, Age 17

People associate the cobzã with a famous Romanian musician from the beginning of the 19th century, Barbu Lãutaru (Barbu the fiddler). It seems that during one of his tours in Moldavia, Franz Liszt met him in the house of a rich land owner. After hearing him, Liszt told him, "My dear Barbu, you are greater than me!". Barbu Lãutarul actually played the violin, but, like all good popular musicians, he could also handle the cobzã as a melodic instrument.

Through almost two centuries, the cobzã – a plucked stringed instrument of Eastern origin related to the Turkish tamboura – has had a surprising history. First of all, it was rejected by the nobility who began to prefer European music. At the same time, it was adopted by the middle class and ordinary townspeople. Later, the cobzã travelled to the villages where rural people took it up with pleasure and played it at intimate family gatherings. Singers often played it to accompany themselves. In the early part of the century, professional musicians from villages in Wallachia and Moldavia made it their main accompanying musical instrument. But, as the cobzã was not very loud, it was quickly replaced by the zimbalon (tambal) and this is how the real decline of this marvellous instrument began.

You rarely see a cobzã these days. Although large national folk groups have promoted it for a considerable period, the cobzã remains an instrument for nostalgic elders or a few youngsters with a taste for a more glorious past.
Canadian Heritage Information Network
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Centre des recherches et études andalouses, Centre des musiques arabes et méditerranéennes Ennejma Ezzahra, Musée de la musique, Laboratoire de recherche des musiques du monde, Musée acadien de l'Université de Moncton, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Musée d'art et d'archéologie de l'Université d'Antananarivo, Musée ethnographique Alexandre Sènou Adande, Musée national du Mali, St. Boniface Museum, Lycée de langues étrangères Alexandre Dumas, Museum of the Romanian Peasant

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