The Zongorã by Ana-Iulia, Age 20

"Zongorã" is the name given to the guitar in the villages in northern Transylvania (Maramures, Oas). It seems that the instrument, which probably existed to play the "serious" music of the local aristocracy for some hundreds of years, filtered down to country music towards the end of the last century. During Béla Bartók’s survey of the region in 1913, he discovered the zongorã in Maramures and noted that it had only two strings tuned at a perfect fifth apart (D - A).

Since then, a number of strings have been added to the guitar- zongorã which now has four tuned in a major scale (D - F# - A or A - C# - E), a sign that country people have already associated their music with "classical" scales. Towards the 1960s, the guitar-zongorã also became the accompanying instrument in neighbouring Oas.

The zongorã is played by musicians of moderate talent, who do not have to know anything more than how to strum the strings (with a wood or plastic pick or plectrum). A regular rhythm is dictated by the melody and to change the tuning from time to time by moving the index finger of the left hand up and down the neck, pressing all the strings down at the same time. Zongorã musicians buy their instrument in stores, replace the strings and play it in an unusual position, with the curved side pressed against their left side (or right if the musician is left-handed like the musician in the photograph) and the face of the instrument turned slightly towards the face. Zongorã players are often singers as well and perform folk songs, drinking songs (song de bãut) and dances (dant). They also call dance tunes (Bãrbãtescul and Învârtita in Maramures, the Dantul and Roata in Oas).
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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