For many years, we spent several days in the summer in a small village in the high mountains. The peace of the century-old forest and the hospitality of the mountain people made us forget the turmoil of the big city. We would get out of the car to follow a steep path. And inevitably, between the murmuring of the streams and the singing of the birds, we would hear a melodious tune sliding stealthily on the air. Although it was a sad tune, it made us glad because it meant that the village was not far off and that the old shepherd was still alive and playing his gadulka sitting on a stump.

But this year he was not there. Autumn was approaching, the days were getting shorter and the mountain seemed deserted. Full of anxiety, we hurried along and... we gave a sigh of relief because a cheerful melody was coming from a brightly lit barn. The whole village had gathered there. The women were knitting or crocheting, the men were telling stories about real or imagined experiences, the girls were embroidering and the boys were teasing them. And above the gossip and the laughter rose the happy tune of the gadulka, singing about the joys of life. It was one of the gatherings that th Read More

For many years, we spent several days in the summer in a small village in the high mountains. The peace of the century-old forest and the hospitality of the mountain people made us forget the turmoil of the big city. We would get out of the car to follow a steep path. And inevitably, between the murmuring of the streams and the singing of the birds, we would hear a melodious tune sliding stealthily on the air. Although it was a sad tune, it made us glad because it meant that the village was not far off and that the old shepherd was still alive and playing his gadulka sitting on a stump.

But this year he was not there. Autumn was approaching, the days were getting shorter and the mountain seemed deserted. Full of anxiety, we hurried along and... we gave a sigh of relief because a cheerful melody was coming from a brightly lit barn. The whole village had gathered there. The women were knitting or crocheting, the men were telling stories about real or imagined experiences, the girls were embroidering and the boys were teasing them. And above the gossip and the laughter rose the happy tune of the gadulka, singing about the joys of life. It was one of the gatherings that the villagers often organized to work and entertain themselves.

The face of the old shepherd seemed rejuvenated.
"Grandfather", I said to him, "I thought that the gadulka only knew how to cry".
"It is like people", he replied. "It cries when it is alone. But when it is surrounded by happy people, it plays along to its heart’s content."


© 1999, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Gadulka (Fork Fiddle)

Gadulka

Gabrovo

The "Alexandre Dumas" School of Foreign Languages, Bulgaria
c. 1992
Body: walnut Soundboard, bridge and soundpost: spruce Srings: metal Bow: dogwood Hairs: horse tail
© The "Alexandre Dumas" School of Foreign Languages, Bulgaria


The gadulka is a simply-made Bulgarian folk instrument of the chordophone family, known mainly in Thrace, the Balkans and central Bulgaria. Sound is produced by rubbing its strings with a bow.

The gadulka is pear-shaped with a long neck ending in a "head", all carved from a single piece of wood (sycamore, walnut or pear). The body is hollowed out to make a soundbox. There are three keys in the "head" on which the strings are wound. They then pass over the bridge and are held in place by the tailpiece. The upper surface of the body has two openings (sound holes) that allow the air from the inside to come into contact with air on the outside. To the right of the bridge on the soundbox is a little wooden stick called the soundpost that transmits the vibrations of the strings to the enclosed air. The bow is curved and is made of dogwood or willow. The hair of the bow is horse tail.

The strings are made of sheep gut or metal. The number of strings can vary from three to four strings depending on the region of the country and their tuning can also vary. Modern gadulkas have seven to ten extra strings that are thinner and placed at a lower leve Read More

The gadulka is a simply-made Bulgarian folk instrument of the chordophone family, known mainly in Thrace, the Balkans and central Bulgaria. Sound is produced by rubbing its strings with a bow.

The gadulka is pear-shaped with a long neck ending in a "head", all carved from a single piece of wood (sycamore, walnut or pear). The body is hollowed out to make a soundbox. There are three keys in the "head" on which the strings are wound. They then pass over the bridge and are held in place by the tailpiece. The upper surface of the body has two openings (sound holes) that allow the air from the inside to come into contact with air on the outside. To the right of the bridge on the soundbox is a little wooden stick called the soundpost that transmits the vibrations of the strings to the enclosed air. The bow is curved and is made of dogwood or willow. The hair of the bow is horse tail.

The strings are made of sheep gut or metal. The number of strings can vary from three to four strings depending on the region of the country and their tuning can also vary. Modern gadulkas have seven to ten extra strings that are thinner and placed at a lower level than the others. They make the instrument sound louder.

Musicians make sounds by pressing the first string with their fingernails and the two others with their fingertips. The instrument has a pleasant, tremulous sound that is quite soft. Today, some musicians play jazz improvisations and modern music on the gadulka.


© 1999, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Gadulka: Audio

Gadulka: Audio

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

© 1999, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:

  • Understand that music is an expression in all cultures
  • Understand that the relationship between personal feelings and music transcends borders and cultures
  • Develop respect for music from a variety of cultural contexts
  • Examine traditional music practices in selected Francophone countries
  • Demonstrate geographical awareness by identifying Francophone countries
  • Be aware of the musical contributions of various cultural groups in their own community
  • Understand that all world music can be organized within a standard classification system

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