Rebab Info.

in Info, Rebab


Rebab is a lute instrument which has its origin in Afghanistan and then moved onto other neighbouring countries. It is a stringed fiddle instrument and has been in existence since the 8th century. Hence it is considered as the oldest bowed instrument. It is also known as “Lion of the instruments”.

It has a heart-like body carved out from a single piece of wood. Body is enclosed in a  membrane made of parchment from a cow bladder. It consist of three melody strings, three drone strings and around 12 sympathetic strings. The head of the instrument is carved out from an animal skin and the strings are either made from gut(intestines of young goats) or from nylon.

When a rebab is played with a bow, the strings must rest upon a bridge. A bridge is placed between the strings and upper part of membrane. Bow is made from horsehair which are loosely combined together at the ends of a bow. Sound and volume of rabab depends upon the tension in the horsehair. The body of a rubab can also have the following shapes: rectangular, trapezoidal or flat round.

It can either be played with a plectrum or with the help of a bow. Depending upon the region and variation, it has various names such as: Kabuli rebab, Seni rebab, rubab, rebap, rabab, rebeb, rababah, or al-rababa.

The sound of rebab can be identified easily due to its rich thick sound and correct sequence of high and low tones.

Sarod is used a successor of rubab these days. Unlike sitar, it has no frets and contains strings made of brass and gut.

Rabab holds a great religious significance amongst the Sikhs as it was played by Bhai Mardana, a companion of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and hence he is also known as Rubabi. It is widely used by Namdharis in their performances.

Some of the notable Rebab players are: Aziz Herawi, Mohammad Omar, Homayun Sakhi,  Bijan Kamkar, Daud Khan Sadozai, Quraishi, Ghulam Ali, Ghulam Bandegi Khan, Haider Khan etc.

Famous Rabab manufacturers in India are Maharaja Musicals, D. D. Kochhar & Sons, Delhi Musical store etc.

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