Balalaika

Purchased in Russia, April 1962

From Graciela's Notes

The balalaika is thought to have appeared in Russia during the 17th century. It is still the best-known instrument and the one which has the closest links with Russian folk tradition. The forerunner of the balalaika was the dorma, which had only two strings and which was introduced into Russia by the Tartars during the 13th century. The balalaika is a popular Russian instrument of the guitar type, with a triangular body and long neck. It became popular in the 18th century and towards the end of the 19th century serious Russian musicians became interested in constructing sized balalaikas and combining with the more ancient dorma in ethnic Russian ensembles. This balalaika, which is made from pine wood, has three strings: la, mi, and Mi. There is a wide range of balalaikas in different sizes, from the soprano to the bass. I have seen and heard balalaika orchestras in Russia during various visits there - they are quite something wonderful to hear. You’d have to see the bass balalaika to believe how big it truly is. This balalaika was bought in Moscow, Russia at the famed GUM (a big department store) in the heart of the city, at Red Square, just outside the Kremlin. Bought it during my first tour to Russia during Easter (April) 1962.

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