Saz – ancient stringed musical instrument of Azerbaijan, one of symbols of Turkic world and Turkic spirituality

Baku, March 17, AZERTAC

Saz is an ancient stringed musical instrument of Azerbaijan, which is also considered one of the symbols of the Turkic world and Turkic spirituality.

Ashig (folk) songs - essential part of Azerbaijani wedding celebrations, are often accompanied by the balaban (small wind instrument resembling zurna) and wind ensembles, but the main musical instrument of these songs is saz.

As an integral part of the ashig art, rooted in the tradition of the great ozans, saz is played with a plectrum and fingerstyle.

There are several sizes of saz: big (8-11 strings), average (8-9 strings) and small (4-7 strings).

The modern Azerbaijani saz is considered to be the perfect descendant of the gopuz. The modern Azerbaijani saz differs from the saz that is widespread among other Turkic peoples in terms of its technical performance and acoustic features, with considerable advantages.

The instrument is composed of 2 parts: a bowl and a neck. The body of the saz is made of specific kinds of mulberry wood. The neck is made of nut wood. The surface is usually decorated with mother-of-pearl.

The trunk of the body is assembled from wooden pieces in an odd number (usually nine). These lags are assembled on a small part called the “kup”, which connects the body with the neck. The neck is attached to the “kup”. The top of the body is covered with a thin wooden sounding board, and 16-17 frets are fastened to the instrument’s finger-board.

The “tavar saz”, or “ana saz”, has nine, sometimes eight strings. The smaller “orta” or “goltug” saz has six, sometimes seven strings.

The “jura saz”, which is the smallest, has four to six strings. The strings used to be made of high-quality steel that had been dipped in a silver solution; such strings never rusted and broke only in very rare cases.

In an orchestra of national instruments, the saz is used as a solo instrument. Usually, the “goltug” or “jura” saz is used for this purpose. The sound of the saz is produced with the help of a plectrum, made as a rule from cherry bark.

The basic “Tavar” saz has a total length of 1,200 mm. The depth of the body is 200 mm. The tavar saz’s range goes from the “do” of the first octave to the “sol” of the second octave.




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