Bouzouki: characteristics, price, and history of the ethnic musical instrument


Bouzouki is an instrument used in Greek music, and is also used in Eastern Europe such as Serbia and Bosnia. It has the shape of a pear split in half and is counted in the lute genus like the mandolin. The playing style itself is similar to a mandolin. The history of Bouzouki is said to be quite old, and it is said that the prototype of this instrument already existed in the era of the Mesopotamian civilization in the distant past. It is played using a pick and features a sharp tone.


This instrument was born in Greece.

About the price

Prices range from tens of thousands of yen to hundreds of thousands of yen.

Bouzouki history

The musical instruments that became the ancestors of Bouzouki are said to have originated from the ancient Mesopotamian civilization, dating back to their roots. After that, it was introduced to the Middle East such as Egypt and Turkey, and it seems that it was eventually introduced to ancient Greece. The origin of Bouzouki can be traced back to the 17th century English Cittern. In the middle of the 18th century, the English Cittern, which was made more solidly than the Cittern of the last century, appeared in England. Then, around the 20th century, Bouzouki was born in Greece. By the way, this instrument later spread to Ireland, and an instrument called the Irish Bouzouki was born. The Irish Bouzouki has the same 4 course of restringing as the mandolin, with a total of 8 strings arranged, and sounds like a metal string. In this way, Bouzouki is currently diversifying from region to region and is evolving into various forms. As a result, the timbre and the shape of the instrument have also become different depending on the region. Bouzouki has become a musical instrument used in Serbia and Bosnia in Eastern Europe, and has spread throughout the world.

Features of Bouzouki

Bouzouki is a Greek stringed instrument with a rounded bottom, similar to a mandolin but with a long neck. The number of strings varies depending on the region. 3 course (6) or 4 course (8) strings are stretched. The 3-course bouzouki tends to have an exotic sound, while the 4-course bouzouki tends to have a modern sound. It has a sound quality with emphasized metallic sound, and has a strong tone. G-D-A-E is often used for tuning according to other D wind instruments, and the tuning is the same as for fiddle, banjo, and mandolin. Bouzouki was positioned as an accompaniment instrument at the beginning of its development, but now it is becoming more and more prominent as it plays the main tune. In Ireland, they make their own bouzouki and are often called Irish bouzouki.

Types of bouzouki

Bouzouki mainly includes Greek Bouzouki and Irish Bouzouki.

Greek Bouzouki 

Irish bouzouki


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