Domra: Features, price, history Differences from balalaika

Instrument

Do you know the musical instrument called domra? Many people associate Russia with the balalaika, but the domra is a different instrument. It is said that the domra was not originally from Russia, but was brought over by Mongolia. The domra resembles a balalaika, but is actually different in shape and tone.

Birthplace

The domra is said to have been brought to Russia from Mongolia, but it is generally considered a Russian instrument.

About the price

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

History of Domra

Although the domra is known as a Russian folk instrument, it was not originally from Russia. History began in the 12th century. The domra was a stringed instrument brought to Russia when the Mongols conquered Eurasia. However, Domra’s current form differs from its medieval counterpart. Because around the 19th century, the domra was improved. The domra was originally a favorite of wandering travelers, but the Romanovs banished it. However, in the 19th century, Vasily Vasilyevich Andreev improved it into the current form of the domra, and since then it has become a major instrument in folk orchestras along with the balalaika.

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Features of Domura

There are 3-stringed domra and 4-stringed domra, and the domra is diversifying. A 4-string domra is tuned E-A-D-G. Russian folk orchestras often use the 3-string domra. In ensembles with the balalaika, it is often the instrument responsible for the melody, and many people mistake it for the balalaika. The domra is a stringed instrument that tends to be played with a small claw-like pick and a lot of tremolo. The timbre of the domra is very similar to the lute. This is why some Europeans cannot distinguish between a domra and a lute. Compared to the lute, the domra can produce a clearer sound with more tension.

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Difference between domra and balalaika

The domra and the balalaika have different shapes. The balalaika looks like this and has a triangular shape. On the other hand, Domura has a round shape, and the appearance is different in the first place. The domra has a wide range of tones, ranging from soprano to bass. Domura also tends to use small claw-shaped picks and play with a lot of tremolo. On the other hand, the balalaika corresponds to prima, secunda, alto, bass, and contrabass depending on the range, and the strings are often plucked mainly with the fingers. The balalaika and domra are often used together in orchestras, and often play the main melody of the balalaika ensemble.

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