Qahnun: Characteristics, price, and history of ethnic musical instruments


Qanun is a stringed instrument used from West Asia to Central Asia. In Arabic music, it is often played with oud and nai, and the innumerable strings stretched in a trapezoidal box are played with fingers. It is a classic Arabic music instrument and one of the most famous instruments in the Middle East. The origin of Qanun is very old and dates back to the Mesopotamian stringed instruments of BC. Qanun is one of the most impressive instruments with a unique tone.


This instrument was born in the Middle East.

About the price

Prices range from around 200,000 yen to around 1 million yen.

Qanun history

Qanun is one of the representative musical instruments of Middle Eastern countries and Turkey. Used as a tuned instrument in classical music, the origin of Qanun is very old and dates back to BC. It is said that there was Qanun in the days of Sumer. Qanun has been used in Arabic music since the 10th century. It was already used in various parts of West Asia in the 11th and 12th centuries. Introduced to Europe in the 12th century, it became known as psaltery or zither in European form from the 14th to 16th centuries. In modern times, it was also used in the Ottoman Empire and continued to be used in the Arabian Peninsula. Today, Qanun, along with Oud and Nai, has become a symbolic instrument of Arabic music. Qanun has also spread to Europe and Central Asia and is widely known.


Features of Qanun

Qanun is a plucked string instrument traditionally used in Arabic music. A large number of strings are stretched around a trapezoidal box, which is pinched and played like a Japanese koto. A set of 3 nylon strings are stretched in 27 rows, and the range is about 3 octaves. You can make a sound by putting two long and thin bees attached to the ring on the left and right index fingers and plucking the strings. The player places the instrument horizontally on his lap and strumms it with the prosthesis on the index fingers of both hands. In classical music, there is an advanced playing method that requires a fast tremolo-like passage and moves the index finger at a dizzying pace, while mainly playing the taxim and emphasizing the main notes of the tune. In addition, some pieces are equipped with a device that can adjust the minute pitch according to the mode used. A small metal plate with a chopstick is provided under each set of strings along the spool, and by moving this metal plate, it is possible to finely adjust the pitch such as a quarter note.

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Qanun song

Qanun is a typical instrument of Arabic music. It is often used mainly in folk music.


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