World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0026532771
Reproduction Date:

Title: Tambouras  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Greek musical instruments, Karantouzeni, Baglamas, Greek folk music, Thaboura
Collection: Cypriot Music, Greek Dances, Greek Music, Greek Musical Instruments, String Instruments
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Greek playing tambouras, 18th-century painting
Classification Plucked
Related instruments

The tambouras (Greek: ταμπουράς is a Greek traditional string instrument of Byzantine origin.[1] It has existed since at least the 10th century, when it was known in Assyria and Egypt. At that time, it might have between two and six strings, but Arabs adopted it, and called it a Tanbur. The characteristic long neck and two strings, tuned 5 notes apart.[2]

It also similar instrument Tambur in Turkish and each of them have same origin.[3]


  • History 1
    • Origins 1.1
    • Name 1.2
    • Type 1.3
  • Gallery 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
    • Notes 4.1
    • Sources 4.2



It is considered that the tambouras' ancestor is the ancient Greek pandouris, also known as pandoura, pandouros or pandourida (πανδουρίς, πανδούρα, πάνδουρος), from which the word is derived. The tambouras is mentioned in the Byzantine epic of Digenis Akritas, when the hero plays his θαμπούριν, thambourin (medieval form of tambouras):


The name resembles that of the Indian tambura, but the Greek tambouras is a completely different instrument. Since modern Greek words do not have a standard transliteration into the Latin alphabet, the word may be found written in many ways: tampouras, tambouras, tabouras, taburas etc. Even the final -s may be dropped at the transliteration, since it marks the masculine nominative in Greek. Variations of the word are to be found in Greece: tsambouras, tambouri.

The word ταμπουράς comes from Turkish tambur from Arabic ṭanbūr or Persian tunbūra.[4][5]


The tambouras is a long-neck fretted instrument of the lute family,[1] close to Turkish saz and the Persian tanbur. It has movable frets that permit playing tunes in the Greek traditional modes (equivalent of the makams of Arabic music and the ichoi of Byzantine music). It was also known as Pandouris, Pandoura and Fandouros in the Byzantine Empire.[2] When the tambouras was tempered, it gave rise to the bouzouki, which is, in fact, a recent development of the tambouras.[6]


See also



  1. ^ a b Eleni Kallimopoulou (2009), Paradosiaká: Music, Meaning and Identity in Modern Greece, SOAS musicology series, Ashgate Publishing, pp. 50 & 53,  
  2. ^ a b "Traditional Stringed Instruments of Greece". Retrieved 2010-03-28. 
  3. ^ The Stringed Instrument Database
  4. ^ Λεξικό της κοινής νεοελληνικής, ed. Institute of Manolis Triantafyllidis, 1998: "ταμπουράς"
  5. ^ "tamboura" at
  6. ^ John Shepherd (2003), Performance and Production, Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World: Volume II: Performance and Production 11, Continuum, p. 68,  


  • Anogeianakis, Foivos. Ellinika Laika Mousika Organa. Athens: Melissa, 1991 (2nd Edition).
  • Jeffreys, Elizabeth. Digenis Akritis. The Grottaferrata and Escorial Versions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
  • Grapsas, Nikos. Tambouras. Methodos Didaskalias. Athens: Nikolaidis, 2007.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.