SOUND SAMPLE - instrument played by the master:
The gadulka we offer has 3 main strings and 10 sympathetic ones. It is of a natural, light color.
The instrument has the following characteristics:
- the whole corpus together with the top part is made after old traditional technology by hollowing out of one piece wood (Acacia tree). This wooden material is remarkable for its very high sound quality and beautiful flader.
- Large corpus is made of acacia tree, that is especially selected and prepared. The top is made of spruce tree. The top is excellent agglutinated to the base part. The “chair” (or Donkey) is made of mahogany. The keys are made of dogwood. The bow is made of spruce and walnut with natural horse hair. The whole instrument is polished with colorless varnish in order to be preserved the natural color of the wood.
- There is a very special mechanism for the main strings, that facilitates instrument tuning. This german mechanism is made of cow bone and represents a big innovation by the string instruments.
- 3 main metal strings where the bow glides on. They are pitched in A-E-A (la-mi-la) - this is typical of Bulgarian Trakia Gadulka. The strings are lifted over the resonant plate by the bridge, called "donkey", that is made of hinap / Zizyphus jujuba mill. It is known as a very strong and durable material.
- 10 resonant metal strings ("podglasnici"). They are placed further down and the bow does not touch them . They only produce sound when affected by the sound vibration of the three main strings placed over them.
- For more comfort there is a specially made metal key which is to regulate the wooden keys.
Length 66cm / 26"
Width 20,5 cm / 8"
Corpus height to the magarence top 10cm/4 inches.
Mensure (the distance from the last three keys on the neck top to the bridge) - 36 cm / 14,2 "
Perfect folklore instrument a masterpiece made after old traditional technology combined with contemporary innovations for excellent sound and playing.
About the master:
The name of our Gadulka master is Yordan Vassilev. He is a professional musician among the most gifted musicians in south Bulgaria and is also known as a one of the best masters of Bulgarian traditional music instruments. All instruments on the picture we have provided are made by Yordan Vassilev.
He is born in 1945 in a family of musicians. He started playing bag pipe and kaval when he was a little child. 16 years old he made his first public appearance with an orchestra. Initially he took part in the ensemble of Sliven. Later in 1968, when the famous Philip Koutev school was founded he won the job contest and started as a Gaida and Kaval teacher, where he has been teaching some of the most famous and talented contemporary Bulgarian musicians. Meanwhile he also started making folklore instruments Kaval and Gaida under the guidance of the famous experienced old master Slavi Ivanov from the village of Kameno. He made his first Gadulka instrument as a student of Petko Denev - the most famous old Master from town of Gabrovo. The master skills and technique acquired were developed to perfection of making Bulgarian folklore instruments: Gadulka, gaida, kaval and tupan. He is a conductor of the Thracian orchestra more then 15 years now.
More about the instrument: GADULKA / Rebec
General info: The gadulka / rebeck is one of the most popular string instruments in Bulgaria, typical for the valleys of Thrace and Dobrudja, Western Bulgaria -Pirin mountain area and the middle part of Stara Planina Mountain. It is well known for its clear and pleasant sound. Gadulka is used as a solo and accompaniment instrument as well as for playing in big or small homogenous or mixed instrumental groups.
Construction: The rebecs are made of a whole piece of wood most often maple, acacia or chestnut-tree, and have a pear-like form. The head and the neck, as well as the outlines, are cut and then the corpus is hollowed out by hand following a special technique. The upper part of the oval shape passes gradually into a short finger board and ends with a widening called glava (head). On the head, which is shaped like a circle, clover, heart, rectangle or some other form, are to be found the wooden keys for tightening and tuning the strings. Over the open side of the corpus is glued a resonating plate made of spruce. It is called kapak (lid) and has a two circular or oval openings called otchi (eyes). The bridge, called by Bulgarians "donkey" is situated between the openings and keeps the strings lifted. It has a very interesting little stick called "soul" that lifts the right end of the "bridge" so that it touches the resonant plate with its left end only. The right end of the "bridge" contacts the corpus via the "soul". The strings are attached to the top plate called kokaltche (small bone).
Tuning: There are gadulka with three, four, five or fourteen strings, made of animal gut or metal. Some of them are melodious, some are bourdonic. Usually the rebecks are three- or four-stringed. Actually only the upper strings are bowed (pitches A, E, D), while the other strings ("podglasnici") only resonate the sound. The resonant strings can be pitched in the tones of the main strings, too. There are also other ways of pitching the main strings. One of them, which is often used, is A, E, A. This pitch gives more opportunities for instrumental solo performances
The 3-stringed Gadulka is pitched in the following ways:
1st string A1
2nd string E1
3rd string A
1st string A1
2nd string A
3rd string E1
1st string A1
2nd string E1
3rd string D1
Playing: The tone of the rebeck is obtained by gliding a bow over the strings. The bow is usually made of flexible forked willow twig. There can be used horse hair waxed with rosin. The first string is not to be pressed with the finger, but it is slightly to be touched with the nail, resulting in a very strange tone, having a flageolet tone nuance. The other strings are also slightly touched, but with fingers and not with nails.