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Chord Req: Tuning Ukrainian harp with 61 strings

GUEST,Mike Cherry 27 Mar 13 - 04:16 PM
maeve 29 Aug 13 - 12:59 PM
GUEST 19 Apr 14 - 01:32 PM
GUEST,Red Cherry 20 Apr 16 - 05:57 PM
maeve 20 Apr 16 - 06:34 PM
Stim 21 Apr 16 - 03:27 AM
GUEST,Mike Cherry 06 Jul 17 - 03:43 PM
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Subject: Chord Req: Tuning Ukrainian harp with 61 strings
From: GUEST,Mike Cherry
Date: 27 Mar 13 - 04:16 PM

I'm a beginner. I have a 61 string Concert Bandura...Ukrainian harp and am wondering if any of the 7 levers should be applied to the strings when tuning. When actived they raise all of the 'A' 'B' or 'C' etc. notes by a semi-tone
There are 2 rows of tuning pegs, one for the white notes on the piano and the other is for the black ones. I have been given conflicting info and either way is quite a time consuming process... altho' I usually manage to get it completed before I go to bed!
It doesn't matter which of the 2 methods I use but I would expect, when playing the strings in sequence across the instrument, that it would play in the same way as a piano, going up in semitones...but it doesn't work that way.... it is chromatic. Accidentals are my problem It doesn't matter what key I'm playing in I would expect an 'accidental' note to be close to the white piano note.


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: Tuning Ukrainian harp with 61 strings
From: maeve
Date: 29 Aug 13 - 12:59 PM

Guest Mike Cherry, perhaps you've grown tired of waiting and have gone on to other sources of information since you began this thread in March.
I did find a few links that may be of help. I'd be interested in whether you find any of the following information accurate or helpful. Regarding the levers, it is my understanding that like other levered harps, one tunes with levers unengaged.

General information including mention of the levers:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandura

Do you know what kind of Banduray you have?
http://www.bandura.org/bandura_history.htm
"Today there are 3 major type of banduras in concert use: The classical bandura, tuned diatonically with some 20 strings and wooden pegs; the Kharkiv bandura, tuned diatonically or chromatically with a single string mechanism and 34 to 65 strings; and the Kyiv bandura, with 55 to 64 strings tuned chromatically. "

http://www.encyclopediaofukraine.com/display.asp?linkpath=pages\B\A\Bandura.htm "Bandura. A Ukrainian musical instrument similar in construction and appearance to a lute. The bandura has 32–55 strings: the 8–14 bass strings (bunty) are stretched along the neck, and the 24–43 treble strings (prystrunky) run along the side of the soundboard. Before the 20th century the bandura had various shapes and tunings (basically diatonic), but in recent times it has been standardized. The modern bandura is usually chromatic, with a basic tuning in G major/E minor; the range is from AA to G3. The Chernihiv bandura is 109 cm by 51 cm in size. The bandura differs from other lutelike instruments by the presence of the prystrunky, on which the melody is performed (the bunty are used only for accompaniment), and the absence of frets. Each string produces only one note."
This link refers to a 51 string Bandura:
SUN HARP (Bandura) Tuning "...the bass strings - the highest is tuned to the E below middle C. from highest to lowest they should be: E D C B A G F# E D C B A. this is a diatonic tuning. (in ukraine, the basses are tuned differently - they're tuned chromatically, where the highest bass is C below middle C, and the rest are tuned chromatically down.)...the rest of the strings (starting at the lowest to highest) are tuned: the 1st is a C#, the 7th is the G below mid C, and mid C is the 12th string, etc. which should be the usual chromatic tuning we're all familiar with...

12 basses rest of the 51 strings.....

|||||||||||| |||||||||||| |||||||||||| c# d# f g# a# c# d# f d e f# g a b c d e f# etc. ^ middle C (gap) (gap) (on the bandura, there are small gaps in the string spacings, when you look at the strings across the bottom)"

It sounds like a fun instrument- enjoy!


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: Tuning Ukrainian harp with 61 strings
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 14 - 01:32 PM

I apologise for the late reply, but several months ago I met a girl from NSW Oz on Skype video call, who has toured the world playing and singing to the Bandura and she has one identical to mine...so that was brill...and what luck! Look up Larissa Burak on You Tube


many thanks for your input


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: Tuning Ukrainian harp with 61 strings
From: GUEST,Red Cherry
Date: 20 Apr 16 - 05:57 PM

It is now 2yrs since I last wrote to Mud Catters asking for info about the tuning and playing of my Bandura...Concert Ukrainian harp but no one has responded to my request.
I guess it is because not many Ukrainians can read English. The people in the EFDSS have also tried, but with no success.

I contacted the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus in America, they have the most wonderful male voice choir I have ever heard and perform with about 10 banduras fronting the choir...see them on Youtube I found a music shop in Vancouver but they were no help . I found a guy selling musical instruments and cases in Kiev so I bought I bought a hard case from him...and some sheet music, that I couldn't understand... and I have some pics from a factory in Kiev showing various stages of manufacture. And finally I have found a girl on Skype, from the Ukraine now living in NSW Oz who has toured all around Europe playing and singing to her bandura which is identical to mine. Name Larissa Burak...You tube, and she put me on the right track.
I think I'm getting on OK and hope to take it 'out' for the 1st time to Wimborne Folk Festival 2nd w/end in June 2016. I'm 80yrs old and a big prob has been getting my LH around the neck of the instrument to pluck the bass strings and generally getting my fingers, hands and arms supple enough to pluck the strings.


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: Tuning Ukrainian harp with 61 strings
From: maeve
Date: 20 Apr 16 - 06:34 PM

I'm glad you have found some of the information you need! I did respond, but could only offer information from other sources since my harp is an ordinary lever harp.

Jan 18, 2007 Larissa Burak (Bandura/vocals) and Lucy Voronova (Tsymbaly) perform at Ukrainian Independence Day Concert Sydney, Australia, 2006.


Best to you in your adventure in harp playing!


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: Tuning Ukrainian harp with 61 strings
From: Stim
Date: 21 Apr 16 - 03:27 AM

Actually, a lot of bandurists speak English pretty well. This is because the Ukrainian Bandura Orchestra, who are now the main bearers of the bandura tradition, are based in Detroit, Michigan. Every year, they hold the Kobzarska Sich Bandura Camp in Pennsylvania, where you can learn to play.
The camp runs from August 6-20 this year.

The UBO originated in Ukraine, but the members emigrated to the US after WWII. One of the more interesting things about the US and Canada is that a lot of musical traditions continued here long after they disappeared in the countries of origin.Ukrainian musical traditions are a good example. The great Ukrainian fiddler Pawlo Humeniuk did most of his recording work in the US, and V Records was a label from Manitoba that made sold tens of thousands of Ukrainian music recordings in the 1960s. An odd footnote-Neil Young's first record was released on V Records.

Though the UBO is an orchestra, the traditional bandurists were balladeers who travelled and performed topical and traditional songs. Many, perhaps most of them were gathered up and executed by Josef Stalin during the Holodomor--the Famine/Genocide of 1932-33, where between 3-7 million Ukrainians were killed.


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: Tuning Ukrainian harp with 61 strings
From: GUEST,Mike Cherry
Date: 06 Jul 17 - 03:43 PM

It is now 4yrs since I first contacted Mud Catters and I'd like to say I've 'cracked it' and I play and sing a few simple English folk songs with it. I'm 81 yrs old now and my memory ain't what it used to be, so I sing some of the tunes I used to play and sing with my Castagnari Handry melodian
A comment was made earlier by Stim said that most Ukrainians can speak English...that is my experience too, but few can read or write it.You also spoke about the tuning and at first the tuning that the Sec of the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus sent me I thought was nonsense. There are 2 rows of tuning pegs, one for the black notes on a piano and the other for the white ones. In the info from the Chorus I noticed the info for the black notes had repeated duplicated B and F notes. I immediately thought that it was a typist's error. I wasn't bright enough to realise there were 7 different white notes and 5 different black notes on a piano. To go on, I would get lost, but just to say there is a wonderful mechanism activated by the 7 switches on top and now I can find accidentals where I think they should be.
Larissa Burak, who I have mentioned before before, helped no end as she had a bandura identical to mine...and then I was on my way.
I have bought some Ukrainian costume from Kiev and at the last 2 Wimborne folk festivals,on the South coast of England, I think I spent as much time speaking about the instrument as playing it. I am also taking it to local folk clubs and Music Nights where I play and sing to it.. At 1st I played it for 2hrs a night and now the same music takes about 90 mins. I had v stiff fingers which practise eventually sorted out.
I really appreciate all the input from this site, I certainly found much encouragement from you all, mike@mdowding.co.uk


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