Foreword. Introduction A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR

Since the publication of the first edition of this booklet interest in
Ukrainian folk music and instruments has continued to grow. This is
evident in the large number of new recordings and books that have
appeared on the subject during the past ten years. The independence
Ukraine finally gained has also brought on a change in the political
climate in Ukraine and the West. This has also sparked a new found
interest in Ukraine and its arts. The continued development and
perfecting of Ukrainian folk instruments by craftspeople both in Ukraine
and in the West has meant that some additions needed to be made. In some
cases information had to be changed. All efforts have been made to make
sure information in this booklet is up to date and accurate, without
making it overly extended Tunings of instruments have not been given
because many are not typical, similarly examples of folk-music material
have been avoided to keep the booklet within a project-like size.

Victor Mishalow

Toronto, 1996


Interest in traditional folk instruments is growing, not only in Ukraine
but also in the West. This movement, which started almost a hundred
years ago as an offshoot of the romantic movement, has been a valuable
tool in defining national identity and in developing a better
understanding of the cultural attributes of each nation. A similar
movement can be observed in the new-found popularity in Renaissance and
Baroque music in the West. Not only are recordings and music readily
available, but the quality of these works has become more sophisticated.
The audience is no longer able to accept «straight» performances of
ancient music but require that authentic instruments be used and that
the music being performed in an authentic style, even though such
«perfect» performances would have been a rarity at their time the music
was conceived.

This trend will most probably influence those who enjoy listening and
playing Ukrainian music. They will become more interested in the finer
points of the music, such as the use of authentic folk instruments and
their differences.

This booklet is an introduction to the folk instruments of the Ukrainian
people. It will allow you to gain a better understanding of the
instruments of this region and to understand appreciate what you are
listening to. It is written in a popular style to be accessible to all
and to enable its use for school projects and as a handy reference book,
without the use of too many technical terms that may cloud some of the
more interesting facts about an instrument. Much information has been
written and published about Ukrainian folk instruments, some of this has
been incorrect or outdated. The unfortunate problem is that this
information is often repeated. The author has made a great effort to
ensure that all the facts in this book are current and correct.

Instrumental ensemble, 17th century


Music has accompanied human existence for as long as we know. Initially,
the first musical instrument was the voice, and it is thought that songs
developed to accompany work and to put meaning into ritual. Gradually
percussive instruments were introduced to beat time to make work more
profitable and interesting.

Wind instruments, such as the blowing of sea shells and animal horns
were introduced later: first as signals and later, with the discovery of
how to change their pitch, into musical instruments.

In primitive society, with conflicts at one’s doorstep at all times, the
discovery that the taut string of a bow could make a sound when pressed
to a hollow, may have led to the discovery of the first string
instruments. Thus, from the world around them, humans discovered musical
instruments and with these new discoveries and further experimentation,
new tastes in music developed.

Musical instruments and the music they produce reflect the economic,
technical and cultural environment in which people lived and their
psychological makeup. Ukraine is rich in musical instruments and among
these instruments are folk instruments many of which cannot be found
anywhere else in the world. Some are variants that have gone through a
long process of change to adapt to their new environment.

The first written sources that mention musical instruments in Ukraine
date back to ancient Greek chronicles of the 6th century. Wandering Arab
scholars paid great attention to the musical instruments used in Rus’,
but it was not until the 19th century that investigative studies were
made into Ukrainian musical instruments. These included the publications
of Mykola Lysenko — the father of Modern Ukrainian music.

Later work was done by HYPERLINK «»
\l «khotkevych» Hnat Khotkevych, who in 1930 published his
then-controversial book «Musical Instruments of the Ukrainian People,»
which included a wealth of material on Ukrainian folk instruments. In
1967 Andriy Humeniuk published a similar book called «Ukrainian Folk
Instruments» which contained new material on some more recent
developments and discoveries. Another interesting recent addition is the
book «The Orchestra of Ukrainian Folk Instruments» by Perekop Ivanov
published in 1981 that contains many of the latest developments to
perfect Ukrainian folk instruments and to organize them into a
well-defined orchestral group. Musical instruments are generally
classified into several groups, each of which has specific subgroups,
depending on how sound is produced.

1. Chordophones [string]

Plucked Fricative Percussive

2. Aerophones [wind]

Labial [ flute-like] Glotophones (reed instruments) Mouthpiece

3. Membranophones


(i.) tuned

(ii.) untuned


Bandera, M. J. The Tsymbaly Maker and his craft CIUS (Edmonton,1994)

Bobrovnykov, Ye — Hraj Muzyko (Play musician) — (Kyiv, 1963)

Chymar, Ivan — Muzychni instrumenty — Muzej ukrayins’koyi kul’tury,
Svydnyk — Kataloh vystavky (Musical instruments — Museum of Ukrainian
culture in Svydnyk — Catalog) (Svydnyk, 1972)

Diakowsky, M.J. — The Bandura — in «The Ukrainian Trend». (1958, Vol. 9

Diakowsky, M.J. — Anyone can make a bandura …. I did in «The Ukrainian
Trend». (1955, Vol. 6 #4)

Haydamaka, L. — The Kobza-bandura — in «Guitar review» No 33 (Spring
N.Y. 1970)

Humeniuk, A. — Ukrainski narodni instrumenty (Ukrainian folk
instruments) — Naukova Dumka (Kyiv, 1967)

Humeniuk, A. — Instrumentalna muzyka (Instrumental music)(Seria:
Ukrainska narodna tvorcist) Naukova dumka (Kyiv, 1972)

Ivanov, Perekop — Muzyky z Podillia (Music from Podillia) (Kyiv,1972)

Ivanov, Perekop — Orkestr Ukrainskykh narodnykh instrumentiv (Orchestra
of Ukrainian folk instruments) (Kyiv, 1981)

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