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Nina Koksunova, Legend About Dombra

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Terbish, Baasanjav 
Churyumova, Elvira 


Nina briefly explains the structure of the dombra and relays a legend about this instrument. She says: Kalmyks are very talented and skillful people. In the past Kalmyks taught their daughters how to bake pastry, play the dombra and dance. This is a Kalmyk national instrument – the dombra consists of the following parts: the back, the handle, the head, 2 strings, a tevk (substring bridge). The strings are made from sheep’s intestines. First, the intestines are kept for several hours in a salty solution, then dried in the sun and cleaned. There is a legend about the dombra. Once upon a time there lived a khan. He had a son who loved hunting. One day during a bear hunt the son dies. At the royal tent, worried about his son not showing up, the khan sends his messengers to his son, warning them that anybody who brings bad news will die a horrible death by having hot lead poured into their throat. The messengers are horrified: ‘How to tell the khan about the death of his only son?’ A young man comes with an idea: he takes a dombra into his hands and relays the bad news to the khan through melody. In grief, the khan pours hot lead onto the dombra. That is why there is a hole on this instrument.



Musical instruments, dombra, legend

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Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.