The Tar: Azerbaijan's musical heritage

The Tar: Azerbaijan's musical heritage
By Euronews
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Believed by some to be Azerbaijan's national instrument, the tar has been around for centuries.


When silent it’s a figure of 8: when played it symbolises infinity. It’s called a “tar”; it comes from the same family as the lute; and its double heart is linked to millions of others.

For euronews, Aurora Velez#! reports that, with its 11 strings, the Azeri tar’s musical range makes it the most popular instrument in the Caucasus. She learnt more about it from an Azeri specialist instrument-maker.

Key facts about Azerbaijan

  • Azerbaijan is a country in the South Caucasus region, between Southwest Asia and Southeastern Europe.
  • The Azerbaijan Republic declared its independence in 1918 before being incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920. The modern republic declared its independence in 1991.
  • Its capital city is Baku
  • With a population of nearly 10 million, it covers an area of 86,600 square kilometres.

Mahir Valadov told her:

We use three types of wood for the tar: walnut for the neck, and hazel for the pegs, mulberry for the body, which is coated in a material made from cows’ heart.> The #azeri#Tar with 11 strings is the most popular #traditional#instrument in the #Caucasus. I interviewed Master Mahir Malavov in

— Aurora Velez (@goizlyon) June 30, 2017

Tars are made solely by hand, using specific techniques, often passed down through generations of the same families.

Formerly they had just five or six strings: by the nineteenth century they had 11.

Five years’ ago, the art of making and playing the tar was added to UNESCO’s representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity

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