The bouzouki is a string instrument in the same family as the mandolin and lute. It is a mainstay of modern Greek music and was brought to Greece by immigrants fleeing Asia Minor after the 1919-1922 war. The Irish bouzouki is based on the Greek instrument, and has been popular in traditional Irish folk music since the 1960s. It’s a simple yet beautiful instrument. The flat fronted body is often inlaid with elaborate mother-of-pearl designs.
The instrument is played with a plectrum, a small flat tool used for plucking or strumming. A plectrum is similar to a guitar pick, and is held in the player’s hand. The bouzouki’s sharp metallic sound is reminiscent of a mandolin, but pitched a bit lower. There are two main types: trichordo, with three pairs of strings (known as courses), and tetrachordo, with four pairs of strings.
Related musical string instruments include baglamas (saz), Byzantine lyra, pandura, and tambouras.
More Bouzouki Facts
A person who performs on this string instrument is called a bouzoukist.
Notable bouzoukists include Andreas Karantinis, Ioannis Papaioannou, Michalis Terzis, Vasilis Tsitsanis, and Márkos Vamvakáris.
Man from the Island of Serifos
Jean Baptiste Vanmour
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Solo by Andreas Karantinis
AKTINA’s Greek Music Journey featured Greek singer Melina Aslanidou with Andreas Karantinis on the bouzouki. The concert was held at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College in Manhattan on June 6, 2013 in honor of AKTINA FM Radio’s 20th year anniversary.
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Keep an eye on this automatically updating gallery of bouzoukis and accessories available on eBay. Find bargains on all kinds of stringed instruments including bouzoukis.