Instruments | String Drum | Percussion

String drums are simple string instruments that are struck in a technique similar to playing the violin col legno (literally ‘with the wood’) or battuta (measuring time by beating). They are traditional instruments of Hungary and the Balkans.

Ttun ttun

The ttun ttun is a Basque instrument constructed from a tapered hollow wooden case that is 11 cm (4 in) wide at the top, 20 cm (8 in) wide at the bottom, and 80 cm (32 in) long, with six strings stretched the length of the case. The performer holds the case vertically in the crook of the arm, and strikes the strings with a wooden beater. The performer may play ttun ttun together with the txistu, a three-holed end-blown wooden pipe, holding both the txistu and the ttun ttun with the left hand, with the stick in the right hand. Two of the strings of the ttun ttun are tuned to the same pitch as the main note of the txistu, and the other strings are tuned a perfect fifth below.


The gardon or percussive cello (ütögardon) is played in Hungary and the Balkans. It is a rough wooden box shaped like a cello with four strings, all tuned to the same pitch. Three of the strings are beaten with a stick and the fourth is plucked vigorously so that it recoils on the finger board. The gardon sounds like a deep drum, and accompanies the violin in dance music.

Introduction | Percussion Instruments
Instruments | Slit Drum | Percussion

Source: The Illustrated Complete Musical Instruments Handbook, general editor Lucien Jenkins


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