String Instruments

An Introduction to the Tanbur: The Instrument of the Kurdish People


If you’ve never heard of the tanbur, you’re in for a treat. The tanbur is a long-necked stringed instrument that has been around for centuries. It’s most commonly associated with the Kurdish people, who have used it in their traditional music for generations. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the tanbur and its role in Kurdish music.

What is a Tanbur?

The tanbur is a type of lute that has a long, thin neck and a pear-shaped body. It has three strings, which are often made of animal gut, silk, or synthetic materials. These strings are played with a plectrum or with the fingers of the right hand, while the left hand presses down on the frets to change the pitch.

The History of the Tanbur and The Role of the Tanbur in Kurdish Music

The exact origins of the tanbur are unknown, but it is believed to have originated in Mesopotamia thousands of years ago. Over time, it spread throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, where it became an integral part of traditional music. The tanbur is an important instrument in Kurdish music, where it is often used to accompany singers or as a solo instrument. It is also used in religious ceremonies and is associated with Sufi music. In recent years, the tanbur has gained popularity outside of Kurdistan, thanks in part to the efforts of musicians like Ali Akbar Moradi, who has collaborated with Western musicians like Bill Laswell and Nigel Kennedy.

Boma Music and the Tanbur

At Boma Music, we are committed to promoting and preserving traditional music from around the world, including Kurdish music. We offer a variety of albums that feature the tanbur, including “The Art of the Tanbur” by Ali Akbar Moradi, which was nominated for a Grammy in 2007.


The tanbur is a beautiful and unique instrument that has played an important role in the music of the Kurdish people for centuries. Its warm, rich sound has captivated audiences around the world, and it continues to inspire musicians and fans alike. If you’re interested in learning more about the tanbur or Kurdish music, check out some of the albums available at Boma Music.

You may also be interested in: Tanbur

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *