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April 5, 2011 14:57

Kalyuka (koluka) – a Russian overtone flute - is one of the traditional folk Russian music instruments. It is a hollow tube lacking playing holes is played following the same principles as the overtone flute.

Kalyuka produces notes from a natural scale, while the missing notes can be added with voice, imitating the sharp and hoarse sound of the instrument. Kalyuka is a rhythmic rather than melodic instrument; it helps musicians to strengthen the rhythm of a song or a dance. As there is no stopper in the upper end of the tube, though there is a fipple, a player has to help regulate blowing by means of a lower lip and a tongue.

Kalyukas were traditionally made of dried stalks of hollow umbellate plants, such as Motherwort, Angelica, Hogweed, and the like. Nowadays Kalyukas can also be made of PVC. The size of the instrument varies from 30 to 80 cm long and depends on the height of a player. A player defines the length of a tube “by the arm” – it had to fit in from a shoulder to the finger-tips of an outstretched arm. In general, the length is considered sufficient if a player can close the bottom hole of Kalyuka with a hand or fingers. The inner diameter of the pipe varies from 15 to 25 mm.

Kalyukas were mainly played by peasant men when returning after haymaking, when having rest, or on holidays to the accompaniment of a scythe, tapping rhythmic patterns on it to enliven dancing or fervent chastushkas (improvised humorous rhymes). Haymakers-musicians could make entire orchestras.

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Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Russian Music Instruments     

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