Alternate Name(s): Surnay,Mizmar,Sahnai
Geographic Region: West Asia
Country of origin: Turkey
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The zurna is a widely dispersed double-reed instrument known by a variety of names (surnay, mizmar, surla, sahnai) throughout the Muslim world and beyond. The instrument consists of a double-reed (not pictured above), held together by a metal bridle and inserted into a long cone-shaped body with finger holes. Some instruments feature additional parts, such as a disc-shaped mouthpiece or a fork inserted into the body to change the timbre. The zurna projects a loud, bright and raspy tone.
History and context
The zurna has a long history, is mentioned in the Quran, and seems to have diffused over a large area with the spread of Islam. The instrument appears in an assortment of contexts in many countries, but its powerful sound makes it particularly apt for outdoor performances, often linked to festive occasions or ceremonies, and frequently accompanied by drums. The two examples pictured above are from Turkey.
Christian Pochè and Razia Sultanova. “Surnāy.” In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online, http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/31073 (accessed May 20, 2010).
Last Modified: 03-Jun-2010TOP