The Tamburitza [ˈtamburitsa] (Croatian and Serbian: Tamburica, meaning Little Tambura), is a string instrument popular in the traditional folk music of Croatia (especially Slavonia) and northern Serbia (Vojvodina). It is also known in parts of southernmost Slovenia.
Strings and tuningThe number of strings on tamburica varies, and it can have single or double strings. Double strings are tuned unisonically.
The basic forms of tamburitza are samica (three double strings), bisernica (two double strings and two single strings; four tones), prim (one double string and three single strings; four tones), bas-prim or brač (two double strings and two single strings; four tones), čelović (two double strings and two single strings; four tones), čelo (four strings), bas or berda (four strings), and the bugarija or kontra (one double string and three single strings; four tones). The names and method of playing can depend on the tuning of the strings.
Composers and ensemblesTamburitza orchestra can have various formats, from a tercet to a large orchestra. A basic tercet consists of a prim, a kontra and a čelo. Larger orchestras also have bas-prims and bass-prim-terc tamburas.
The first major composer for the tamburitza was Pajo Kolarić, who formed the first amateur tamburitza orchestra in Osijek in 1847. Kolarić's student, Mijo Majer, formed the first tamburitzan choir led by a conductor, the "Hrvatska Lira" in 1882. These orchestras soon spread to what is now Bosnia, Austria, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Croatian composers for the tamburitza include Siniša Leopold and Julije Njikoš. The instrument has long been a symbol of the Croatian identity, and is associated with nationalism. The first Croat to study his people's folk music was Franjo Ksaver Kuhač. He was followed by Vinko Žganec, an associate of Béla Bartók's, who collected more than 19,000 Croatian folk songs.
Serbia and Montenegro, most notably Vojvodina, also have a long-standing tradition of tamburitza. The famous Grand tamburitza orchestra of Radio Novi Sad was founded in 1951 under the leadership of Sava Vukosavljev, who composed and arranged many pieces for tamburica orchestra, and published a comprehensive book “Vojvođanska tambura” (Tambura of Vojvodina). There are also orchestras of Radio Belgrade and Radio Podgorica, Radio Kikinda etc. Janika Balázs, who was also the member of the Radio Novi Sad orchestra, also had his famous 8-men band and was the most popular performer of the 20th century and his name became a synonym for tamburitza music.
Famous Tamburitza orchestra from Serbia include: Orchestras of Maksa Popov, Orchestra of Aleksandar Aranicki and others.
In United States there is long tradition of tamburitza. Famous orchestras include Popovich Brothers', orchestra of Mel Dokich, Martin Kapugi, and others.
tamburitza in Bosnian: Tamburica
tamburitza in German: Tamburica
tamburitza in Croatian: Tambura
tamburitza in Hungarian: Tambura
tamburitza in Finnish: Tamburitza