The Tam/nbo/u.ras Problem or: please help with indoeuropean stringed instrument family

hi, I was going to add so therefore I did some research.
turns out it’s a convoluted mess and very many instruments are called “tamboura” “tam/nbor” or similar.

I matched instruments on the linked page with the ones I found on Tamburica - Wikipedia
however it became clear that “tamburica” is the general term for this balcanian string orchestra while reading ATLAS of Plucked Instruments - Europe East
The instruments we already have on mb is a big mess, is the biggest reason I made this community post, since I believe we should split this out to the instruments I will be creating, @wonder_al and @sparkinson you’ve added this to several recordings with instrument credits of the aforementioned, would you be interested in helping me move those instruments over when I’ve created those? (if not it’s just one page so I can probably do them myself) there are a couple however without a credit, I don’t know what they are.

Tambura (instrument) - Wikipedia seems to be talking about the generic instrument played in the balkan, while Tamburica - Wikipedia talks about the instruments in the tamburica orchestra

Our “tambura” doesn’t really have much disambiguation String instrument “tambura” - MusicBrainz
and I suspect it’s been misused for all sorts of unrelated tambour instruments, in it’s day, nikkibot had added aliases to it that are the one listed on Tamburica - Wikipedia not the ones on Tambura (instrument) - Wikipedia (which given the confusion of these you can’t really blame on anyone.)
Our tambura has also been used for the Indian Tanpura: which should probably be moved to String instrument “tanbur” - MusicBrainz ?

There is also the related instrument tabouras, that’s also called taboura, tambouras or saz, it’s related to the turkish saz/baglama and an ancestor of the bouzouki. ATLAS of Plucked Instruments - Europe South
Furthermore there is the other “Tanbur”: Tanbur - Wikipedia
all of these are related to each other, and I’d love other people’s input so we can together untangle these if possible.


Wikipedia’s Tambura seems to talk one of the Tambouritza’s, how is it related and with our “tamboura” that’s a mess of other instruments (see above)

Anyone have any ideas, please discuss, also @reosarevok ping :​P

edit: seems esperanto wikipedia has a comprehensive list Tamburao - Vikipedio


MusicBrainz seems to miss the Indian tanpura which is an easily distinguishable drone instrument (used to accompany sitar for raga). I don’t know its exact relationship to the tanbur/tamboura MB already holds. Indian tanpura actually is related to Indian sitar which is a descendant of Persian setar which is a descendant of Khorasan tunbūr.

I thought that tambouritza designated higher-register tamboura rather than orchestra. Orchestra could not fit an instrument entity. It certainly lacks a disambiguation comment.


Some can be guessed based on the type of music (Indian, Balkan, Turkish, etc). The whole tanbura instrument chain should probably be rearranged somehow. It doesn’t help that each one seems to have dozens of spellings.

For a major headache:
History and evolution of the lute
More info:
Stringed instrument database - T

I’ll try to figure some more out when I get home tomorrow or Saturday.


[quote=“Yvanz, post:2, topic:189880”]
I thought that tambouritza designated higher-register tamboura rather than orchestra.[/quote]

it seems File:Prim tambura.png - Wikipedia mentions that the prima is called this in Slavonic Croatian, so I added that as an alias for our bisernica

[quote=“wonder_al, post:3, topic:189880”]
More info: Stringed instrument database - T[/quote]
heh, I thought I’d already linked that, but it seems I missed it, thank you. I look forward to seeing what you can figure out :​)

Going by Hornbostel–Sachs they seem to fall under “necked bowl lutes”

Category:Necked bowl lutes
List of musical instruments by Hornbostel-Sachs number: 321.321

I’m not really sure how they should be sorted. So many different instruments have descended from the “orginal” tanbur, it looks impossible to sort.

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