This is no “Kamanja”. In fact, the Arabic word kamanja is the name given to the violin, but this instrument we have here is called joze, which in Arabic means coconut. The reason is simple, it is because the soundbox of this instrument is made from a coconut shell. This instrument is open on both sides with one side covered with glued-on fish skin, that is found in Iraq.

This joze has four strings (traditionally tuned in perfect 4ths), that are attached to the tuning pegs in an open pegbox at the top.  The strings pass over a floating bridge (ghazala) on the fish skin and are attached to a metal plate that is part of the post/spike at the bottom.  The post/spike that is attached to the wooden neck, passes through the coconut shell and serves as an extended type of foot.

The joze is used in a tradition called the Iraqi Maqam, a musical tradition that is exclusively used in Iraq. While the Iraqi Maqam is a vocal tradition and is sometimes performed ‘Acappella’ (no instrumental accompaniment), the joze, santur (dulcimer), daf (tambourine), and doumbek (goblet drum) are sometimes used to accompany the maqam singer.   This traditional instrumental group is called chalghi baghdadi.



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