Kanoun - (also 'quanun') zither/psaltery of the Middle East.
It has 72 stringed harp of the Near East.
Qanoun - Arabic dulcimer.
Zither - the family name of all instruments, which have strings, stretched across a box.
Popular in central Europe, In addition to the melody strings, the Concert Zither
has a guitar type fret board (similar to the epinette des oyages), and other models
have strings grouped together in chords."
The history of this instrument is a little ambiguous and there are many
assumptions about its origins. Apparently, this instrument was first born
in the Middle East by an Arabic philosopher named "Al Farabi"; he was working
on the invention of a musical instrument but there was no sound coming out from it.
So he got frustrated and threw it in his basement. Meanwhile, mouse and rats
living down there had a field trip chewing through its wood. When al Farabi
went downstairs and saw the holes in his instrument, he picked it up and moved
his fingers around on the chords. Suddenly, the most heavenly music was born.
He started playing and very soon entertained everyone in the city.
Apparently, he could make all of them fall asleep by simply playing it, could
make them laugh or cry, he enchanted them all.
No one is sure who gave this instrument its name but, eventually, it was
called "Kanoun". The entire Arab world started using it and very soon the Turks
playing and modernized it at the same time. However, the instrument made its way
trough Europe, specifically Greece, Armenia, Romania and then, all Eastern Europe.
The Kanoun is made of wood, fish skin, nylon chords and metal keys.
Those keys' function is the tuning, one of added features of the instrument by the Turks.
In the beginning, tuning and changing from gamut to another was made by pressing
the fingers down the chords. The adjustments made by the Turks facilitate the tuning
process that alters the pitch of individual strings by eighth and quartertones:
the tones lying between two chromatic semitones.
This typical form is used these days and the number of keys is the only
difference between the Arabic and the Turkish Kanoun. Hence, the Arabic one has
five keys and the Turkish has up to eight.
Its shape, form and sound resemble to the Harp.
The usage of this instrument is limited for the oriental music such that
its popularity is in the Arab world, Turkey, Persia and Eastern Europe.
It belongs to the oriental chamber orchestra (Takht al charki) and it could
be also used in the oxidant but unfortunately it is still unfamiliar to the
Up to eight years of practicing and following a conservatory program
are needed to learn how to play this instrument.
The kanoun is a very old instrument, which comes from Asia. The instrument
rests on the knees while the fingers, clad in picks, pluck the strings individually.
In the twentieth century, the Turks improved the design by adding tuning
keys to alter the pitch of individual strings by eighth or quartertones,
thus facilitating transposition.