Guitar & zongora

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Zongora and guitar region map

Maramures musicians

Oaş musicians

In Oltenia the cobza has been replaced by an adapted guitar which has fewer strings and is tuned similar to the cobza.

A version used in Maramures and Oas is known as the zongora. This has a reduced number of strings, two when Bartok visited the area, later increased to three, and now more often strung with thicker strings at the top and bottom.

The instrument is often held vertically when played. The string layout is compressed to the central inch of the fingerboard to allow rapid rhythmical strumming. Originally only a few chord changes were used, but nowadays more interesting chord structures are used by younger musicians.

Zongora is also the name for the "piano" in Hungary.  The origin of the name zongora would be interesting to know.


Alexandru, T (1980), Romanian folk music, Musical publishing house, Bucharest


© Eliznik2005, First issue 2002, Last updated Mar-07