The dutar is a two string pear-shaped long-necked lute from western China, played by the Uighur and Uzbek people of Xinjiang Province. Although western ethnomusicologists state that these instruments came from the Persian dutar or dotar (originally a two-string instrument but now with four strings), the Uighur people say that the Persian instrument descended from theirs. In Persian, the term dutar or dotar means two strings with "do or du" meaning two, and "tar" meaning string. It is interesting to note the number of instrument names that contain the term "tar", eg.. sitar (comes from the Persian setar or "four strings") and the guitar. The term "tar" also has an Arabic root meaning "drum".
The Uighur dutar has two gut or raw silk strings, and gut frets. It comes in a number of sizes ranging from 1 to 3 metres (3 to 6 feet) in length. It is used to accompany singing and dancing and also can be an instrument of virtuosity.
|© R. Raine-Reusch, May 2002|