Folklore Instruments from Ukraine

by Dimo Dimov

Interest in traditional folk instruments is growing, not only in the Ukraine but also in the West. This movement which started almost a hundred years ago as an offshoot of romanticism has been a valueable tool in defining national identity and in developing a better understanding of cultural attributes of each nation.

Music has accompained human existence for as long as we know. Initially, the first musical instrument was the voice, and it is thought that songs developed to accompany work and to put meaning into rituals. Gradually percussive instruments were introduced.

Wind instruments, such as the blowing of sea shells and animal horns were introduced later: first as signals and later with the discovery how to change their pitch, into musical instruments.

Svarga is presenting a list of folklore instruments which are still used by modern and traditional folk ensambles, as well as in popular ukrainian music.

  • Plucked Instruments


Kobza (7 strings; analogue in West Europe: Lute)


This instrument was widely used in the late
renaissance and barock and was the
predecessor of the Bandura -
a cossack and aristocratic instrument
with two pegboxes,
and a second set of bass strings;
30 strings in total;
It is plucked with both hands while sitting.


The Bandura differed from the Kobza in that, it had no frets along the neck and the major playing was done on treble strings which were placed to one side of the strings across the neck. The number of the strings differs from 24 to 43 and depends on the various types of this instrument like Kiev Bandura, Charkiv Bandura or Classic Bandura.

  • Fricative Instruments


Fiddle (Skrypka)


One of the most ancient bowed string instruments of the Slavs is the hudok. It has 3 strings and is played with a small bow. Only fullfilled accompainment through gathering different instruments. For instance: a combination with the Basolia and Bandura.

Basolia (cello)


Byjkoza; Bowed and percussive - Wooden pole joined to a drum at one end ith a cymbal on the top. The drum membrane acts as the soundboard for one or 2 strings strung from the end of the pole to the end of the drum.

Tsymbaly (Hammer dulcimer)

  • Wind instruments
The Ukrainian wooden whistles, pipes and flutes are passing through the whole musical scale and differ from each other through their sizes. The list is in an ascending order, with the instruments becoming lower and lower.

The ukrainian bagpipes are made of goat skin and adorned with folkloristic ornaments.
Some of them carry goat horns or a goat head.


Whistle [Svystun]

Zozulka [Ocarina]

Sopilka [Frilka]

Dentsivka [Dudka, Sopilka]




Trembita [alpine horn]

Jaw Harp

Bagpipes [Volynka, Duda, Koza]

1 Kommentar:

  1. Where did you dfind information about "husli"? :)
    It's not ukrainian instrument, it's from north of Rus, it has the same origin swith other string instruments from eastern baltic region: kankles and kokle, finnish kantele and estonian kannel.