Balalaika – russian folk stringed musical instrument from 600-700 mm (balalaika prima) and up to 1.7 meters (balalaika-contrabass) long, with a triangular wooden body. Before converting to a balalaika concert instrument in the XIX century, balalaika did not have a permanent tuning. Each performer tuned the instrument according to his manner. There is also a "national" system – the first string "A", the second – "E", the third – "C." If this tuning easier triads are taken, it is a drawback of the game is hindered by the open strings. In today's orchestra of Russian folk instruments used five varieties balalaika: prima, second, alto, bass and contrabass. Of these only take a solo virtuoso instrument, and the others are fixed purely orchestral functions: second alto and implement chord accompaniment, and bass and bass – bass function.
It is possible that the emergence and evolution of the balalaika was a product of interaction with Asian-Oriental cultures. In addition to European culture, early Russian states, also called Rus' or Rusi, were also influenced by Oriental-Asian cultures. Some theories say that the instrument is descended from the domra, an instrument from the East Slavs. In the Caucasus, similar instruments such as the Mongolian topshur, used in Kalmykia, and the Panduri used in Georgia are played. It is also similar to the Kazakh dombra, which has two strings. The earliest mention of the term balalaika dates back to a 1688 Russian document. Another appearance of the word is registered in a document from Verkhotursky district of Russia, dated October 1700. It also mentioned in a document signed by Peter the Great dated 1714 regarding wedding celebrations of N.M. Zotov in Saint Petersburg. In Ukrainian language the word was first documented in the 18th century as "balabaika", this form is also present in South Russian dialects and Belorusian language, as well in Siberian Russia.
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