Ancient Music

The Octavina


    This instrument came to me in payment for another job and for years I was unable to define exactly what it was. It carries fourteen strings (look at the length of the tuning head) on a rather small body (34" overall). The strings are in six courses having 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, and 1 strings per course respectively.The tuning of each course is a forth below its neighbor which makes for some odd chord finger patterns. It comes from the spanish occupation of the Philippine Islands from an ancestor called the Bandurria. It is basicly a guitar shaped Laud.

    My gratitude goes out to Henny de Bruin not only for helping me identify it but also for her massive work in the "Atlas of Plucked Instruments" (see the Articles and Resources page.)

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