Articles / Kantele


Subject / Ethnic culture

The kantele is a Baltic-Finnich stringed musical instrument played by plucking (in Finnish and Karelian - kantele, in Estonian - kannel). The similar instruments are known at Lithuanians' (kankles) and Latvians' (kokle). The kantele is like a wing-shaped (ringing) psaltery which were widespread at Russians on the North West of Russia. The kantele differs from the psaltery in lack of "stub wing" (a part of the psaltery which the hand of the musician leaned on when the instrument was in a half-inclined and upright position). The traditional kantele had five strings made of tendons. In the 20th century the kantele with 10, 12, 14, 16, 24 strings appeared. In the 1930s V.P.Gudkov, a Karelan folklorist, made a chromatic kantele having 36 strings which can be used for performing both folk and classical works. During playing the kantele is held on the knees in a horizontal or in a slightly inclined position. The strings are tweaked with fingers of the both hands. The kantele was used for the accompaniment by Karelian and Izhora singers of runes. The Izhora of Karelia had the kantele in their everyday life even in the 1920-30s. In Karelian and Finnish tradition the kantele gained symbolic significance : according "Kalavala" ("The Kalevala") (runes 40 - 44) the kantele is a magic instrument made by Vyainyamyoinen (Vainamoinen), one of the epic heros.

Chistyakov, Anton Yuryevich

Gudkov, Victor Panteleymonovich

Тынурист И.В. Где во гусли звонили (опыт картографирования народных музыкальных инструментов) // Этнографические исследования Северо-Запада СССР. Л., 1977., С.16-29

Subject Index
Izhora (Izhora men)

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