The Kamanchy
This instrument is part of the generic class of spike fiddles,that is those having a metal
spike extending from the bottom of the sound chest,like the western cello. The spike of
the kamanchey is not sharp but is tipped with a falt metal plate which the playerrests
on his thigh,or on his calf when he is seated on the ground .The spike is attached to
this plate in such a manner that the instrument can be rotated slightly while playing. a
modern kamanchay has four strings,it is tuned like the violin,provincial kamanchay-ha
have fewer strings and different tunings. The body is a hemisphere made of wood
,usually of wooden strips glued together,with a round face,covered with a sheepskin
membrane. The neck,which has no frets,is glued to the body. The instrument is about
the size of the western viola. The top end of the neck and the body are often highly
decorated. The name kamanchay comes from word for bow,kaman,kamanchy being
the diminutive form. The word kamanchy was used as early as twelfth century in a
poem. Frequently represented miniatures of the safave period, the kamanchy is also
included in the wall painting of Chehel Sotun. Until that fateful day when the violin
came to .during the reign of Mozaffar ed Din shah  the kamanchey was one of the
principal instrument . But from the time on ,the days of the kamanchy were numbered:
players soon discovered that they could produce a more delicate tone and play more
difficult passages on the western instrument than on the kamanchy. Today ,while the
instrument is still widely played in the provinces,there are few kamanchy players in iran
theory of music