The Lavta is an instrument at the crossroads two traditions. It is similar to the Eastern Oud by its shape and its lute-making, and the fact that its neck is fretted makes it an instrument close to the Western Lute. Before the 19th century, Lavta was considered a minor instrument, used for the rhythm accompaniment of the kemençe, in popular music orchestras, called kökçekçe, which played for dancers dressed as women. In the XIXth and the beginning of the XXth century, very popular with the Greek and Armenian communities, it became an instrument of Ottoman Classical Music, played by musicians as prestigious as Cemil Bey, or Jorgos Bacanos. Lavta has become very popular since the 1980s, and many Greek and Turkish luthiers offer magnificent instruments.

Playing technique

With the right hand, the lavta is played like an oud, with a plectrum. The left hand technique is closer to the tanbur game.


The numerous frets of Lavta allow you to play the micro-intervals of Ottoman Music, but also the temperate range of Western Music. His repertoire is therefore varied and rich, and there are many recordings by great masters.


The base of the construction of a Lavta is the same as that of an Oud: a rounded body in curved wooden strips and a soundboard furnished with one to three rosettes. By cons Lavta has only 4 strings, the first 3 of which are doubled. It is also distinguished from the Oud by the addition of frets on the handle.


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