L to R: panduri, chonguri, chonguri, chunir, panduri. At top, a doli (drum).
The chonguri is a long, four-stringed, fretless lute that can be plucked or strummed. The highest string is an unfingered half-length drone string. The chonguri in its present form emerged around the middle of the eighteenth century in the region of Samegrelo; its use has long since spread to the rest of western Georgia. Like the other Georgian string instruments, the chonguri is chiefly used as support for vocal music, though some virtuoso solo pieces exist.
Malkhaz Erkvanidze (with members of the
Anchiskhati Choir) playing the chonguri
The panduri is a strummed three-stringed fretted lute from eastern Georgia. The characteristic flat-fifth tuning of the panduri is the result of frets that divide the octave into seven roughly equal steps, producing a low major second, a high minor third, and a high fourth, all of which are consistent with quintave scales, but also a low fifth, (The fifths can be, and often are, slightly improved at the expense of the unisons between strings.) For both the Anchiskhati Choir and Trio Kavkasia, the panduri offers the closest concrete analogue to our tuning model.
members of the Rustavi Ensemble playing
a bass panduri and a panduri
The chunir is a three-stringed fretless viol, skin-faced and open-backed, about the size of a banjo but bowed like a cello — except that the bridge is flat, so all three strings are always heard. Unlike the panduri and the chonguri, which are used throughout eastern and western Georgia respectively, the chunir belongs exclusively to the music of the northwestern mountains.
A chunir and a changi (harp) played by members of
the Pirtskhelani family ensemble of Latal, Svaneti.
girls of the children's choir of Mestia, in Svaneti,
with many panduris and one chunir
Continue to Georgian tuning