Беларуская версія
Русская версия
Wersja polska

Gusli for sale

About the maker and the workshop. My name is Ales Chumakou. I'm 25 years old with the last 5 of them spent making gusli, learning the history of the instrument, Belarusian and international theory and practice of making and playing.

My teacher is Zmicer Sasnouski, a manager of the band of medieval music STARY OLSA, a musician, a historian, one of a very small number of apprentices of a famous Latvian music instruments maker Donats Vucins. Vucins is a very legendary person. He provided the whole Latvia with kokles - Latvian kanteles. But he almost had no apprentices. Zmicer was a very lucky man that Donats agreed to teach him. Zmicer do not making instruments now. He only handed lessons of Donats Vucins to me. So I'm glad to proceed with the live tradition of Latgalia Region (the Eastern Latvia and Nothern Belarus).

I made the sufficient number of instruments with the managing of Zmicer and now I'm making traditional gusli, kokle and kantele. To make instruments closer to tradition I communicated with the makers from Russian, Estonia, Lithuania, Ukraine and US. So I learned plenty things from them.

Since the last year I attached two more professional makers to this project. And now, as far as I know, we are the only workshop who engaged in making made-to-order gusli and kantele in Belarus.

How could you order an instrument? We can build gusli of any type you could ever find on the pages of this site. While making an appraisal of my work I look is ordered instrument traditional or no (it is very important to me to keep on the Tradition).

Photoes and description of some works of mine

Kantele with 10 coupled strings. This instrument imbibed features of kantele, kokle and kankles at the same time. In addition to this it has coupled strings (late gusli tradition of zither origin). There are 5 pairs of strings. Gusli with coupled strings are known in tradition of various countries in XIX-XX centuries. The sound of this instrument is very folklore, very ethnographic. It is rather impossible that so little instrument can jingle and buzz so loud. Listen please to its remarkable sound.

Body is made from spruce. Pins is made from oak. It has steel strings with no winding.

7-stringed gusli with the wing. This instrument was made with the elements of tradition of Viciebsk Region (based on E.Romanov's collection). In Latgalia tradition the wind of such form rarely could be found through the plenty variants of other wings and the main variant that we used to.

Body is made from spruce. Pins is made from oak. It has steel strings with no winding.

Tuning: c1, d1, e1(eb1), f1, g1, a1(ab1), c2.

The wattled folk belt is used for playing upright. This is also the part of a tradition.

9-stringed lyre type gusli (gusli with the playing window). There is one more instrument Novgorodian archeological finds based. This shape dated back to the XIII century.

The number and position of resonator holes is my hypothetic contribution to the instruments reconstruction. This variant of holes is chosen based on known not so early traditional folklore analogues. But I should pay your attention that resonator board was not found so possibly that it had no resonator holes at all. As an experiment, I made 3 equal gusli that has different number and position of resonator holes: 1) without holes, 2) with one hole 4 millimetres in diameter, 3) with one central hole (6 millimetres) and 8 equidistant holes (4 millimetres) - this instrument.

As a result of an operation I claim that this instrument (the 3rd variant) is the loudest. It has the most notable timbre. You may listen to its sound. It may well be that contrary to prevailing opinion lyre type gusli had resonator holes nevertheless.

13-stringed kantele. The chances of this type of gusli being in Belarus described in books of N.Privalov. These gusli have no wing element. It is the main difference from wing-like gusli (gusli with the wing). This the most widespread shape of an instrument in Baltic Region with various numbers of strings.

As an experiment I made this instrument from birch. The obtained kantele is rather heavy and massive... with interesting timbre. The only problem is how to tune it. Too many strings for me... I decided to make 4 drones. Listen to it.

Some more photoes of my works

Contact e-mail:

Ales Chumakou. Minsk. 2006.

Rating All.BY Находится в каталоге Апорт

Contact e-mail:
You could learn some more facts about music of Belarusian Medieval
while visiting the web-site of Belarusian band
"Stary Olsa":

Hosted by uCoz