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Thread: saz-syrnai (traditional Kazakh instrument)

  1. #1
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    Default saz-syrnai (traditional Kazakh instrument)

    My wife has this thing where she collects wind instruments or whistles from places she has been. She spent some time in Kazakhstan about a decade ago and came back with what looks like an ocarina but is in fact a "saz-syrnai," which is a traditional Kazakh instrument. Does anyone have any experience with them?

    The only resource we have found is this youtube video:



    By watching the video, we were able to work out a general principle behind fingering and worked out the following notes - Bb, C, D, Eb, E, F, and G. I think I can work out how to play an A as well, but we were tired and went to bed before we got there. Now I know that that's a Bb major scale, except for that damn natural E, which I can't work out the logic behind. Does Kazakh music use some weird scale or something?

    The other thing is that the finger placement that results in a Bb on ours seems to play an A in the Youtube video, is that guy's instrument playing in A?

    Anyway, any help would be appreciated.
    Last edited by robinboyd; 07-22-2019 at 02:44 PM.

  2. #2
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    Interesting. That's a new one, even for me. I'd say the E is just the flatted 5th, not a part of the base scale.
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Pelem, A, EJ45LP

    !Flukutronic!

  3. #3
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    You can see why it had us a bit stumped. We started out by googling "how to play the ocarina" and worked out pretty quickly that what we were holding was not an ocarina. I think I might tune one of my ukes to Bb tuning and see if we can play a duet with it.

  4. #4
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    I'd say it effectively is an ocarina, just with an unusual scale. I've seen ocarinas advertised in pentatonic minor, natural minor, major, "oriental" and others.
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Pelem, A, EJ45LP

    !Flukutronic!

  5. #5
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    Jan 2016
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    Well, I suppose it is in the ocarina class of instruments, but it was a bit tricky trying to work out the fingering of specific notes when it doesn't match any of the instruments that are usually called ocarinas.

  6. #6
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    I just sat down with my wife to try it again and the same fingerings yielded totally different notes this time. This is ridiculous.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill1 View Post
    You can change the pitch with your breathing. So if you have tuner and are trying to match a pitch to a fingering, you need to get your breath just right. Which would be hard if you don't know what the pitch is supposed to be.
    I suggest that you look up the fingering for a 6 hole ocarina and see if you can adjust your breath to get the pitches shown.
    One of the great things about using a wind instrument for teaching is that you can adjust the pitch while you are playing with your breath, great for ear training.
    Hi Bill,

    I can tell you that the fingering is very different from a standard 6-hole ocarina. That was the first thing we tried.

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