One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A long-necked lute or mandolin of Balkan countries.
- ‘This astonishing London-based band have fiddles, accordion, trumpet, flute, tambura, guitar and oodles of musical ability and rhythmic energy.’
- ‘The tambura, a pear-shaped stringed instrument, is similar to the Bulgarian gadulka, and has been compared in tone to the American banjo.’
- ‘This is a compilation of insane rhythms, twisting harmonies, and beguiling colours: the plucked zither-like tambura, the gipsy cimbalom, the dark clarinet-like tárogáto.’
- ‘It is played on instruments that include the gaida, kaval (seven-hole reed pipe), gadulka (pear-shaped fiddle), tambura (fretted lute), and tupan (cylindrical drum).’
- ‘Overall, however, the sound is distinctive thanks to a bold, and highly successful, effort to include traditional Balkan folk instruments, such as the tupan or the tamboura.’
2A large four-stringed lute used in Indian music as a drone accompaniment.
- ‘The only musical instrument he uses is the tambura (a simple stringed instrument), and this only to provide sruti (a drone sound furnishing a basic tonality).’
- ‘In the shadows behind him, an exquisitely dressed lady gracefully positions herself with a tambura (a stringed instrument) and begins strumming a drone.’
- ‘Facial make-up, mehendi and impressive costumes enhance the expressive powers of classical dancers, as they unravel a tale of folklore and mythology to the accompaniment of sitar, flute, harmonium, tabla and tambura.’
- ‘She had her guru's blessings in Lakshmi and Saraswati, the tamburas flanking her on the stage, his gifts.’
- ‘She uses the oud (a Middle Eastern lute) and the tamboura (an Indian guitar) which speak to her unique personality and creativity.’
Late 16th century (denoting a type of long-necked lute): from Arabic ṭanbūr or Persian tunbūra, both from Persian dunbara, literally ‘lamb's tail’.
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