|Opus 92 - Bouzouki|
he bouzouki is the instrument par excellence of traditional Greek music. In the early twentieth century, it was associated with the underworld and was consequently banned by the authorities; some musicians were even persecuted. In the 1930s, however, it regained public favour through sound recordings and film scores, which made it known the world over.
The bouzouki that is played today has usually been adapted for Western music. The traditional instrument underwent changes similar to those made to the guitar and the mandolin, acquiring metal frets, machine heads, and four courses of strings. In fact, the bouzouki is a long-necked lute played with a plectrum. The body, with its rounded back, is lined inside with a thin metal sheet that gives the instrument its characteristic timbre. The strings are the same length as those of a guitar.
The body of the instrument shown here is made of walnut and strips of ash, and the soundboard is made of spruce. It is decorated with black plastic and imitation mother-of-pearl.
Constantin Tingas was born of Greek parents in Trois-Rivières, Quebec. At a very early age, he moved to Greece, where he lived until the age of fifteen. After learning the basics of the luthier's craft from his grandfather, Tingas studied for a year and a half at the international school of stringed-instrument making in Verona, Italy. He worked for several months in the workshops of the famous Parisian guitar maker Robert Bouchet. Upon his return to Canada at the age of twenty-three, he abandoned instrument making in order to study aeronautical engineering in Toronto. In 1971, Constantin Tingas resumed instrument making and opened a workshop, where he has built many violins, violas, violoncellos, guitars and traditional Greek instruments, such as the bouzouki, the baglama, the tzouras and the laouto (or Greek lute).