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The çifteli (çiftelia, qifteli, Albanian: "doubled" or "double stringed") is a plucked string instrument, with only two strings, played mainly by the Gheg people of northern and central Albania and Kosovo.[1]

The çifteli is frequently used by Albanians in weddings, at concerts, and by many musicians such as Nikollë Nikprelaj. It is also used to accompany Albanian epics and ballads.[2]


Çifteli vary in size, but are most often tuned to B3 and E3 (the same as the top two strings of a guitar). Usually the lower string is played as a drone, with the melody played on the higher string.[3] The çifteli is a fretted instrument, but unlike most it is not fretted in a chromatic scale (one fret per semitone), but in the diatonic scale with seven notes to the octave.[citation needed]


The term çifteli comes from the Albanian language: çift ("double") and tel ("string").[1][4]


[5] [6] The instrument in its modern form is no longer played in Central Asia or Anatolia, but historically Turkic peoples played an instrument known as the ıklığ,[7] also meaning "two string" (iki meaning "two" and lik "-ness").

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Koço, Eno (2004). Albanian Urban Lyric Song in the 1930s. Europea: Ethnomusicologies and Modernities 2. Scarecrow Press. p. 265. ISBN 9780810848900. 
  2. ^ Sherer, Stan; Senechal, Marjorie (1997). Long Life to Your Children!: A Portrait of High Albania. University of Massachusetts Press. p. 19. 
  3. ^ Broughton, Simon; Ellingham, Mark; Trillo, Richard (1999). World Music: Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Rough Guides. p. 2. ISBN 9781858286358. 
  4. ^ Elsie, Robert (2010). Historical Dictionary of Albania (2nd ed.). Scarecrow Press. p. 83. ISBN 9780810873803. 
  5. ^ Dunford, Martin; Holland, Jack (1990). The Real guide: Yugoslavia. Prentice Hall. p. 421. ISBN 9780137838387. 
  6. ^ Gall, Timothy L. (2009). Worldmark Encyclopedia of Cultures and Daily Life: Europe. Gale. p. 268. ISBN 9781414464305. 
  7. ^ Gazimihal, Mahmut R. (1975). Ülkelerde kopuz ve tezeneli sazlarımız. Millı̂ Folklor Araştırma Dairesi yayınları 15. Ankara Üniversitesi Basımevi. p. 66.