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Hutsul - Ivano-Frankivsk region.jpg
A Ukrainian highlander playing the trembita
Hornbostel–Sachs classification423.121-12
Playing range
Related instruments

The trembita or trombita (from the old Germanic trumba, "to trumpet") is an alpine horn made of wood. It is common among Ukrainian highlanders Hutsuls who live in western Ukraine, eastern Poland, Slovakia, and northern Romania. In southern Poland it's called trombita, bazuna in the north, and ligawka in central Poland.


Five trembitas in a museum

Used primarily by mountain dwellers known as Hutsuls and Gorals in the Carpathians, it was used as a signaling device to announce deaths, funerals, weddings.

The tube is made from a long straight piece of pine or spruce (preferably one that has been struck by lightning) which is split in two in order to carve out the core. The halves are once again joined together and then wrapped in birch bark or osier rings. It is also used by shepherds for signaling and communication in the forested mountains and for guiding sheep and dogs. The trembita has a timbre that is much brighter than that of the alpenhorn due to its narrow bore and very minor flare.

The trembita has no lateral openings and therefore gives the pure natural harmonic series of the open pipe. The upper harmonics are the more readily obtained by reason of the small diameter of the bore in relation to the length.

The notes of the natural harmonic series overlap, but do not exactly correspond, to notes found in the familiar chromatic scale in standard Western equal temperament. Most prominently within the trembita's range, the 7th and 11th harmonics are particularly noticeable because they fall between adjacent notes in the chromatic scale.

Harmonic Series.png

In the hands of a skilled composer or arranger, the natural harmonics can be used to haunting melancholy effect or, by contrast, to create a charming pastoral flavor.

Podhale highlanders, Poland, playing trombitas.

Modern use[edit]

Today trembita is often used in Ukrainian ethnographic ensembles and as an episodic instrument in the Ukrainian folk instrument orchestra.

Trembita was shown on 2004 Eurovision Song Contest by the Ukrainian winner of the contest Ruslana during her performance of the song "Wild Dances".

Hutsuls playing trembitas

Trembita is also used by Ukrainian band ONUKA.

The longest trombita (8,35 m) was made by Polish folk musician Józef Chmiel, located in the Czech Republic.[1]

Similar instruments[edit]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]

Media related to Trembita at Wikimedia Commons