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Bouzouki

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Greek bouzouki

Greek bouzouki

photo: Getty Images
Definition: The bouzouki comes from the same family as mandolin and lute and is widely played in Greek folk music. It has, in the past 50 years, become increasingly popular in contemporary American folk and progressive bluegrass music.

Teardrop in shape, the bouzouki's history stretches back to antiquity. It evolved from a six-string instrument (three pairs of strings) to eight strings (four pairs) in the latter half of the 20th century. The Irish bouzouki became popular around the same time, with four pairs of strings and a flatter back. It is the Irish bouzouki that is most frequently played in contemporary American folk music.

Popular artists who have utilized the bouzouki include Chris Thile, Tim O'Brien, the Decemberists, and Uncle Tupelo, to name a few.

Also Known As: bozuk, pandura
Common Misspellings: bazouki, bozouki
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