This is the forerunner of the violin, with middle eastern origins, which is similar to the Greek and Yugoslav lira. The instrument is held vertically and rested on the knee or in a harness which goes round the neck. It has a pear shaped body with both bowed and resonating strings. There is no fingerboard, with the musician’s nails stopping the string. It can be used for accompanying singers and other instruments, or as the lead melody line. The gadulka is a key instrument in traditional music throughout most of Bulgaria except Pirin Macedonia.
Western Bulgaria has a similar instrument, the kemene, which follows the middle eastern tradition.