TanburThis is one, and perhaps the most important, of the stringed and plucked instruments of Ottoman music. One view is that the tambur was an ancient development of the ‘kopuz,’ while others suggest that its own history goes back to very early times. Yet another theory is that the tambur is the first evolution and change of the bağlama family of instruments.

The word tambur comes from the Arabic ‘tunbur,’ and it is widely believed that this comes from the Sumerian word ‘pantur,’ a semispherical stringed instrument with a long stem. Another view is that it comes from the words (tabla, tabl, tabıl, tabul etc.) for percussion instruments that have been used since the very earliest times. There is mention in the Hittite civilisation of a stringed instrument called a ‘TIBULA.’ It is generally agreed that this was in all probability a long-stemmed stringed instrument.

This instrument developed with the historical process that gave rise to Ottoman music, reaching its most developed form in the 16th century and becoming an indispensable part of that music.