Divan Kurdish Long-necked Lute Instrument | Diwan Sazi | Baglama

Divan and Related Instruments

Etymology: Diwan, also spelled as divan, as a word, has a couple of different meanings in Persian language.

1. Diwan in literature means a collection of poems of one author like Diwan e Hafez which means the collection of the poems of the Persian poet, Hafiz. Those who are familiar with the German writer and statesman, Goethe, might have heard of his book "West-östlicher Diwan".

2. Diwan is the Persian plural of the phrase Diw, a very ancient term. Diw or Daeva is an Avestan term for a particular sort of supernatural entity with disagreeable characteristics. In the Gathas, the oldest texts of the Zoroastrian canon, the daevas are "wrong gods" or "false gods" or "gods that are (to be) rejected".

3. A Diwan, also spelled as "dewan" or "divan", was a high governmental body or its chief official in ancient Persia. The phrase "Diwan Salari" in today Persian language is still reserved for Bureaucracy.

A Brief about the Instrument Divan: Divan, also spelled as diwan, is the name of a long-necked lute played in Iran, Iraq , Syria, and Turkey (particularly in Kurdish areas). A similar instrument, much more popular in Turkey, is called Baglama. Note that the size of divan's sound-box and its neck is larger than baglama. Like western lute and Persian barbat, it has a deep round back, but a much longer neck. It is played with plectrum, though it can be played with fingers as well.

Though diwan has a very beautiful sound, other related instruments, such as tanbour, setar, and dotar are much more popular in Iran.

Point No. 1: The name of divan in Turkey is "divan sazı". Famous divan sazı players in Turkey include Ali Ekber Çiçek, Mehmet Erenler ve Mustafa Günaydın.

Point No. 2: "Saz", meaning a kit or set, is a general term in Persian language coming from the Persian verb "saakhtan", which in turn means to make. Saz is reserved as a general term for musical instrument in Persian and many other languages also.


In this picture, you see Mehmet Erenler, master of Turkish baglama and divan sazı. For more on other related instruments, please go to the following pages: