Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Trembita

This woodwind instrument is not only used for funerals or for calling family members across the mountain. It is a multi-purpose, incredible instrument that was used for occasions of every type. There was the funeral trembita, also known as the pochorona, but there was also the large trembita. This is played on happy occasions, including festivals and weddings. The vivcars’ka trembita is used by shepherds to signal their location in the mountains and protect their herd from bears and wolves, while the koljadnyc’ka trembita is used to signal the Christmas carolers location in the mountains. This instrument is clearly necessary in a time and society where telephones are not on demand.

The trembita is usually some tree meters long, 2.3 to 5 cm wide at the mouthpiece and 6 cm wide at the bell. Longer and shorter trembitas do exist.The tube is made from a straight piece of pine or spruce, oddly they prefer to make it with a piece that has been struck by lightning! What they do is split the piece into two and carve out the core. Once this is complete, the sections are joined together and wrapped in lime bark.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a video online to attach the sound that the trembita makes, but I hope you enjoy this picture that I found at Let me know if you have comments or questions!


deborah said...

Thanks for posting this information on the trembita! Just so you know, there's a little trembita in Ruslana's "Ja Znajy" video that I posted. It's difficult to hear clearly because of all the other instruments, but it's there, for sure.

Evan Goldman said...

This is a very interesting topic. I know in other cultures, similar to devices are used. The Jewish religion uses something similar to during some high-holidays and I know the Turks use something like this for prayer call. Again, a very interesting topic.

Anonymous said...

Yea, I agree this is a very interesting musical device.

The "device" used in the Jewish religion is called the Shofar.

There are two other devices that are very similar - the Alpenhorn (used by the Swiss in the Alps) and Bucium (in Romania) - similar to Bugle.

All of which (I'm guessing yodeling also) are used to communicate across large stretches of land or mountains where fast travel is difficult.

Anyways that was cool, I'll have to buy one and bring it to the Tigers games to root them on(I'm a big fan).


Peter Bo said...

Hello Brittany,

Does the trembita sound like this?

I am looking for the instrument that is playing in the link I posted above. I am interested in using a trembita for an opera I am writing. Would you know how to get a trembita? I am having a pretty hard time finding anything or anyone who can help me in the US. I greatly appreciate any help- you, or anyone who reads this and may know of where to get a trembita, please contact me at:

peterborappmund at gmail dot com