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Title: Krar  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Bereket Mengisteab, Masenqo, Washint, Mahmoud Ahmed, Culture of Ethiopia
Collection: Eritrean Musical Instruments, Ethiopian Musical Instruments, Lyres
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


A musician playing the krar.
String instrument
Classification lyre
Related instruments

The krar or kraar is a five- or six-stringed bowl-shaped lyre from Eritrea and Ethiopia. The instrument is tuned to a pentatonic scale. A modern krar may be amplified, much in the same way as an electric guitar or violin.


  • Instrument 1
  • Resources 2
  • Bibliography 3
  • Films 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6


The krar, a chordophone, is usually decorated with wood, cloth and beads. Its five or six strings determine the available pitches. The instrument's tone depends on the musician's playing technique: bowing, strumming or plucking. If plucked, the instrument will produce a soft tone. Strumming, on the other hand, will yield a harmonious pulsation. The krar is often played by musician-singers called azmari. It usually accompanies love songs and secular songs.


  • Asnakech Worku, Ethiopiques 16: The Lady with the Krar (compact disc). Buda Musique 822652, 2003.
  • Ethiopie, chants d'amour (Ethiopia, Love Songs). Fantahun Shewankochew, vocals and krar (compact disc). INEDIT/Maison des Cultures du Monde W260080, 1998.



  • HELP! – Musikalische Geschichten aus Äthiopien. Directed by Daniel Schulz.[2]

See also


  1. ^ "The Bowl-Lyre of Northeast Africa. Krar: The Devil's Instrument", Ethnomusicology, Vol. 21, No. 3 (Sep., 1977), pp. 379-395. (Subscription link.)
  2. ^
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