Open main menu

The çifteli (çiftelia, erroneously qifteli, Albanian: "doubled" or "double stringed") is a plucked string instrument, with only two strings, played mainly by the Gheg people of northern and central Albania, Southern Montenegro, and Kosovo.[1]

The çifteli is frequently used by Albanians in weddings and at concerts, as well as by many musicians, such as Nikollë Nikprelaj. It is also used to accompany Albanian epics and ballads.[2]



Çifteli vary in size, but are most often tuned to B3 and E3 (comparable to the top two strings of a guitar, which is classically tuned as "E2 A2 D3 G3 B3 E4"). Usually the lower string is played as a drone, with the melody played on the higher string.[3] The çifteli is a fretted instrument, but unlike most, it is not fretted in a chromatic scale (one fret per semitone), but rather in a diatonic scale, with seven notes to the octave.[citation needed]


The term çifteli comes from the Albanian language: çift ("double"); and tel ("string").[1][4]


The çifteli in its modern form is no longer played in Central Asia or Anatolia, but historically Turkish peoples played an instrument known as the ıklığ, also meaning "two string" (iki meaning "two" and lik "-ness"). [5][6][7] The çifteli shares limited characteristics with the ıklığ, differing in sound, melody and accompanied singing. [8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Koço, Eno (2004). Albanian Urban Lyric Song in the 1930s. Europea: Ethnomusicologies and Modernities. 2. Scarecrow Press. p. 265. ISBN 9780810848900.
  2. ^ Sherer, Stan; Senechal, Marjorie (1997). Long Life to Your Children!: A Portrait of High Albania. University of Massachusetts Press. p. 19.
  3. ^ Broughton, Simon; Ellingham, Mark; Trillo, Richard (1999). World Music: Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Rough Guides. p. 2. ISBN 9781858286358.
  4. ^ Elsie, Robert (2010). Historical Dictionary of Albania (2nd ed.). Scarecrow Press. p. 83. ISBN 9780810873803.
  5. ^ Dunford, Martin; Holland, Jack (1990). The Real guide: Yugoslavia. Prentice Hall. p. 421. ISBN 9780137838387.
  6. ^ Gall, Timothy L. (2009). Worldmark Encyclopedia of Cultures and Daily Life: Europe. Gale. p. 268. ISBN 9781414464305.
  7. ^ Gazimihal, Mahmut R. (1975). Ülkelerde kopuz ve tezeneli sazlarımız. Millı̂ Folklor Araştırma Dairesi yayınları. 15. Ankara Üniversitesi Basımevi. p. 66.
  8. ^ Buchanan, Donna (2007). Balkan Popular Culture and the Ottoman Ecumene: Music, Image, and Regional Political Discourse. London: Scarecrow Press. pp. 194–224. ISBN 9780810860216.


External linksEdit