The finest sound is produced by the hair of Mongolian horses.
In the mid-1970s instrument makers began to produce kemanes with wooden bodies, either by carving solid lumps of wood into the desired shape, or by gluing numerous narrow strips together. In this way it became possible to standardise the instrument. This type of kemane is produced in full, three-quarter and half sizes. At the same time this made it possible to make kemanes with soprano, alto, tenor and bass tones. For those made of strips, at least 24 in number, it is necessary to shape these on a lathe so that they fit precisely, for which accurately drawn templates are used.
Whether made from a gourd by the traditional method, or from wood, the kemane represents one of the oldest forms of Turkish string instruments, carrying the sounds of the steppes into 21st century music.
*Utku Tonguç Topal is a photographer.