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(băləlī`kə), Russian stringed musical instrument, with a triangular body and a long fretted neck fretted instrument. Usually there are three strings, which are generally plucked with a pick. The balalaika is made in various sizes, and several may be combined to make a band or orchestra. A similar instrument, the bandura, is found in Ukraine and Russia, and other types are to be found in the countries of the Middle East, where the balalaika almost certainly originated. The instrument did not appear in Russia until c.1700. Like the guitar, it has been much used to accompany folk songs and country dances.



Russian stringed pizzicato instrument. As a rule the body is triangular in shape; the neck has frets and three strings (in earlier models, two). The sound is produced chiefly by strumming all strings with the index finger of the right hand and by plucking separate strings. In the 18th and 19th centuries it was widely used as a solo and ensemble instrument and to accompany singing. In the 1880’s it was perfected by V. V. Andreev and the instrumental masters F. S. Paserbskii and S. I. Nalimov. The family of balalaikas created later forms the basis of Russian folk instruments orchestras. Outstanding performers on the balalaika were V. V. Andreev, B. S. Troianovskii (1883–1951), N. P. Osipov (1896–1945), and P. I. Necheporenko (born in 1916). Major works for balalaika written by Soviet composers include concertos for balalaika and orchestra by S. N. Vasilenko, M. M. Ippolitov-Ivanov, and others.


Babkin, B. “Balalaika: Ocherki istorii ee razvitiia i usovershen-stvovaniia.” Russkaia muzykal’naia gazeta,1896, nos. 6–7, 9.
Sokolov, F. V. Russkaia narodnaia balalaika. Moscow, 1962.



a plucked musical instrument, usually having a triangular body and three strings: used chiefly for Russian folk music
References in periodicals archive ?
By Shamardal, unbeaten on turf, including three Group 1 wins, Doctor Zhivago is out of Listed winner Balalaika, a daughter of Sadler's Wells and Bella Colora.
Singers and balalaika groups played in the music halls, Russian post-impressionist paintings were being exhibited at the art galleries and even Russian modes of dress were becoming fashionable.
David Bordwell, in The Classical Hollywood Cinema, is a case in point, targeting Balalaika (1939): "As an old Russian emigre says at the end of [the film]: 'And to think that it took the Revolution to bring us together'" (30).
For example the light-hearted Balalaika of 1939 starring Nelson Eddy seemed to be saying that "no personal or ideological issue is so vexing that it cannot be solved by a rousing chorus or a foot-tapping peasant tune.
Y remata: "La aventura musical concluyo con un pequeno contrato en el Balalaika, en Bogota, donde trataba de enternecer a las parejas de enamorados con una version lacrimosa de "Ochichornia", para hacerlos generosos con las propinas" (1999: 11).
Two weeks later, drop in for World Music Night, which will feature Russian music from the Balalaika Rascals, Peruvian music from Inca Peruvian, and even African drummers and dancers from Kenny Hudson & World Beat.
The dancers performed on fast uneven rhythms on music played on traditional instruments such as the balalaika, garmoshka, contrabass balalaika and bayan.
From enquiries already made upon this subject, information is as follows: 12 balalaika performers minus instruments--4 melodian players minus melodians--1 bugler no bugle--2 church organists no organs--a paper and comb band of 9 exists but is not proficient.
Nothing of this sort happens in Pasternak, but Hollywood perhaps needed an event to justify the balalaika orchestra that dominates Maurice Jarre's soundtrack, as cloying as a glass of Russian tea over-sweetened with preserves.
Songs such as The Unthinking Majority blend bone-crunching riffs with Fiddler On The Roof singalongs, while all Lie Lie Lie lacks is an overdriven balalaika.
One of the world's most handsome leading men sauntered through the hotel lobby, smiling seductively as he passed two swooning receptionists who looked like they'd been struck on the head with a balalaika.
Moreover, just as the Russian Baptists abandoned the Orthodox habit of standing for services, they also introduced instrumental music into their worship, including balalaika, guitar, or violin ensembles and, in a few affluent congregations, pump organs.