In the late 19th and early 20th century several non-Ukrainian folk instruments began to gain popularity in Ukraine. Most of these instruments were introduced from Russia. With the introduction of mass production they became readily and cheaply available, having superior acoustic properties when compared to the traditionally handcrafted instruments. Thus many of these instruments began to replace the more traditional Ukrainian folk instruments to the extent that many traditional instruments disappeared. Examples of this are the replacement of the torban and fretted kobza with the seven-stringed guitar, the small fretted kobza with the mandolin, and later the four-stringed domra.
Most instruments however underwent changes to suit Ukrainian tastes in music. Consequently, the balalaika received a different tuning and six strings rather than the three it had in Russia. The domra received four strings and a tuning in fifths rather than three strings and a tuning in fourths.
In recent times, the development of Ukrainian folk Instruments and the reintroduction of traditional instruments to replace these foreign instruments has become a major question. The orchestral four-string kobza tuned in fifths, has been introduced to replace the four-string domra. The seven-string kobza was designed to replace the seven-string "Russian" guitar. These efforts however are being met with a certain amount of opposition.
Originally the bayan was introduced into Eastern Ukraine from Russia in the 1920's and into Western Ukraine after the WWII. It is now used prolifically and has replaced many traditional Ukrainian folk instruments many regions of Ukraine. The accordion was initially introduced into Russia in the 1830's from Germany. It was developed into its modern form by the St. Petersburg instrument maker P. Sterlingov in 1907.
In Ukraine the balalaika was previously known as the "balabaika." It was developed into a modern instrument by salon violinist Vasyl Andreev in the 1880's after Andreev had seen Neapolitan mandolin orchestras in Italy. His first balalaika was made in 1883. In 1889, after successful performances in Paris, the instrument began to gain popularity in Russia and Ukraine. The most famous contemporary balalaika virtuoso is the Ukrainian Pavel Nechyporenko who hails from Chernihiv. There are no longer any professional Russian Folk instrument orchestras in Ukraine, and balalaika courses have either been discontinued or are being phased out in conservatories in Ukraine.
The four-stringed domra. The domra was also developed by Vasyl Andreev. In 1895 a round bodied three-string instrument was discovered i n a stable in Russia. Although later it was thought to have been a version of the balalaika, it continued to be known as the domra. Initially given a tuning in fourths that differed slightly from the tuning of the balalaika. A mandolin-like technique was incorporated which used a plectrum. In Ukraine a four-string version of the domra tuned in fifths similar to the mandolin became popular. It gradually replaced the then popular mandolin in the 1930's. This four-stringed version was first introduced in 19 20 and became extremely popular. The four-string domra, although thought of as a Russian folk instrument, is not used in Russia itself where the three-string version is universally used and taught. This has led to a perplexing situation. Why play on a Rus sian folk instrument that is not played in Russia? With the lack of job opportunities in Ukraine and in Russia, many four-string domra players are changing over to the four-string orchestral kobza in order to continue working in Ukrainian folk instrument orchestras and ensembles.
The guitar first made its appearance in Spain in the second half of the 15th century and found its way to Russia in the 19th century. The guitars played in Ukraine are similar in construction and tuning to the Russian guitar where it is thought that they were first developed. These instruments have seven metal strings and are usually tuned to an open G tuning. The development of the seven-string guitar has been accredited to a Czech national - Andriy Sykhra [1773-1850]. The tuning used was taken from the Ukrainian torban. It is thought that Sykhra may have been a torbanist. The term "Russian" guitar was applied to this instrument due to the rise of Russian patriotism after the war of 1812. The Russian seven-string guitar tuning in recent times has become unpopular, especially among the youth, and is being replaced by the standard six-string guitar tuning used in the West.
The Side Drum (Baraban)
The side drum was used in march and dance music and was introduced into Ukrainian folk music only in this century.