What is the instrument in the intro of They Might Be Giants' cover of "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)"?

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What is the instrument playing the intro part in They Might Be Giants' cover of "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)"? And any ideas on where I can find more music which sounds similar?

In an attempt to be more specific: I would like to find more instrumental music similar to the part of this song from 0:00 to 0:41.

Ben Sheller

Posted 2015-10-01T03:44:34.550

Reputation: 193

Answers

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This is violin/fiddle played in the famous "gypsy" (Romani) style. You might try looking up "gypsy violin" or "gypsy fiddle" as a start. This style has been very influential over the years. For a more classical take on it, try Bela Bartok's Romanian Dances or Braham's Hungarian Dances. For a more modern spin, look up "gypsy punk."

From the comments (@user1103)

It's indeed a violin, played by session musician Mark Feldman. TMBG strayed from the lounge-lizard feel of the original and styled it after Ottoman music from the era of the fall of Constantinople: That distinctive style is attributed to a number of Mediterranean stringed instruments, including a Turkish instrument called a Kemence.

Chris Sunami

Posted 2015-10-01T03:44:34.550

Reputation: 12 950

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Just to expand a little: It's indeed a violin, played by session musician Mark Feldman. TMBG strayed from the lounge-lizard feel of the original and styled it after Ottoman music from the era of the fall of Constantinople: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ottoman_classical_music

That distinctive style is attributed to a number of Mediterranean stringed instruments, including a Turkish instrument called a Kemence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvNEtHaHkWk

– user1103 – 2015-10-22T02:18:58.253

1@user1103 - This comment might be worth converting into its own answer. It certainly adds a lot of new information not contained in my original answer. – Chris Sunami – 2015-10-22T13:15:32.323

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The instrument, I think it's simply a violin !

As far as similar music is concerned, try starting with the album that this track is featured on - 'Flood' by 'They might be giants'

Pat Dobson

Posted 2015-10-01T03:44:34.550

Reputation: 2 640

I've listened to the album (many times), but I'm more interested in instrumental music similar to the first 40 or so seconds of that song. They Might Be Giants like to experiment with a lot of different sounds, and I haven't heard them use anything that sounds similar to it on that album (Flood) or any other. – Ben Sheller – 2015-10-01T07:31:24.460