The cobza is a
being a kind of
• The term kobza is first mentioned in Polish chronicles dating back to
1331, but lute-like instruments are known to have existed in the
territories now known as Ukraine even earlier, either from the sixth
century, brought there by Bulgars, or possibly somewhat later by
Polovetsians and Khazars. The term has a Turkic origin: "kobyz" or
"khomus". The stringed folk instrument acquired widespread
popularity in the 16th century, with the advent of the Hetmanate
• The kobza was usually played by a bard or minstrel called kobzar
(occasionally in earlier times a kobeznik), to accompany the
recitation of a Ukrainian epics called duma.
• The kobza became extinct early in the 20th century. Currently there
is a revival of kobza playing in Ukraine, due to the efforts of the
"Kobzar Guild" in Kiev and Kharkiv.
• The kobza was often referred to in historical sources as bandura
(from Latin Pandura, via medieval Polish Barduny, i.e. a lute). The
terms were interchangeable until about 1900. Eventually the
unfretted "starosvitska" bandura (developed ca. 1800) appropriated
the bandura name, but still was often referred to as kobza among
the common folk, because of the name's historical cachet.