The balalaika is recognised internationally as the typical traditional Russian musical instrument. The balalaika is a stringed instrument and is readily identifiable by a triangular body with three to six strings. The derivation of the balalaika is unknown and this lack of instrument ancestry has lead to much academic speculation and debate as to its origins as an indigenous or imported musical instrument. The first documented evidence of the balalaika dates to 1688 with an account of the arrest...
Balalaika, wood / metal / plastic, [made by R Pashroff, Adelaide, South Australia], 1970-1973
A balalaika made of wood, metal and plastic. It is triangular in shape and has a front made of several panels of contrasting softwood, with a darker hardwood section at the top and two contrasting sections at lower corners in a different, knotty wood. A striped inlaid circle surrounds the central sound hole and there is geometrical inlaid banding around edge of belly and on the head stock. The back and bottom of the instrument are made of 13 staves of alternating panels of light and dark hard wood. There are 21 frets which are in metal, though the first fret appears to be a later addition. The neck joins the body at the 15th and 16th fret. It has three steel strings and there are three metal tuning machines set into head stock, with white plastic pegs finished to give the appearance of carved ivory.