Afghan Music – Traditional Folk Songs, Ballads and Dances

Music is represented chiefly by traditional folk songs, ballads, and dances. Among the stringed instruments, the six-stringed rohab is thought to be the ancestor to the Western violin and cello. Other instruments include the santur (a kind of zither), a hand-pumped harmonium, the chang (a plucked mouth harp), and a variety of drums beaten with the palm and fingers.

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The attan dance derived from the Pashtun area is the national dance. It is performed in a large circle with the dancers clapping their hands and quickening the movements of their feet to the beat of the music. On vacation holidays or weekends Afghans often gather to play music and sing at a picnic on a river bank or in a woodland.