The fiddle
Stevo Štrbac
Ćukovac kod Kule, 1914
wood, horsehair
gouging, drilling, cutting


length = 70 cm
body width= 16,5 cm
length of neck = 40,8 cm
length from the first peg to the bottom of the instrument = 52 cm
length from the second peg to the bottom of the instrument = 56 cm
shorter string length = 41,5 cm
longer string length = 48 cm


Et 1028
The Collection of Musical Instruments


The fiddle is crafted from one block of dark wood. Four holes for four pegs (“čivije”) are bored on the upper part of the neck. However, two pegs are missing thus only two strings are pulled through. A cross is carved on the bottom of the body, and a head with a “blind eye” is carved on top of the neck.


The fiddle was made in 1914 by Stevo Štrbac in Ćukovac, near Kula, Lika. The Museum acquired the instrument a few years after its foundation. Milovan Gavazzi believes that gussle came to the Balkans even before the arrival of Ottoman Empire, so he thinks that gusle testifies to the influence of anterior Asian culture. Some peoples in southeast Asia have very similar instruments, especially the Arabs who are considered the primary source for the Balkans (Gavazzi, 1991:89, see Vojnović Traživuk 2015:30). On the other hand, Božidar Širola believes that the fiddle is an ancient instrument that has long been present in the Croatian music folklore. He says that “the Croats brought the fiddle from their ancestral homeland in the Carpathians, and that the instrument was widespread and commonly used in the Croatian music folklore” (Širola, 1942: 43)