The Tunes of Lithuanian Musical Instruments will Come from Postage Stamps

Apr 30, 2014

On the first Saturday of May, Lithuania Post will release 2 new postage stamps from the series Europe. This time the stamps of majority European countries will feature traditional national instruments. The Lithuanian stamps will be issued to commemorate wooden bells skrabalai, reed-pipe birbynė, goat-horn ožragis, and plucked string musical instrument kanklės.

The series of the two stamps has been created by the artist Ieva Turulytė. One of the two stamps features the goat-horn and wooden bells, and the other depicts the reed-pipe and the Lithuanian plucked string musical instrument. Each stamp will be issued in the edition of 80 thousand copies. The nominal value of each stamp is LTL 2.45.

Along with these stamps the first day cover will be released. On Saturday letter-post items paid by the new stamps will be marked by the first day cancellation at Vilnius Main Post Office.

The goat-horn ožragis is a Lithuanian folk instrument made of the goat‘s horn with sound holes and wooden mouthpiece. The traditional goat-horn has 2-6 sound holes. Much strength is required to tootle the goat-horn, and the produced sound is very strong and heard far away. From days of old, the goat-horn has been played by shepherds, hunters, and folk ensembles, and during the battles it has been used to give signals. Nowadays, the goat-horn can be heard in the musical pieces of folk ensembles and modern jazz.

The wooden bells skrabalai are made of wood in the shape of trapezium and hanging in a small trapezium shape wooden box. In remote times the wooden bells were common among shepherds - they used to hang them on the cow’s neck in order to locate their place following the bells’ sounds.  The wooden bells produce a muted but very well heard sound. Presently they are used by the ensembles of orchestras to have playful tunes shading the whole orchestra.    

The reed-pipe birbynė is a folk wind-instrumentusually made of goose feather, straw, wood cortex, wood, or beast horn. The reed-pipes are used to imitate sounds, give shepherds’ signals, or play thepolyphonic
music sutartinės. Present-day reed-pipes are used in the programmes of the ensembles of orchestras and solo performances. 

The plucked string musical instrument kanklės has a body made from wood of a deciduous tree, and the cover is made of fir. This instrument has 5-12 strings. The instrument is used to play polyphonic melodies, songs, and dances. Since the 20th century, public concerts performed by kanklės are given. Nowadays the sounds produced by kanklės can be heard at international song festivals and in the programmes of the ensembles of orchestras. As a rule, the instrument is used to maintain harmony and rhythm.

In the course of a year, Lithuania Post issues on average 25-30 postage stamps. Lithuania Post also provides courier, logistics, and financial intermediation services.