is a folk instrument made of wood that belongs to the family of
aerophones. Its origins date Back a very long way and it is now
played throughout all the folk regions of Bulgaria.
The caval is an end-blown flute comprising a cylinder
in three pieces, each one fitting neatly into the next as a result
of a cone-shaped end . Each is built with a particular purpose:
- the first: to blow into through the mouthpiece;
- the second: that has eight finger holes; and
- the third: in which four holes called "evil's holes" are pierced to make contact with the outside air.
The caval is carved in wood, sometimes dogwood, cherry, maple or plum but mainly of yew.
The basic tone depends on the dimensions of the instrument. You can see both small cavals (ordinary) and large cavals (up to one meter in length) in Bulgaria. The instrument has a wide range of light, pleasant and full tones in the medium register and clear and thin tones in the upper register.
The caval can be played as a solo or an accompanying instrument. It harmonizes well with the gadulka, ga´da and tanbura and performs a basic role in folk orchestras.
In modern times, the caval has found a new significance. By improving their playing technique, some musicians have succeeded in using the caval to interpret jazz music and in creating duets with the human voice. Recently, composers have written new symphonic works for caval and orchestra.