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KYRGYZ MUSIC

  In general, Kyrgyz folk instrumental music, as well as vocal one, is divided into two brunches. The first is the folk music itself, or so called mass instrumental folklore. The second brunch is the professional instrumental music of oral tradition. This dividing is conditional, but has a real foundation, as in Kyrgyz instrumental music along with mass folklore creative works, which decorate everyday life, there are a lot of highly artistic classical examples, created by outstanding professionals as concert genres.

  Performing arsenal of Kyrgyz people can be divided into instruments that have an artistic function, applied and ritual purposes that combine both of functions. At the same time the borders between groups are very conventional. Already in ancient time some wind and percussion instruments have enlarge their functions from signal to artistic. Nowadays the instruments of applied and ritual type either vanished along with previous mode of life, or used in concert practice, for example, bell - "konguro" or ceremonial "musical staff"-"asa-musa". Childish "musical toys" (chopo cho'or) became solo and ensemble instruments.

  All Kyrgyz musical instruments are classified into four main groups:
1. Stringed instruments - the source of sound is the tense string.
2. Wind instruments - the source of the sound is the column of air in the instrument.
3. Percussive instruments - the source of the sound is the tensed membrane.
4. Self - sounding instruments - the source of the sound is the instrument body.

Stringed instruments
  Traditional stringed instruments of Kyrgyz people are Komuz and Kyl-Ky'yak. The difference between them is in the way of deriving the sound. Komuz is the pinch instrument, while Kyl-Ky'yak is the bow instrument. Playing Komuz, musician pinch or strike the strings forcing them to vibrate, playing Kyl-Ky-yak, musicians use a bow.
Komuz - is most popular stringed instrument. In south regions of Kyrgyzstan it called "chertmek" from the word "chert" - snap, tap. According to the legend, Komuz was first made by the ancient hunter Kambar, he also became first "Komuzchu"-the person who plays Komuz.

  Komuz - has three strings, while the other Central Asian instruments of the same type have only two strings. Komyzchu - the perfomer, holds the instrument in horizontal position and plays usually sitting, rarely standing.
Traditional komuz has pear-shaped form and made of the entire piece of wood, often it is apricot wood, but sometimes nut or red tree wood. On the head there are three wooden chopping to hold the ends of the strings, the other ends are tied to leather tailpiece. On the sounding board of Komuz there is a resonator aperture, behind it, closer to tailpiece, there is a wooden string stand. Until 20th century the strings were made of sheep intestine, later it became possible to use factory made strings.

  The size of Komuz is depends on local traditions and individual methodic of the maker, but generally the length of the body is 85-90 sm., width of the body is 20 sm., length of the neck is 35 sm., width 5 sm., length of the head 15 sm.

  Kyl-Ky'yak- traditional stringed bow instrument, made of apricot or nut wood. It has two strings and a bow. Kyl-Ky'yak has scoop-shaped form and short slightly curved neck. On the oval head there are two wooden chopping. The upper part of the body is open, while the lower part is covered by camel leather. The length of the instrument is 60-70 sm., and width of the body is 16-20 sm. Strings were made of horse hair which were strengthen to leather tailpiece and then over the wooden string stand tied to chopping. Arch-shaped bow was made of mountain plant Spiraea.

  Arsenal of performing receptions of "Ky'yakchy"- the performers, is not that rich as with Komuzchy. "Ky'yakchy"- holds the instrument in vertical position, keeping the lower part of the body on the knee and plays sitting. The bow holds from below, unscrew the right hand palm up. At the time of playing, the little finger slightly stretches the strings on bow. Fingers of the left hand do not press the strings but touch it as if extracting flageolets. Timbre of Kyl-Ky'yak is a soft and little bit hard of hearing.

Wind instruments
  Being the most ancient instruments, it have played an applied importance. Firstly it carried signal functions (calling up the people for some public actions or cattle moving to the pastures) and after artistic and aesthetic (rest, entertainment) functions. Long time ago the instruments of this group were included in war ensembles for the period of hostilities. In great epic of Kyrgyz people Manas, are mentioned performers on wind instruments, whose performance made a great emotional impression on audience. If the most of the instruments were used for some celebrations or court life (Surnai, Kernei), then wind instruments were an integral part of democratic environment.

  Cho'or- Kyrgyz traditional longitudinal aerophone, which is considered to be one of the oldest musical instruments. Performers on cho'or are called Cho'orchu. Cho'or was widely spread on the south of Kyrgyzstan as a pastoral instrument, while in the north it was not so popular.

  Musical researchers attribute Cho'or to ancestral instruments, which have many varieties depending on the material used for producing, for example: "Chogoino cho'or" - made of thistle, "Kamysh cho'or" - made of cane, "Shilbi cho'or" - made of honeysuckle, "Sary djigach cho'or" - made of barberry, "Baltyrkan cho'or" - made of umbellate plants, "Djez cho'or" - made of cooper. But there is also another approach where for the base takes not the material but principles of construction. According to the latter distinguish traditional cho'or and modern one.
So ancestral varieties of cho'or dictate the length of body (tube), which can be 40-100 sm., and diameter 2-3 sm. This indexes also form pitch of the main tone. The number of apertures from 0 to 4.

  Timbre of cho'or and its kinds is very specific - severally nasal, buzzing, mat, in upper tessutura - more lighter and clear. Herewith the one can hear hissing of air directed to the instrument by the performer.

  Chopo cho'or - (made of clay) - family of Kyrgyz folk wind instruments. It was widely spread in the south agricultural regions of Kyrgyzstan and had different names - chopo cho'or, ylai cho'or. The form is arbitral. One of the most ancient samples from private collection is made of white clay, in form of the small sized ball; its height is a little more then five sm. There are three apertures in Chopo cho'or, two for playing, and one for air, all of them are placed in some special way in order to simultaneously cover the apertures with the lips and forefingers of both hands of the performer. The instrument is hold with the help of thumbs.

  Folk "chopo cho'or" is simple in performance practice. Timbre is bewitching, soft and deep. Obviously that is why "chopo cho'or" can either be the musical toy for children or serious musical instrument in folk ensemble.

  Sybyzgy - is the variety of Kyrgyz folk wind instruments. Unlike "cho'or", this aerophone is diametrical. Nevertheless, as well as "cho'or" it is represented with folk and modern types.

  "Sybyzgy" is produced from different materials: wood of mulberry, apricot, barberry, reed or from cooper. Wooden instruments were secured with several metal rings. The length of the body is not constant, but around fifty sm., diameter at least 2 sm. There are 6-7 playing apertures in the body of traditional "sybyzgy" and around 10 in modern one. "Sybyzgy" has whistling , more clear and various, unlike the "cho'or", timbre and octave range of sounding in high tessuture.

  One of the regional names of "sybyzgy" - Jenai (meaning made of cooper).

  Surnai - is the variety of Kyrgyz folk wind instrument, representing trumpet with double cane, conic canal, playing apertures and faucet. The length of the instrument is 40-65 sm., mouthpiece - 4 sm., faucet diameter - 5-6 sm. Surnai is made of apricot or mulberry wood, or cooper. Cane itself represent flattened stalk.

  So-called "Kamysh surnai" has more simple construction. It has only one cane, 3-4 playing apertures, and no faucet. The length of the body is 25 sm., diameter 0,8 sm. Surnai sound is very harsh and nasal.

  In the past Surnai was used as the signal instrument, with the help of which the people were called up for the meetings or some ceremonies. Sometimes Surnai used in war instrumental ensembles. One professor wrote: " Surnai, in collective of percussive-wind ensembles had participated in campaigns, battles…served national holidays, sport games etc. But so wide possibilities were available only for professional musicians, more over playing surnai require large physical effort.

  Nowadays surnai is almost ceased the existence, except for some south regions where is still possible to hear it.

  Kernei - Kyrgyz wind musical instrument, which as well as Surnai was not modernised for ensembles or orchestras and exist in traditional form. This is especially signal or ceremonial instrument with powerful sound of piercing timbre. There are two kinds of kernei: Muiuz Kernei (made of horn of mountain goat), and Jez Kernei (made of cooper or brass). Both of them are very different instruments, but they are combined by lack of playing apertures.

  Muiuz Kernei - is the ancient instrument, produced from curved horn of mountain goats. That is why the length of the instrument might varied from 30 to 40 sm. Muiuz Kernei do not have the mouthpiece and gives only a few sounds of thick, soft timbre.

  Jez Kernei - is 1-2 m long longitudinal trumpet with/without a mouthpiece. Faucet diameter is 20 sm. Likeness of kernei with Uzbek and Uigur "karnai" is accounted by the territorial nearness of South Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The sound of Kernei is very strong, loud and intend for outdoor areas. Some time in the past Kernei's applied function was restricted by notification of important events, to-day it is the attribute of national holidays.
The separate group of Kyrgyz aerophones represent the instruments, which considerably yield the main kinds of folk wind instruments by quality of timbre and artistic importance. They can be called as noise instruments. They were not produced by people, they exist in the nature and produce neither musical nor artistic sounds. They are: Chymyldak - produce squeak, Yshkyryk - whistle, Baryldak - under tongue aerophone, Chynyrtky - hunter's quail call, Jalbyrak - "explosive" aerophone. They are considered as

Percussive instruments
  Kyrgyz folk percussive instruments create not numerous group. There are only three membranephones: Dobulbash (in the north of Kyrgyzstan - Dobulbas), Do'ol and Karsyldak. This instruments are carriers of rhythm, one of the strongest means of artistic influence on man and animals.

  In musical practice of 20th century, Kyrgyz percussive instruments were not used, and exist as museum exhibits.

  Dobulbash - one-sided framed drum, covered with camel leather. The height of the body is 50-60 sm., membrane diameter is 25-30 sm. The frame was made of the juniper wood, while the membrane was made of the camel leather. The sounds were extracted blowing the membrane with the handle of whip or palm. To-day the musicians use the drum sticks with soft tips. The sound of Dobulbash is strong, clear and long if the membrane is thick, and can be served as war or sacral signal.

  Do'ol - small wooden or metallic membranephone. In present time exist two kinds of Do'ol: traditional and reconstructed one. The first represent helmet-shaped drum with squeezed membrane. Membrane was made of camel or ox leather and had a diameter of 30 sm., the height of the body is 20 sm. Strong and low sound was extracted with a help of wooden stick (called Tokmok or Tayak) thicken on the tip. Leather bands on both sides of the instrument allowed to fix it to the saddle in front of the rider-performer. Do'ol was used on the national holidays and at the time of hunting, also it was very popular among Shamans - ancient wizards, for ousting evil spirits.

  Karsyldak - a pair of wooden spoon-shaped slightly open boxes fastened below the handles. The width of the single "spoon" is 10 sm., length - 20 sm. The "spoons" are not exactly similar, and having different sizes, they give clicking sounds of different pitch.

Self - sounding instruments
  As known, self-sounding instruments (idiophones) are the instruments in which the source of oscillation is the body or its part, but not strings, membrane or air pressure. To such instruments in Kyrgyz musical culture concern so called lip (mouth) komuz of several kinds, tambourines, bells and the other instruments making cracking sounds. In this group of the instruments, more then in others, presents the natural beginning. Before the human life depended on the surrounding environment and such musical instruments were used not only as the sources of music, but also as amulets, periapts, attributes of ammunition, equipment, costumes. By the same reasons them were attributed some magic features. The instruments also were widely used in customs and traditions.

  Most of this instruments were made of metal or had metallic parts in its constructions. The metal parts were done by "Temir Usta" - metal foremen and blacksmiths, whose main occupation was production of agricultural tools, home utensils and horse harnesses.

Temir o'oz komuz - (shortly Temir Komuz or O'oz komuz, from "temir"-metallic and "o'oz"- mouth) is the metallic lips (mouth) nipping instrument. It has arch-shaped body with the length of 6-7 sm., stretched in the middle and narrowed at the end. Temir komuz was made of iron, brass, bronze or cooper (djez komuz). The components of the instrument are pan (chara in Kyrgyz), to it adjoin cone-shaped fork (djaak) and thin elastic steel string (til), one end of the tongue soldered to the lower part of the pan, and another one bend perpendicularly under right angle. Timbre of the instrument is mild, silvery, with airy flageolet shade.

  Performers on Temir komuz called "temir komuzchu" or "o'oz komuzchu". Traditional performers were women and children, but after 1930, it became more popular among the males.

  Temir komuz - is one of the most ancient instruments. It is known in every corner of Kyrgyzstan. It also has the "relatives" (around 800 kinds) in other countries of the world. In Russia, it is called Vargan, in Germany - Maultrommel, in Italy Scaccia-pensieri, in France - Guimbarde, in Spain - Birimbao, in Ukrainia - Drymba, in Moldavia - Drombule, in Kazakhstan - Shan kabyz, in Uzbekistan - changkobuz etc.

  Play on Temir komuz - is the fingering of overtones in a spectrum (raised by a finger) of the metal string - regulating by forms and value of resonance area of the mouth, where the performers place the instrument holding it with the teeth. Certain position of performing apparatus corresponds to every sound, including: lips, mouth, larynx and lungs. That is why very often phonemes of Kyrgyz language are heard in sounds of Temir Komuz.

  Pitching the string (pizzicato) is usually performed by forefinger of the right hand, rarely by middle or thumb. Doing this, performer can make effective figured hand movements, making impression on audience.

  Djigach o'oz komuz - (wooden lip or mouth komuz) - the closest variety of Temir o'oz komuz widely spread on South of Kyrgyzstan. Djigach o'oz komuz is a wooden plate with the narrowed end. The length of the instrument in its varieties is from 13 to 20 sm., the width of the narrow part is about 1 sm., wide part - 2 sm. For the string serves vibrating thin plate cut from the instrument's body. For production of Djigach o'oz komuz was used barberry or honeysuckle wood.

  Before the play, Djigach o'oz komuz is pressed to the mouth by the left hand. Instrument is placed between the lips, by the movements of which regulates resonance area of the mouth according to high pitches parameters of strum. The right hand strongly and clearly pulls the string with the help of 30 sm., long thread fastened to its right end. Oscillation of the string gives the sound that becomes stronger due to the aerial resonance of the mouth. As the sound of this instrument quickly fades (wood is not so elastic as steel string), for tunes of djigach o'oz komuz typical the liveliness sound.

  Usually Djigach o'oz komuz is played by women, but nowadays it became more popular among men.
Timbre of djigach o'oz komuz is less clear then timbre of temir komuz, but deep.

  Djylaajyn - is one of the hardly met instruments. It is the idiophone representing small single or double tambourine shaking for playing. Inside the instrument there is a small metallic ball. Diameter of the instrument is 2-3 sm.

  Djylaajyn was mainly used in everyday life: from one side as musical instrument and as signal instrument from another. It informed the hunter about the present location of his hunting eagle or hawk with the prey. It was fastened to the bird's foot, and helped the hunter to take his bearings in mountain forest or in bushes. Sometimes the instrument was used for decoration women's head-dress or plaits. It used to be widely spread thanks to its high-pitched, silvery and attractive sound, which however quickly fades.

  For producing djylaajyn Kyrgyz foremen used iron, cooper, bronze and very often silver which they counted as the best material for that instrument. With changing of social conditions and evolution of mode of life, traditional djylaajyn became very rare.

  Konguro'o - is a small bell, which as well as Djalaajyn firstly had the utilitarian purposes and only after artistic ones. Konguro'o sounded by the time of moving to the new places, being fastened to the horse harness it created very specific "smart" sound background. Konguro'o also hanged on the neck of leader goat, which leads the flock of sheep in some definite direction. That is why in folk memory almost magic sound of konguro'o was associated with nomadic mode of life.

  To make this instrument Kyrgyz foremen used cooper, bronze, iron and brass. They also decorated it with artistic carving and covered with silver. Sizes of the instruments might vary in considerable limits, what depended on its function. Every bell had its own timbre.

  Shaldyrak - the rattle, consisted of metallic bar (diameter 1,5 sm., length 43 sm.) with a handle, three big iron rings of different diameter (around 8 sm.) and small rings (diameter 2,8 sm.), stringed on big ones. The sound was extracting while shaking the rattle. This rhythmically-noisy idiophone used to be widely spread all over Kyrgyzstan, but nowadays hardly can be seen anywhere except the museums.

  Asa-Tayak (Asa-Musa) - braced or stick idiophone. The source of the sound here are the various pendants - self-sounding bodies which set in motion by striking the instrument on the ground, floor, or while shaking.
Traditional Asa-Tayak - is the wooden stick of irregular shape with the length of 50 sm. In its upper part are fixed various self-sounding bodies and decorations - metallic disks with diameter of 3 sm., buttons, lamb bones (used for games), wooden bars, scraps of fabric, horse hairs. Asa-Tayak concerns as mixed idiophone. For Kyrgyz Shamans (bakshi) and dervishes (duvana) Asa-Tayak served as the tool with the help of which they carried out their curative seances. Magic influence of the sounds on the mind of sick person conditioned, apparently, not only by sounds but also by the whole complex of actions of shaman.

  Dilderek - also very rare metallic idiophone, consisted of two round plates with diameter of 5-7 sm., and width of 1 mm. Dilderek was fastened on the neck of goats, sheep or cows in signal purposes. Plates stroked due to the wind or moving of animal and utter slight sound. That instrument carried not only artistic or musical functions but also it served as amulet, protected the cattle from accidents and diseases.

  Zu'uldak - is more musical toy then an instrument. Before it was produced from the stalk of cane, to-day is used wooden detail or button. It untwist on two weaken 20-30 sm., sewing in one side and then on stretched ones in another side. The sound lasting a few seconds, remind hissing or hum.

  Kyrgyz national musical tooling vary by constructive features and by artistic abilities. Scientists distinguish four types of the instruments having originality of social, esthetic and practice functions. It is significant that in modern folk instrumental practice goes visible process of developing musical instruments on the one hand, by the way of keeping main principles of national traditions, and on the another hand by the way of refreshing constructions of musical instruments and its expressiveness.

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