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Kyrgyz national musical instruments: unique flavor of antiquity

Written by on Thursday, 20 June 2013
Culture and History, Kyrgyzstan
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Music always has a special place in people’s hearts. We may hate it, be crazy about it or treat it with thrill. But we cannot be indifferent to it.

Today I want to write about the history and cultural significance of the most famous Kyrgyz national instruments that find a new breath in the modern world.

From antiquity the Kyrgyz people always revere instrumental music. Musical competitions, toi (a huge celebration), nomadic resettlement or military campaigns – music existed almost in all spheres of the Kyrgyz people’s life. Traditional musical instruments of the nomadic Kyrgyz were very simple. They were created from easily accessible materials and were suitable for transportation.


One of the oldest and the most popular musical instruments which immediately associates with the Kyrgyz nation is komuz. An apricot or juniper tree were used for its creation. Until the 20th century sheep guts were used for strings of komuz. Length of komuz does not exceed 90 cm, and one of the unique properties of this musical instrument is a large number of options for choosing a type of selected song.


Temir komuz

Temir komuz is an oral stringed instrument that is made of metal (“temir” is translated from Kyrgyz language as “metallic”). Instrument has a small size. Used materials for it are brass, copper or bronze. Basically women and children were playing on temir komuz, but then men were started too. According to the Kyrgyz tradition, the sound of temir komuz which was played near the cradle of a newborn, helps a child to be intelligent, bright and talented person.

photo from www.ky.wikipedia.org web-site


Chopo choor

Wind instruments have a special place in the Kyrgyz culture. One of the most famous Kyrgyz wind instruments is chopo choor (choor made of clay). This small instrument has a right oblong form with a length of 20 cm and a width of 8 cm. Chopo choor is especially popular on the south of Kyrgyzstan.

photo from www.tulpar.kg web-site



Doolbas (dool, dobulbash) is a small wooden or metal membranofon. There are two types of this ancient instrument – traditional and reconstructed. Generally it was played on festive occasions and on the hunts. A modernized doolbas in the form of a boiler-drum is used in orchestras now.

photo from www.kloop.kg web-site

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