Musical Instruments

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Country: Kyrgyzstan
Stringed bow instrument kyl-kiyak

Folk musical instruments are interesting, as an indispensable attribute of musical creativity and as objects of applied art. The most popular folk instrument is komuz, a three-string musical instrument, made according to the legend by the ancient hunter Kambar. The body of the komuz is made from a single piece of wood (apricot, juniper, nut tree). In ancient times strings were made from animal intestines, nowadays silk threads or synthetic materials are used.

Stringed bow instrument (kyl-kiyak or kiyak) with a sound reminiscent of human voice, has the shape of a bucket, with an open upper half, and the bottom partm covered with camel skin. It is made from the same types of wood as komuz. The instrument has two strings and a bow called jaa. Horsehair is used for strings and bow. Meadowsweet (spiraea plant) is used for the bow.

Temir-komuz (plucked mouth instrument) is made exclusively from metal (temir). It is a U-shaped instrument, 6-7 cm long. The material used to make this instrument has long been brass, copper or bronze. Mostly, women play the temir-komuz. A special wooden case with carved ornaments is made for the instrument when it is manufactured.

Sybyzgy pipe is one of the ancient wind instruments. It is an open longitudinal flute with a closed second end, 45 centimeters in length, with 4 to 10 apertures. Such instrument, made of copper, is called jez nai.

Chopo choor (clay choor), whistle

Choor is a wind instrument with four holes and is a variation of the flute. The instrument was widespread among the shepherds, most often played at folk festivals. Its length is about 70 centimeters and has a mouthpiece made from animal horn or bone. In order to prevent deformation of the instrument, it is strengthened from within with a ramrod. Previously, masters made it only from honeysuckle or thistle. Nowadays they also use apricot tree.

Chopo choor (clay choor), whistle, a type of Kyrgyz folk wind instrument, can have any shape and is approximately 20cm in length and 8cm in width. It is often used as a child’s musical instrument, on which short melodies are played. It is made of white or red clay

Dobulbash is a traditional percussion instrument. It is one-sided frame drum of round shape, covered with a camel or horse skin. Ends of the wooden rim are fixed with leather cords. The carcass is made of juniper, willow or brittle willow (salix fragilis). The height of traditional dobulbash is 55-70 centimeters and diameter is 37-55 centimeters. The sound is extracted by impact of the handle of kamchy (lash) or palm. Nowadays two sticks with felt tips are used. The sound of dubulbash served as a signal in military campaigns and was also used in training of soldiers or in sacred religious events, as well as during hosting distinguished guests. This instrument is mentioned in folk oral epic Manas as well.

In Kyrgyzstan, musical instruments of famous masters are preserved as relics and kept by families at the most honorable place. The Masters are Chalagyz Imankulov, Nuraly Tilebaliev and Orozobay Kenchinbayev.

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