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Music of Kazakhstan: Wikis

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Postage stamp depicting a dombra, the most popular traditional musical instrument of Kazakhstan

The modern state of Kazakhstan is home to the Kazakh State Kurmangazy Orchestra of Folk Instruments, the Kazakh State Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kazakh National Opera and the Kazakh State Chamber Orchestra. The folk instrument orchestra was named after Kurmangazy, a famous composer and dombra player from the 19th century. Other Kazakh composers include Korkyt, Tattimbet, Sougur, Bayserke, Makhambet, Khazanghap, Yerkegali Rakhmadiev, Almaz Serkebayev, Mukhan Tulebayev, Tles Kazhgaliev, Nagim Mendygaliev, Akhmet Zhubanov, Ghaziza Akhmetkhysy Zhubanova, Mansur Sagatov, and Akhtoty Raimkulova.

Russian and Soviet-era music

Controlled by the Russian Empire and then the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan's folk and classical traditions became connected with ethnic Russian music and Western European music. Prior to the 20th century, Kazakh folk music was collected and studied by ethnographic research teams including composers, music critics and musicologists. In the first part of the 19th century, Kazakh music was transcribed in linear notation. Some composers of this era set Kazakh folk songs to Russian-style European classical music.

The Kazakhs themselves, however, did not write their own music in notation until 1931. Later, as part of the Soviet Union, Kazakh folk culture was encouraged in a sanitized manner designed to avoid political and social unrest. The result was a bland derivative of real Kazakh folk music. In 1920, Aleksandr Zatayevich, a Russian official, created major works of art music with melodies and other elements of Kazakh folk music. Beginning in 1928 and accelerating in the 1930s, he also adapted traditional Kazakh instruments for use in Russian-style ensembles, such as by increasing the number of frets and strings. Soon, these styles of modern orchestral playing became the only way for musicians to officially play; Kazakh folk was turned into patriotic, professional and socialist endeavours [1]. The current situation could be described as the effort to rediscover the traditional music as it had been practiced before the heavy influence of european musical styles.

Musical institutions

The Musical-Dramatic Training College, founded in 1931, was the first institute of higher education for music. Two years later, the Orchestra of Kazakh Folk Musical Instruments was formed [2]. The Foundation Asyl Mura is archivating and publishing historical recordings of geat samples of Kazakh music both traditional and classical. The leading Conservatoire is in Almaty, the Qurmanghazy Conservatoire. It currently competes with the national conservatoire in Astana, Kazakhstans capital.

Musical traditional instruments

The most popular traditional instruments are string instruments. First of them is the Dombra, a long necked lute with (originally) two strings tuned in the interval of a fifth. The other instrument playing an important role is the Qobyz, which belongs to the fiddle instruments made of carved wood for the body, animal skin for the resonator, and horse hair for the strings, and the bow. The Qobyz is said to have been invented by the legendary shaman Qorqyt, long before the medievial ages. The "Zhetigen" ("Seven strings") could be seen as a member of the cither family, finding equivalents in China, with the strings being divided each in two parts of different lengths, the bridge being movable and consisting of small bone.

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