In researching traditional Turkmen instrumental music the writer has used the work of K Sachs, E Hornbostel, W Bachman, B Asafyev, V Belyayev, F Karomatov, T Vyzgo and Sh. Gullyyev, whose methodical basis I have used in discerning the specific features of Turkmen music.
In the research, use has been made of records of Turkmen instrumental music made by folklorists during expeditions, of records kept at the Turkmenistan National Committee for TV and Radio, Central State Archives, the Musical Ethnographical Laboratory of Ashgabad Conservatoire, and also materials from folklore expeditions made by the author during the 1980s and 1990S.
These are divided into idiophones (gopuz), aerophones (khyzlavuk, shuishul, dilli-tuyduk) and chordophones (dutar, gidzhak).
Gopuz: reed-plucking musical instrument of the Turkmens, widely used by women and children. The body of the gopuz consists of two parts: a metal bar, bent into a crescent or triangular shape, with two parallel protruding ends, and a reed, the source of the sound, which is manufactured of high alloy spring steel. The wide end of the reed is fastened inside the arc, and the thin end passes through the two tines of the gopuz. The thin end is bent by 85-90 degrees forward for easy plucking.
Unlike those of some Turkic-speaking peoples (Tuva, Khakass, Yakut) which make parallel whistling overtones like a flageolet, this feature is absent among the Turkmen gopuz players.
Imitating certain natural sounds, the gopuz player often uses the tongue up to make sounds such as the galloping of hooves.
Of late Turkmen gopuz players have begun to imitate the techniques of northern peoples. This practice has been initiated by Muhammet Hojayev from Vekilbazar.
Khyzlawuk (or syzlavuk) - this is a childrens toy, consisting of rubber disk (it was earlier made of dry pumpkin skin or thick leather) with two holes in the centre through which a string passed. The strings are
pulled rhythmically producing a humming noise, hence the toy's name, khyzlawuk or hummer.
Zhulzhul - this is an instrument played
by children and is shaped like a mountain goat or bird, usually a
nightingale. It is similar to the Kazakh tas-tauyk (stone chicken) or uskirik. The instrument has two finger
holes, a blowing hole (uvlenyenyeri) and a hole for a shistling devise (ses chykyan yeri). The instrument has
a range of 5th-6th . By direct blowing only three sounds can be made but by blowing harder the range can be
doubled. It is easy to play and produces a whistling sound.
Dilli-tuyduk: these come in two kinds. In one, the reed end of the instrument is closed and in the other it is open. A reed is cut in the upper part of the pipe and 3 or 4 finger holes are cut on the upper part, at intervals of some 5-6mm. Its range is a 6thor 7th, from about fa in the first octave to re or mi in the second. Some sounds have to be made by overblowing or by partly exposing the finger holes. The dilli-tuyduk makes a penetrating sound and is used to play the tunes of Turkmen folk songs. Versions of song tunes in the form of ditties for the dilli-tuyduk start in a long drawn-out sound going into the main melody.
Gargy-tuyduk: this is a long reed flute whose origin, according to legend, is connected with Alexander of Macedonia, and a similar instrument existed in ancient Eygpt. Attention has been drawn to the possible origin of the instrument's name, gargy, from gargysh, gargamak, gargysha galmak and gargysh etmek among the Turkic people meaning "curse". There is also said to be a connection with Kargyra and Kharkhira, the style of guttural singing for two voices of the northern Turkic-speaking peoples (Khakass, Yakut and Tuva peoples). The sound of the gargy-tuyduk has much in common with the two-voiced kargyra. During the playing of the gargy-tuyduk the melody is clearly heard, while the lower droning sound is barely audible. The allay epic songs have been accurately described by the Turkologist N Baskakov who divides them into three main types:
a) Kutilep kayla, in which the second
sound is a light drone.
b) Sygyrtzip kayla, with a second whistling sound like the sound of a flute.
c) Kargyrlap kayla, in which the second sound can be defined as hissing. (N Baskakov, Altay folklore and literature.
Gorno-Altaysk, 1948, p.II). The sound of the Turkmen gargy-tuyduk is most like the Altay Kargyrkip kayla. The garg-tuyduk can have six Finger holes and a length of 780 mm or five finger holes and a length of 550 mm. The range of the garg-tuyduk includes three registers:
1) The lowest register - "non-working" - is not used during the playing of a melody.
2) The same as on the "non-working" register but an octave higher.
3) High register from mi of the second octave to ti.
Gidzhak. In the contemporary musical practice of the Turkmens the only stringed instrument played with a bow is the gidzhak. Similar instruments in the CIS are the Uzbek and Tajik gidzhak and the Azerbaijani and Armenian kemancha.
The word "gidzhate' is found in XIV-X-V centuries in the work "Kanz al-Tuhaf". In ancient Turkic the word "gipzhale' meant old wood. This is what is written in the "Oguznama": "While the ancient Turkic people called an old hollow tree a gypchak', they probably also called wooden instruments resembling that tree a 'gypchale too, and later a 'gydzhale."
According to some musicologists the gidzhak in Turkmenistan started being used only from the beginning of the XIX century. But the above quotes from the oguznama and also a poem by the poet Seydi where the instrument 'gydzhak' is mentioned may be evidence of an earlier use of this instrument among the Turkmens.
At the present day the Turkmens use gidzhaks of two types - three-stringed and four-stringed. The range of the traditional three-stringed gidzhak (i.e. with double first string) is the same as that of the dutar. The four-stringed gidzbak is mainly used in music schools of Turkmenistan for playing works of Russian and foreign classical composers and is also used in orchestras of folk instruments. The gidzbak player places importance on the use of melisma, grace notes, mordents and other ornamentation.
Famous Turkmen gidzbak players of past
and present include: Ali Syt, Khanmemmet Allanur ogly, Purli Sary, Oraz
Sary, Nury Sary, Orazberdi Gurbanmyrat ogly, Ata Ably, Chary Gurban.
Also well-known today are players of the four-stringed gidzhak A. Dzhulgayev,
M Saparova, A Soyunova, G Rakhimova, D Karayeva and others. Aman
Agadzhikov and other contemporary composers are producing new songs for
Dutar - the commonest and most popular musical instrument of the Turkmen people. It appears that the dutar and similar plucked stringed instruments were known in ancient times. Archaeological finds in Merv such as the "wandering bakhsbi" or the Toprak-kala manuscript with the picture of a girl musician (111-IV century) with two-stringed instruments are confirmation of this.
In Turkmen destans one finds the word "saz". This means either a tune or a musical instrument. The widely-known epic destans such as "G6rogly', "Shasenem - Garyp", "Asly-Kerem", and "Nejhep-Oglan" have been well-known among other peoples of the East as well as the Turkmens. It can be assumed that the word "saz" as a musical instrument is mostly used in Turkmen in the destans. And under their influence some classical poets have used the word as a synonym for dutar.
Yogyndan getirsin, yukadan yonsun
Sapy menek-menek, her yana donsun
Chalanda ustune bilbiller gonsun
Gosha dilli gyz sypatly saz boisun
Concerning the expression "tamdyrd'by which the dutar is known in some parts ofturkmenistan, according to Sh.Gullyyev "tamdyra" comes from tanbur. "tanbur-tambur-tambura-tamdyrd'.
It can be presumed that before the appearance of the word "dutar" in the XV Century in Turkmenistan this instrument was called 11 tanbur", "tambur" or "tamdyra". To quote from the XIV Century Turkmen poet Khusayynguly-murze:
Perdeter arkaly soz sozleyen tamdyramyn
Gulak sal, ol menin yurek syrymy beyan ediyer.
The dutar consists basically of three parts: body (kedi), neck (sap) with frets (perde) and lid (gapak). The body is made of mulberry wood, the neck of apricot wood stuck with 13 frets of metal wire. In the past the dutar had silk strings and the melodic string (lower first ) consisted of 8 silk strands spun by hand and the second string consisted of I 0. Metal strings came into use in the 1930s with the need to increase the sound of the instrument.
The republic's educational institutions nowadays use mainly reconstructed dutars which are of imperfect quality and can only with difficulty reproduce the colour of traditional medodies.
Now more use is being made of traditional dutars however, especially for major instrumental pieces such as "Kyrklar", "Saltyklar" and "Mukamlar".
Improvised instrumental variations of songs are common in Mary Oblast. Musicians of this area can play versions in different time and rhythm. This tradition also exists in Akhal. The song "Satashdym" played by dutarist P Saryyev differs greatly from that played by M Tachmuradov, although the two dutarists are pupils of the same player, Kel-Bakhshi.
In music the meaning of the term "makam" ("mukam", "makom", "mugam") has many different levels. The Turkmen mukams have not been given close attention. On reading the literature on the subject the following questions arise:
1. Why are particular songs mukams and
2. Are mukams different in form from other songs? if so, how? In the Turkmen musical heritage there are 9 songs in whose titles the word mukam is used. Of these, 5 are in the dutar repertoire and 4 in the tuyduk. Some say "Ybrayym", "Berkeli Chokai", "Ynzhytma" and "Neler gorundi" should be classed as mukams. However we have decided to limit ourselves to the above-mentioned 9 mukams:
1. "Gonurbash mukamy'; 2. "Gbkdepe mukamy'; 3. "Ayralyk mukamy'; 4. "Mukamiar bashy'; 5. "Erkeklik
and for tuyduk:
"Hüwdi mukamy'; "Lotular mukamy'; "Gelin mukamy'; "Toy mukamy'
It is possible that the word "mukam" came into Turkmen music from Iran or Azerbaijan. Nowadays the term "mukam" in Turkmen folk music signifies a group of developed instrumental pieces, pieces of music with a similar harmonic structure, or a complete performance of bakhsha and sazandar lasting some 10-12 hours. There are links between Turkmen music and the music of other peoples. The "Mukamlar bashy' and "Meshrep" appear in Uighur mukams, and the titles "Koche bagy' and "Torgay-gushiar" turn up in Uzbek music, as do the "Turkman kyuy' among the Kazakhs. The melody "Garadeli", favoured by the Karakalpaks, is associated with the name of the famous Turkmen musician Garadeli Goklen (I 800-1880). Some pieces of music bear the names of Turkmen tribes and clans. These are the "Yylgaylar", "Memish gbkleng", "Bayat iline", Ybrayym-shadilli" and "Saltyklar".
Yylgaylar. This is one of the smallyomut-dzhaparbay ethnic groups. According to People's Artist of turkmenistan A Akhmedov songs beginning with the words "Yylgaylarda bit gozel gordum" used to be sung to this kid of melody.
"Ybayym shadilli" or "Shadilli" - this is a purely instrumental work for dutar. The composer is not known for certain. The musician Yu Berdiyev attributes it to A Gonibekov, and the scholar N Khodzhageldiyev and folklorist A Akhmedov believe the melody "Shadilli" was composed by Shukur-bakhshi. On the other hand the researcher G Dovletov puts forward the hypothesis that there was a musician called "Yybrayym" and "shadilli" was his composition. In our view, the name is most likely directed lined with the Kurdish tribe Shadulu living in the neighbourhood of the Turkmens in the areas of Gochant and Burdzhurnt.
"Saltykla?-" is a work existing in several versions, belonging to different musicians. The famous musician Mylly Tachmuradov enumerates the following five: Dzhepbar-saryk, Shykhy-bakhshi, Gulpak-bashshi and Gulgeldi-ussa.
Various theories have been put forward concerning the origin of the word "Saltyk". In the opinion of M Kosayev "Saltyle' comes from the word "Seldzhule', and N Khodzhageldiyev and S Artykov see the name "Saltyle' as denoting dedication to a woman of advanced age or the dedication of a piece of music to one's tribe. A Durdyyev believes that this work belongs to the Turkmen poet Gurbanaly Magrupy.
We decided to try to find out what ethnic group the saltyk is associated with. Literary sources testify that the saltyk belongs to the Ersars. This is pointed out in the works of G Karpov and S Atanyyazov. The Turkmen classical poet Mollanepes in one of his poems ennimerates certain tribal groups of Turkmens, among whom he names the Saltyks:
Mukry, olam, sakar, saltyk, ersary hem garkyny / Garakolde sendey gozel ya-ha bolgay bolmagay. Or indeed - Yuz mun sakar, saltygym / Baryn kylar derbe dep.
So the "saltyle' melody can be said to be directly connected with the Ersar Saltyks. Melodies bearing the names of tribes and clans are found not only among the Turkmens but also in the music of the Kazakhs, Uzbeks, and other peoples. For example, Kurmangaza's "Aday'was dedicated to the Aday Kazakhs. Taking into account the whole process of formation of instrumental folk music song melodies of the following kinds have become instrumental ones:
1. Melodies of songs of everyday styles:
"Allalar balam", "Hiiwdi mukamy', "Goch egren", "Gyrmyzy kbynekli" etc.
2. Melodies of destans: "Kerem geldi", "Senem geldi", "Ol daglaryn", "Nezli yar" etc.
3. Melodies of songs using words by classical poets: "Hatyjd', "Och agach", "atashdym", "Owadan gelin" etc.
4. Melodies of songs known by the names of Turkmen clans and tribes: "Yylgaylar", "Saityklar", "Bayat iline" etc.
At the same time there are also purely instrumental melodies: "GonLirbash mukamyu", "BLirnyashak", "Ayralyk mukaniyu", "Toy mukamy', "Gelin mukamy" and others. Of the same type are melodies bearing the names of author musicians, often of famous bakhshi: "Ybrayym shadillill, "Durdy bakhshi", "Berkeli chokay', "Khazhgolak", "Yusup ovgan".
All this traditional instrumental music is still widely played in our time by Turkmen instrumentalists.
The material at our disposal enables us to affirm that pieces for dilli-tuyduk are distinguished by their stylistic unconventionality. In them a central place is occupied by pieces for voice and instrument based often on variations on an initial thematic structure whilst beginning with the drawing out of one sound for several beats. Most of the pieces tend to be monothematic. Only occasionally does one find pieces with two themes, especially contrasting ones.
Since the instrument's range is not wide most of the melodies are within the range of a fourth, fifth and sixth, with three-note or four-note scale patterns.
Pieces for gagry-tuyduk are distinguished
for their great variety and can be divided into three groups:
1. Pieces associated with different kinds of styles of song, according to circumstances or time (working, ritualistic songs etc;
2. instrumental versions of melodies and unconventional song styles;
3. pieces composed specially for gagry-tuyduk or often played on it, and therefore having acquired stylistic and other features conditioned by the performance potential of the instrument.
In all these three types each piece has a characteristic introduction.
Among pieces for tuyduk, the "Toy mukamy' is particularly well developed and requires a high degree of skill. In this piece there is wide use of all the technical potential of the instrument, specifically long and short trills, rests, softening and loudening of sounds, frequent drawing-out of sounds from one phrase to another.
The existence of purely instrumental pieces
alternating with variations of song melodies forms the basis of all Turkmen
instrumental music. In this regard pieces for dutar and gidzhak stand
The repertoire of the virtuoso dutar play M Tachmuradov and others convinces us that features of the folk song melody have become part of the works of melody composers. For instance, the song for dutar, "Yenish" ("Victory'), was created by M Tachmuradov on the basis of the folk song "Ak yuzli maralym". All the instrumental pieces for gidzhak and dutar start with a kind of introduction of 4-5 or more beats. This serves as it were to define the basic time and beat of the work.
These introductions also play an important part in the process of the shape the work assumes. Appearing in various sections throughout the piece, they act as "sound pauses".
The variety of melodic ornamentation -yanlandyrmak, gapaga syrmak, dyrnachaklamak, sekdirmek, agsakladmak, yabaklamak, shelpe, gyruv, chirtiv, and also trills, turns, grace notes of various kinds, mordents, and pizzicato become important means of expression in dutar and gidzbak music.
In Turkmen traditional vocal and purely instrumental music, in the process of centuries of its development, certain beats have been worked out. Here are some examples:
2 1 1 5 2 3
4 2 2
- = - + -; - = - + - (or vice-versa) -=- + -
8 8 8 8 8 8
3 1 1 1 6 3 3 7 4 3 3 3 1
- = - + +-;- = - + -; - =- + - or - + - + -;
8 8 8 8 8 8 3 8 8 8 8 8 8
2 1 1 3
1 1 1 11 3
-=- + -; -=- + - + -; ___ = - + - + -;
4 4 4 4 4 4 4 8 8 8 8
As to rhythm, its complexities
have been described by many scientists. In particular, V Belyayev wrote:
the rhythm of their musical works is somehow concealed within the music
itself, enlivening it like the beating of an internal life pulse ...
Thanks to this, Turkmen music, with regard to rhythm, is very free and has ample potential to combine within one and the same work various rhythms, sometimes with a capricious and whimsical sequence. The rhythms of Turkmen music, often very complex in themselves, (never mind the complexity of their combinations) pose a tremendous difficulty for those writing down Turkmen music." In the single dutar piece, "Nagysh" as played by M Tachmurad the rhythm changes 21 times, forming various blocks of rhythm, rhythm bars and semi-bars.
The most frequently-encountered
modes in Turkmen traditional music are:
1. Mode with augmented second - kyrklar ("Dilim-gyrk", "Selbinyaz-gyrk", "Mendag-gyrk", "Kecheli-gyrk",
"Dovletyar-gyrk", "Garry-Gyrk", "Yandym-gyrk")
2. Novayv mode, coinciding with scale of the Aeolian mode.
3. Yrak-novayy mode with scale coinciding with Dorian or Dorian-Mixolydian scale.
4. Mode with scale coinciding with Dorian-Lokrian scale.
5. Mode with scale coinciding with Phrygian scale.
6. Mode with scale coinciding with Phrygian-Lokrian scale.
7. Shirvan-perde mode, coinciding with incomplete scales of the Dorian, Phrygian and Mixolydian harmonies.
In the harmonic structure of Turkmen music, as in that of many other oriental peoples, the neutral step - 11 and III - is especially important. It is slightly higher than respectively the II and III of the basic step. Also, transposition of theme, i.e. of the initial melodic structure, at various pitches, is common, especially in the repertoires of musicians of Mary velayat.
An important feature of the structure ofturkmen instrumental folk music is its proliferation of variations within the couplet structure of a piece of music. The instrumental variations of song melodies tend to have an irregular rhythm. This is due to the manifold improvisations used in the performance of songs - interjections, words and syllables which serve to extend the melodic structure. And in instrumental performance these features seem to have been carried over.
The main points of the thesis are covered in thefollowing works:
1. Saz eyler boldun gargytsan - 'Pamyatniki Turkmenistana journal Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan, 1982 No. 2.
2. Gosha kirshe dil bitende - 'Turkmenistanyn Yadygerlikleri journal Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan - 1986 No. 2.
3. Gyzha gyngecbmishi ve shu guni--Turkmenistan yadygelikleri journal Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan, 1986 No. 1.
4. Rovayatlar hem saz sungatymyz- 'Yashlyk journal 1987No. 10.
5 Halk sazymyz - baylygymyz - 'Yashlyk journal 1988 No. 4.
6 Shedele chagyryan deliller - 'Yasblyk journal 1991 No. 12.
translated by Richard Govett