Memos from Asia

Introduction to Traditional Uzbek Classic Music

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Introduction to Traditional Uzbek Classic Music

Uzbekistan is home to the fascinating kind of music – classic songs. In Central Asia, classic music demonstrates the local nations’ spirit, life, and culture. It is the invaluable heritage of Uzbekistan and the pride of the nation.

Have you ever visited Uzbekistan? Now you can feel the culture of this Central Asian country by listening Uzbek classic songs.

Classic music in different nations

In the past, Central Asian nations such as Tajiks, Kyrgyz, Kazakhs, Uzbeks and Turkmens lived all together, which caused several similarities in performing music.

For instance, they all use similar musical instruments. Dutar (long-necked fretted lute), doira (flame drum) and ney (side-blown flute) were popular among local nations in the region.

Probably, you also have musical instruments that look like dutar, doira and ney in your country.

However, the existence of some similarities does not mean complete likeness. Tadjik classic music is famous for having various styles, Uyghurs’ music involves more irony than other nations’ songs, while Uzbek performers give special attention to the meaning of music. (

“Maqom” Art

The main part of Uzbek classic music is called “Maqom”. Maqom Art is a huge musical composition, which is different from other songs with high complexity, size and complex structure.

If you have never listened Maqoms, I highly recommend listening to it before listening to other classical music.

The text and meaning of Uzbek classic songs are taken from ghazals (old-style poems). Over the centuries, the languages changed moderate, which made Maqoms complicated and difficult to play compared to modern music.

Hence, only highly skilled and experienced music performers are encouraged to perform Central Asian Classic songs.

Awesome Shashmaqom

The pearl of Maqom Art is called “Shashmaqom”, which is composed of 6 sections. It was recognized as the “Masterpiece of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco in 2003. (Unesco, 2017)

Impact of the Soviet Union and Independence

Do you agree with me that one of the easiest ways to strengthen authority can be done by affecting the culture and history of the nation?

Despite having a rich and interesting history, the popularity of Classics music decreased in the mid of 20th century. The strong impact of the Soviet Union to the culture of Central Asian people caused a fall in both the development of Maqom Art and classic music.

However, the delivery of modern sound recorders by Soviets made it possible to save the higher-quality compositions of famous Maqom performers.

Afterwards, a declaration of independence from the Soviet Union opened excellent opportunities to develop the art and culture of the nations.

Newly established governments, especially Uzbekistan and Tajikistan made an effort to improve teaching and learning of Maqom Art.

Uzbek music events

When you visit Uzbekistan, do not forget about national festivals. Yes, rumours are true, Central Asian festivals including Uzbek Maqom Events are highly remarkable

Wonderful festivals and cultural forums make Uzbekistan even more beautiful and attractive. For instance, International Maqom Art Festival is among the biggest events related to classic music. Over 300 participants from different countries perform classic music and compositions.

Want to learn more about Uzbekistan’s culture? Here’s the book for you:

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