Komuz
Overview
 
The komuz or qomuz Azeri
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

 Gopuz, Turkish Kopuz, is an ancient fret
Fret
A fret is a raised portion on the neck of a stringed instrument, that extends generally across the full width of the neck. On most modern western instruments, frets are metal strips inserted into the fingerboard...

less string instrument
String instrument
A string instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. In the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification, used in organology, they are called chordophones...

 used in Central Asian music, related to certain other Turkic
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

 string instruments and the lute
Lute
Lute can refer generally to any plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back, or more specifically to an instrument from the family of European lutes....

.

It is the best-known national instrument and one of the better-known Kyrgyz national symbols. The komuz is generally made from a single piece of wood (usually apricot
Apricot
The apricot, Prunus armeniaca, is a species of Prunus, classified with the plum in the subgenus Prunus. The native range is somewhat uncertain due to its extensive prehistoric cultivation.- Description :...

 or juniper
Juniper
Junipers are coniferous plants in the genus Juniperus of the cypress family Cupressaceae. Depending on taxonomic viewpoint, there are between 50-67 species of juniper, widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere, from the Arctic, south to tropical Africa in the Old World, and to the...

) and has three strings traditionally made out of gut, and often from fishing line in modern times.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
The komuz or qomuz Azeri
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

 Gopuz, Turkish Kopuz, is an ancient fret
Fret
A fret is a raised portion on the neck of a stringed instrument, that extends generally across the full width of the neck. On most modern western instruments, frets are metal strips inserted into the fingerboard...

less string instrument
String instrument
A string instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. In the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification, used in organology, they are called chordophones...

 used in Central Asian music, related to certain other Turkic
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

 string instruments and the lute
Lute
Lute can refer generally to any plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back, or more specifically to an instrument from the family of European lutes....

.

It is the best-known national instrument and one of the better-known Kyrgyz national symbols. The komuz is generally made from a single piece of wood (usually apricot
Apricot
The apricot, Prunus armeniaca, is a species of Prunus, classified with the plum in the subgenus Prunus. The native range is somewhat uncertain due to its extensive prehistoric cultivation.- Description :...

 or juniper
Juniper
Junipers are coniferous plants in the genus Juniperus of the cypress family Cupressaceae. Depending on taxonomic viewpoint, there are between 50-67 species of juniper, widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere, from the Arctic, south to tropical Africa in the Old World, and to the...

) and has three strings traditionally made out of gut, and often from fishing line in modern times. In the most common tunings the middle string is the highest in pitch. Virtuosos frequently play the komuz in a variety of different positions; over the shoulder, between the knees and upside down. An illustration of a komuz is featured on the reverse of the one-som note
Kyrgyzstani som
The som is the currency of the Kyrgyz Republic in Central Asia. The ISO 4217 currency code is KGS. The som is sub-divided into 100 tyiyn...

.

Playing style

The komuz can be used either as accompaniment or as a lead instrument and is used in a wide variety of musical styles including aytysh
Aytysh
Aytys or Aytysh is a song competition held between two aqyns. Each usually strums a national instrument , and they respond to each other in spontaneous rhyming verse on a range of topics...

 (a song competition between akyn
Akyn
Akyns or aqyns are improvising poets and singers in the Kazakh and Kyrgyz cultures. Akyns differs from the so-called zhiraus, who are epic storytellers and a song performers. Akyns improvise in the form of a song-like recitative to the accompaniment of a dombra or a qomuz...

s) and the recitation of epics. It is generally played seated, held horizontally and may be strummed or plucked. One piece ("mash botoy") consists of a simple tune repeated many times, each with a new stroke, as a test of the performer’s skill and creativity. The komuz has many different tunings, and the names of the tunings correspond with various styles of music.
Kambarkan d-a-d
Kerbez e-a-e
Shingrama d-a-e
Ongu e-a-b
Ters d-a-g
(unknown) d-d'-a

History

The word komuz is cognate to the names of other instruments in the Music of Central Asia
Music of Central Asia
Central Asian music encompasses numerous different musical styles originating from a large number of Asian cultures. Central Asian music most often uses the pentatonic scale....

, including the Kazakh
Kazakhs
The Kazakhs are a Turkic people of the northern parts of Central Asia ....

 kobyz
Kobyz
The Kobyz or kyl-kobyz is an ancient Kazakh string instrument. It has two strings made of horsehair. The resonating cavity is usually covered with goat leather....

(Uzbek
Uzbeks
The Uzbeks are a Turkic ethnic group in Central Asia. They comprise the majority population of Uzbekistan, and large populations can also be found in Afghanistan, Tajikstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Pakistan, Mongolia and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China...

 qo'biz) (bowed instruments), and the Tuvan
Tuvans
Tuvans or Tuvinians are Turkic peoples living in southern Siberia. They are historically known as one of the Uriankhai, from the Mongolian designation...

 and Sakha
Sakha language
Sakha, or Yakut, is a Turkic language with around 360,000 native speakers spoken in the Sakha Republic in the Russian Federation by the Sakha or Yakuts.Sakha is an agglutinative language, and it employs vowel harmony.-Classification:...

 or Yakut xomus (a jaw harp).

The oldest known komuz-like instrument dates from the 4th century although the related Azerbaijani
Azerbaijani people
The Azerbaijanis are a Turkic-speaking people living mainly in northwestern Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as in the neighbourhood states, Georgia, Russia and formerly Armenia. Commonly referred to as Azeris or Azerbaijani Turks , they also live in a wider area from the Caucasus to...

 gopuz is believed to date back to 6000 BC following an archaeologicial discovery of clay plates depicting gopuz players. In the 1960s American archeologists working in the Shushdagh mountains near the ancient city of Jygamish in southern Azerbaijan , uncovered a number of rare clay plates which dated back to around 6000 B.C. which depicted musicians at a council, holding a komuz-like instrument to their chests. The golcha gopuz was mentioned in the ancient epic Book of Dede Korkut
Book of Dede Korkut
The Book of Dede Korkut, also spelled as Dada Gorgud, Dede Qorqut or Korkut-ata , is the most famous epic stories of the Oghuz Turks The stories carry morals and values significant to the social lifestyle of the nomadic Turks and their pre-Islamic beliefs...

.

The names of parts of the komuz are often allusions to body parts, particularly of horses. For example, the neck is called mojun "neck", the tuning pegs are called qulɑq, or "ear"s. The Kyrgyz word кыл/qyl means "string of an instrument" or "horse's hair".

The ancient komuz generally had two or three strings. The three-stringed golcha gopuz was more popular in ancient Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

 and Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

: the two-stringed gil gopuz or "iklygwas" was used on the Altai
Altai Republic
Altai Republic is a federal subject of Russia . Its capital is the town of Gorno-Altaysk. The area of the republic is . Population: -Geography:...

 plains, in parts of Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

 and in Chinese territory inhabited by the Uyghur people
Uyghur people
The Uyghur are a Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia. Today, Uyghurs live primarily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China...

.

The golcha gopuz is made from a leather
Leather
Leather is a durable and flexible material created via the tanning of putrescible animal rawhide and skin, primarily cattlehide. It can be produced through different manufacturing processes, ranging from cottage industry to heavy industry.-Forms:...

 covering which covered around two-thirds of the surface, and the other third is covered with thin wood along with the sound board. The total length of the instrument is 810 mm, with the body 410 mm, the width 240 mm and the height or breadth only 20 mm.
The (oːz qoˈmuz, literally "mouth komuz") or, alternatively, (temir qoˈmuz, literally "metal komuz" or "iron komuz"), is a jaw harp and as an instrument is unrelated to the komuz.

Various myth
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

s exist about the komuz. One tells that the hunter Kambarkan was wandering in the forest when he heard a beautiful sound. He looked for the source and found the intestine of a squirrel
Squirrel
Squirrels belong to a large family of small or medium-sized rodents called the Sciuridae. The family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots , flying squirrels, and prairie dogs. Squirrels are indigenous to the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa and have been introduced to Australia...

 tied between two tree branches, which he took and fashioned into a musical instrument. It is also said that the nightingale
Nightingale
The Nightingale , also known as Rufous and Common Nightingale, is a small passerine bird that was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family Turdidae, but is now more generally considered to be an Old World flycatcher, Muscicapidae...

 learned to sing by copying the komuz. The name is believed to have been derived from the ancient Turkic words "gop" meaning height and "uz" meaning voice, or magic music sound.

Different variations of the komuz spread to several eastern European countries such as the Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 during the 4th-5th century A.D, during the mass migration
Human migration
Human migration is physical movement by humans from one area to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups. Historically this movement was nomadic, often causing significant conflict with the indigenous population and their displacement or cultural assimilation. Only a few nomadic...

 of the Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

 into the region. There they became known with similar variations of the name. (See : kobza
Kobza
The kobza is a Ukrainian folk music instrument of the lute family , a relative of the Central European mandora...

)

In Dagestan
Dagestan
The Republic of Dagestan is a federal subject of Russia, located in the North Caucasus region. Its capital and the largest city is Makhachkala, located at the center of Dagestan on the Caspian Sea...

 (a Russian republic between Chechnya
Chechnya
The Chechen Republic , commonly referred to as Chechnya , also spelled Chechnia or Chechenia, sometimes referred to as Ichkeria , is a federal subject of Russia . It is located in the southeastern part of Europe in the Northern Caucasus mountains. The capital of the republic is the city of Grozny...

 and the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

, just east of Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 in the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

) a special instrument mentioned in both the Vertkov's Atlas SSSR, and in Buchner's book, is called agach komus, or temur by the Avar
Caucasian Avars
Avars or Caucasian Avars are a modern people of Caucasus, mainly of Dagestan, in which they are the predominant group. The Caucasian Avar language belongs to the Northeast Caucasian language family ....

 people. It seems a kind of slender guitar with 3 strings, with a body (carved from one block of wood) shaped like a spade and fitted with a trident-like spike at the lower end.

The Qanbūs
Qanbus
A qanbūs or gambus Yemeni migration saw the instrument spread to different parts of the Indian Ocean. In Muslim Southeast Asia , called the gambus, it sparked a whole musical genre of its own. Today it is played in Johor, South Malaysia, in the traditional dance Zapin...

 of the Arabian and Malay peninsulae is considered by Sachs to derive its name from the komuz. The five-string kopuz is also thought to have transformed into the six-string instrument known as the sestar or seshane by 13th-century mystic Rumi. The word "sestar" is mentioned in the poems of the 14th-century poet Yunus Emre
Yunus Emre
Yunus Emre was a Turkish poet and Sufi mystic. He has exercised immense influence on Turkish literature, from his own day until the present...

. Evliya Çelebi
Evliya Çelebi
Evliya Çelebi was an Ottoman traveler who journeyed through the territory of the Ottoman Empire and neighboring lands over a period of forty years.- Life :...

 describes the kopuz as a smaller version of the seshane.

During the Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 era the instrument fell from favour. It was derided as rudimentary and attempts were made to make it more like the Russian
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 balalaika
Balalaika
The balalaika is a stringed musical instrument popular in Russia, with a characteristic triangular body and three strings.The balalaika family of instruments includes instruments of various sizes, from the highest-pitched to the lowest, the prima balalaika, secunda balalaika, alto balalaika, bass...

, notably by adding fret
Fret
A fret is a raised portion on the neck of a stringed instrument, that extends generally across the full width of the neck. On most modern western instruments, frets are metal strips inserted into the fingerboard...

s. After independence the komuz was again taught in music colleges, though some of the Soviet changes have remained.

In the twentieth century the late Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ian dutar
Dutar
The dutar is a traditional long-necked two-stringed lute found in Iran, Central Asia and South Asia...

 player Haj Ghorban Soleimani
Haj Ghorban Soleimani
Haj Ghorban Soleimani was a celebrated dotar player and vocalist from Iran. Dotar or Dutar is a form of Central Asian lute. He was also the pioneer of a new model of the ancient stringed Azeri instrument the gopuz.-Biography:...

 invented a new form of the komuz which has received some popularity.

Media


External links


See also

  • Music of Central Asia
    Music of Central Asia
    Central Asian music encompasses numerous different musical styles originating from a large number of Asian cultures. Central Asian music most often uses the pentatonic scale....

  • Bağlama
    Baglama
    thumb|180px|Cura and bağlamaThe bağlama is a stringed musical instrument shared by various cultures in the Eastern Mediterranean, Near East, and Central Asia....

  • Saz
    Baglama
    thumb|180px|Cura and bağlamaThe bağlama is a stringed musical instrument shared by various cultures in the Eastern Mediterranean, Near East, and Central Asia....

  • Lute
    Lute
    Lute can refer generally to any plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back, or more specifically to an instrument from the family of European lutes....

  • Dutar
    Dutar
    The dutar is a traditional long-necked two-stringed lute found in Iran, Central Asia and South Asia...

  • Dombra
    Dombra
    The dombura is a long-necked lute popular in Central Asian nations...

  • Pandura
    Pandura
    The pandura is an ancient Greek string instrument from the Mediterranean basin.It is derived from pandur, a Sumerian term for long-necked lutes...

  • Gadulka
    Gadulka
    The gadulka is a traditional Bulgarian bowed string instrument. Alternate spellings are "gudulka" and "g'dulka". Its name comes from a root meaning "to make noise, hum or buzz"...

  • Gusle
    Gusle
    The Gusle is a single-stringed musical instrument traditionally used in the Dinarides region of the Balkans ....

  • Rebab
    Rebab
    The rebab , also rebap, rabab, rebeb, rababah, or al-rababa) is a type of string instrument so named no later than the 8th century and spread via Islamic trading routes over much of North Africa, the Middle East, parts of Europe, and the Far East...

  • Kamancheh
    Kamancheh
    The kamānche or kamāncha is a Persian bowed string instrument related to the bowed rebab, the historical ancestor of the kamancheh and also to the bowed lira of the Byzantine Empire, ancestor of the European violin family. The strings are played with a variable-tension bow: the word "kamancheh"...

  • Cretan lira
  • Kobyz
    Kobyz
    The Kobyz or kyl-kobyz is an ancient Kazakh string instrument. It has two strings made of horsehair. The resonating cavity is usually covered with goat leather....

  • Temir komuz
    Temir komuz
    The temir komuz can be introduced as a Kirgiz jaw harp, while the komuz is another kind of musical instrument, a 3-stringed fretless lute...

  • Agiz komuzu
    Temir komuz
    The temir komuz can be introduced as a Kirgiz jaw harp, while the komuz is another kind of musical instrument, a 3-stringed fretless lute...

  • Gubuz
    Temir komuz
    The temir komuz can be introduced as a Kirgiz jaw harp, while the komuz is another kind of musical instrument, a 3-stringed fretless lute...

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