Music of Xinjiang

Music Of Xinjiang

Music of Xinjiang

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There is much variation in the music of Xinjiang, including unique regional differences in Ili, Kashgar, Khotan and Aksu Prefecture. The southern area includes the simple songs of Hotan, the dance-oriented music of the Kuga and the complexly rhythmic songs of the Kashgar. Ili has perhaps the most well-known musical tradition in Xinjiang, including a number of emotional tunes that are narrative in form.

The best-known musical form of the majority Uyghur people is the On Ikki Muqam, a complex suite of twelve sections related to Uzbek and Tajik forms. These complex symphonies vary wildly between suites in the same muqam, and are built on a seven-note scale. Instruments typically include dap (a frame drum), hammered dulcimers, fiddles and lutes; performers have some space for personal embellishments, especially in the percussion. However, there is much variation on the number and kind of instruments used in the performance of a muqam. In November 2005 the Art of Uyghur Muqam was named a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

The sanam tradition is a kind of dance music popular among the Uyghurs, while spoken songs like Maida, Eytishish and Qoshaq are popular love songs with simple tunes.

The most popular performer of recent times is Turdi Akhun, who recorded most of the muqams in the 1950s. A regional popular music industry arose in the 1980s, alongside Deng Xiaoping's loosening of cultural restrictions. The resulting pop industry produced...
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