A largely desert country with large mountainous regions, music developed there in oases that became urban homes. In the west of the country (in Kashgar and Khotan), scholarly Uyghur music and the art of performing the muqâms are very close to Turkish-Persian practice and it has strong kinship with Uzbek music and Tajik music. In the east (in Kumul) the style approaches music chinese.
The Uyghurs, people Turkish, trace their musical lineage back to XIe century av. J.-C., at the time of the Di people. On the Buddhist frescoes of Kyzyl dating from Ve century, we see round or piriform lutes with long sleeves and groups of arched harp, zither, oboe, transverse flute, pan flute, mouth organ, hourglass drum, and idiophones. Chinese sources cite musical influences from the first Turkic-speaking peoples who settled in the region from the IXe century of our era; it is possible that the pentatonism found in China has a Turkish origin because many Turkish musicians played at the Emperor's Court.
This influence was accentuated with the founding of the khanate of Kashgar and the development of Islam. By the Silk Road, many ideas, instruments and styles were thus brought from west to east, from Central Asia to Central China. Now this music is also part of Chinese regional music.
Scholarly Uyghur music
The Uyghur muqâm was formed in XVIe century from various earlier distinct traditions (of Turkish-Mongolian origins) of which one can notice the perfect mix of fashions according to the influence of Iranian dastgâhs and Arab-Turkish maqâms. It was not transcribed and published until 1960 following a collection from its last representatives. The whole forms a musical marathon of more than twenty hours (similar to the maqôm or the nouba) with approximately 170 phases and 242 melodies. The muqâm Where mu ka mu ("Great melodies") are composed of sequences of songs ordered in a strict way; we distinguish the kashgar muqâm, Turpan muqâm, qumul muqâm, Ili muqâm and Dolan muqâm Where :
- The muqâm of Kashgar and Yarkand, with twelve modes (muqâm) heptatonic also called on ikki muqâm : Rak - Tchäbbiyat - Mushaviräk - Tchärigah - Pänjigah - Özhal - Äjäm - Oshaq - Bayat - Nava - Segah - Iraq. The muqâm also designates here a modal sequence in three parts (naghma) :
- bashi, chong nehgma Where qiongnai'eman ("Great melody"), vocal or instrumental prelude without rhythm, followed by short songs or danced, with instrumental interludes marghul.
- dastan Where dasitan, three to five popular or even folk narrative songs, of an epic character, punctuated and interrupted by marghuls.
- mäsräp, meshrep Where maixilaifu ("Reunion"), five to seven final songs to dance, very rhythmic and folkloric inspiration.
- Turpan's muqâm, sung to the accompaniment of satar, tembur, dutâr, chang and dap or to the naghra-sunay duet. It has nine modes divided into six sections:
- Ghezel, song not measured.
- Yalangchekit, slow rhythmic solo vocals (5/4 or 13/8).
- Jula, in 4/4, is a dance piece.
- Senem, in 4/4, another dance, faster.
- Nazirkum, an even faster dance.
- Seliqe, in 4/4, a moderate dance.
- Kumul's muqâm, very recent, is taken from a set of nineteen suites comprising between eight and seventeen folk songs in pentatonic mode, preceded by a muqeddime, an unmetered introduction. It is played on ghijak, rawap, chang and dap.
- Ili's muqâm is double because it consists on the one hand of a reduced version of theonikki muqâm and on the other hand from another suite of folk songs called Ili nakhshesi.
- Dolan's muqâm, also recent, sometimes called bayawan ("Desert") is very different although it is also played on dap, rawap, ghijak and kalong. There are improvisations and heterophonies rare in the region. It is interpreted in nine short dance suites or modes (penta, hexa or heptatonic) in five parts:
- Muqeddime, singing a cappella not measured.
- Chekitme, in 6/4, start of the dance part.
- Senem, in 4/4, fast dance.
- Seliqe, in 4/4, dance in a circle.
- Serilma, in 4/4 or 5/8, dance and trance in a circle.
It can be performed by a small vocal and instrumental ensemble as well as by the popular naghra-sunay (drum-oboe) duo; it is not reserved for an elite and is very often heard on the occasion of religious festivals. Other forms of instrumental music include theejem played tembur and dutâr and the tashway played rawap. Musicians like Rozi Tanburi or Abdulaziz Hashimov are famous.
Vocal music is very different depending on the region (heptatonic in the west and pentatonic or hexatonic in the east). It is represented by short songs assembled in sequence (yurushi) and listed by style such as qoshaq (declaimed poetry), the the per (musical comic theater), theeytshish (duo parlando) and the maddhi naghme (sung tale a cappella), which are ornate narrative songs performed to aksak rhythms.
There are also Sufi incantations sung during dhikr by Muslims, including chanting in falsetto hokmet. Here too, a series of songs are performed during rituals danced in groups. Sufi women called buwi have an extended function. Not only do they sing ritual songs monajat, but they also practice lamentations and exorcisms khetmes. The devout itinerant musicians are called ashiq Where qalender and also use various instruments to accompany their songs hokmet next to meshrep classic.
The dance music is called senem and consists of sequences of songs to dance (from six to thirteen) varying according to the regions but always with the same rhythmic structure ranging from slow to fast. Although the orchestration is variable, it is not uncommon to see the instrumental duo Naghra-Sunay here too, especially on the forecourt of the mosques, during the mystical dances. shadiyana and samâ '. Popular dances include nazirkom, at ussuli and ghaz ussuli. They often accompany large meetings (meshrep) popular or wedding ceremonies.
Shamanic exorcism music is still performed far from cities. The baqshi Where pirghun (bards) use songs and large daps drums.