Before looking at the popular music of the Uzbeks, it is important to understand who they are and their origin. Most of them live in the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic while the rest live in Northern Afghanistan.
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They were not originally part of Central Asia since the region was inhabited by Iranian-speaking people. They emerged as a separate group under Muhammad Shaybani Khan who was a Turkic prince and a descendant of Juch, the founder of the Golden Horde.
Uzbek folk music is basically divided into two categories. The first category is vocal music while the second one is instrumental. There is a wide diversity of folk songs that have emerged over years, most of which draw on daily life experiences.
They are therefore comprised of wedding songs, work songs, love songs, funeral songs, lullabies, epic songs, historical narrative songs and magical songs. Work songs portray the main occupations of the people of Uzbek. They are sung while sowing, weaving, threshing, harvesting and working with metal among other daily activities of the people of Uzbek.
Some of them support the contention of the current regime that the people of Uzbek were subjected to oppression under the old feudal social structure and were always optimistic of a better social order, an inspiration that was only fulfilled under the soviets.
The second type of Uzbek folk music is love songs. They use similes from nature to describe the individuals they talk about. They are usually sung in a lapar style which is a humorous dialogue between a girl and a boy, often in a competitive style. It is aimed at demonstrating the wit of the participants to each other and the spectators (Dickens 15).
The third type is comprised of ceremonial songs which are sung during important rites of passage. For example, Yaryar is a song sung during wedding ceremonies while Yighi is sung during times of lamentations.
Uzbek folk music is also comprised of lengthy epic narrative songs. Epic narratives combine legendary and historical material. Basically, the narratives are poems which are converted into music and may be performed for several nights, involving lengthy memorization on the part of the singers.
At times, they are sung unaccompanied while at other times the singers play a dombira. They are categorized into dast and dastan. In dastan, the singer recites all the contents of the song, but the material is not usually grouped into stanzas. The dast is usually a mixture of sung poetry and spoken prose.
Apart from the folk music of Uzbek, modern pop music in the country is also significant. The emergence of this type of music dates back to the 50s and 60s. Since then, it has been growing and gaining importance among the people of Uzbek. Uzbek pop music has been trying to cope with a difficult process of searching its unique style.
It is comprised of compositions whose style resembles that of techno-soul, rave, rap, Latin rock and reggae. In addition, artistes who specialize in this type of music blindly imitate oriental rock and European groups. In the recent past, it has been accumulating different intonations in terms of content and form. In this sense, positive experience with regard to the national art style interpretation has been observed.
It is important to note that modern pop music in Uzbek has been forming such tendencies like embracing art heritage and repertoires done by prominent singers. As a result, pop versions that represent classic music have been on the increase. In the recent past, this type of music has become common in various public ceremonies such as weddings.
During these ceremonies, traditional renditions of makom’s vocal parts done in pop styles and other vocal genres have been common. Such arrangements have been embraced by many television channels and radio stations (Mulladjanov 5).
There is a major difference between Uzbek folk music and modern pop music. As it is widely known, forms of festivity arts which emerged during the initial stages of the development of human civilization took an important part in the history of human beings. Portraying main principles of morality and ideological foundations that characterized individual historical periods, they always depicted national and religious significance.
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Modern pop music emerged at times when radical changes were common especially in public consciousness, specifically, when massive dissemination of secular opinions formed the basis of the changes. In such times, major transformations among urban populations took place.
On the other hand, individuals from the bourgeois class and emerging proprietors who possessed economic and political powers became common. At the same time, classes of industrial workers emerged. The classical art forms that were developed by members of the aristocracy were not accepted by many people.
This caused abandonment of the ancient folk culture which consequently led to the development of modern pop music. Contrary to the Uzbek folk music, it was characterized by aesthetic criterion in that it had the capacity to entertain. In addition, its form was simple and the content unsophisticated.
Dickens, Mark. Uzbek Music 2000. Web.
Mulladjanov, Davlat. Art Heritage in Uzbek Pop – Music 2012. Web.