History of Music in Uzbekistan
History of Uzbek music

Since ancient times, on the territory of Uzbekistan various civilizations have developed, blossomed and fallen into decay, and left a deep mark on the history of world culture.

Concerning musical and theatrical art, which also has deep roots in past centuries, it was born in the midst of the multinational peoples of Central Asia. During the era of the Samanids (9th-10th cc.), rropewalkers and stilt walkers and performances of national comedians were developing. They slightly remind one of modern popular circus performances. Most vividly, these tendencies were shown in the creativity of the actors of the "Maskharaboz" theatre.

We know of the old musical traditions, also from monuments of the fine arts of culture during the Kushan period on which musicians are represented. One of them is presented on a frieze with string alpha-type musical instrument in hand, another with a wind musical instrument, similar to a flute, and the third with a bilateral drum of oblong form. From these facts it is possible to conclude that the Kushans and Sogdians knew the basic types of musical instruments and used them both solo and in ensemble.

In the 10th century, some kind of "Renaissance" occurred in Central Asia, meaning that Samanid cities such as Samarkand, Bukhara, Herat, Ghuranj and others become the leading scientific and cultural centers. Local traditions in all areas of science, literature and art were revived. A huge number of scientific and medical treatises were being created; treatises on music by Farobi, Ibn-Sino, Khorezmi and Fakhruddin Ar-Razi gained great importance, becoming a component in European musical - theoretical science which underwent brilliant development in the subsequent era.

The connection of Turkestan to Russia played a huge role in the development of Uzbek culture in the second half of the19th century.
Russian and Czech musicians who had came from Russia created musical courses, choral societies, symphonic orchestras and private musical schools. At the same time attempts at the first recordings of national melodies of Turkestan were undertaken.

The "Musical society", formed in 1882, was of huge importance in Tashkent and in four years the "Circle of fans (amateurs) of choral singing" named "Lyre" was created. Czech musician V.V. Lejsik became the Musical head of both societies. He lived in Tashkent and made a contribution to the development of musical art of pre-revolutionary Turkestan and the first decades of Soviet Uzbekistan.

Musical societies were engaged in huge educational activity, amateur performances and concerts were arranged and V.V. Lejsik, with the assistance of local musicians, recorded his interpretations of national songs, which he arranged for wind orchestras. So, for the first time national folklore started to be heard in the performances of the European musicians on a concert stage.
Thus the basis for the further development of the musical art of Uzbekistan was solidified.

We thank Musical Producer Ms. Nathalie Tsoy for her kind support and cooperation in this web-page development.

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