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Xinjiang Uyghur Muqam
By admin on 2015-01-14

The Xinjiang Uyghur Muqam is the general term for a variety of Muqam practices widespread among people in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonmous Region. Xinjiang Uyghur Muqam is a composite of songs, dances, folk and classical music, and is characterized by a diversity of content, dance styles, musical morphology and instruments.

The lyrics contain not only folk  but also poems written by classical Uyghur masters. Thus, the songs reflect a wide range of styles such as poetry, proverbs, folk narratives and popular topics such as the praise of love and contemplation of life, reflecting the history and contemporary life of Uyghur society.

The music of the Uyghur Muqam is characterized by variations musical patterns, indicating a close affinity with the musical culture of China's central plains. The dancing skills involve unique steps, rhythms and formations as well as figures such as flower-picking-by-mouth, bowl-carrying-on-head and imitation of animals in solo dances.

The Xinjiang Uyghur Muqam has developed four main regional styles, namely the Twelve Muqam, Turpan Muqam , Hami Muqam and Dolan Muqam.

Twelve Muqam
Declarer: Xinjiang Uygur Autonmous Region
Twelve Muqam is known as the "mother of Uygur music." Legend has it in the mid-16th century, aided by other musicians, the imperial concubine Amannisahan of the Yarkant Kingdom, who was also an esteemed poetess and musician, devoted all her efforts to collecting and compiling Muqam music, which was then scattered across areas populated by Uygur. She finally worked out 12 grand, yet light and entertaining compositions that are now known as the Twelve Muqam.

The Twelve Muqam consist of sung poetry, stories, dance tunes and instrumental sections. Some of the lyrics of the Muqam are drawn from the great Central Asian Chagatay poets.

After the founding of new China (1949), the local government of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region made every effort possible to preserve the Twelve Muqam. The whole set of the Twelve Muqam consists of 360 different melodies and takes over 24 hours to play in full.

Turpan Muqam
Declarer: Shanshan County, Xinjiang Uygur Autonmous Region
Each of the Turpan Muqam generally corresponds to one mode, and each is about thirty minutes in length. Although no information on its historical transmission is currently available, musically there is much to link the Turpan Muqam to the chong n?ghm? of the Twelve Muqam.

While the section names differ, there is correspondence in overall structure, rhythmic cycles and melodic material. The preferred instrument for the Turpan Muqam is the satar bowed lute, dutar, chang and dap frame drum accompanying voices.

Hami Muqam
Declarer: Hami Region, Xinjiang Uygur Autonmous Region
Hami Muqam is a kind of large-scaleUyghur musical performance, including 12 sets of music and 258 songs. During the development process Hami Muqam absorbed many musical elements from China's central plains, central Asia and west Asia in the aspects of lyrics, style and structure.

Daolang Muqam
Declarer: Maigaiti County Xinjiang Uygur Autonmous Region
Daolang people live around the Great Takelamagan Desert that is called the "Sea of Death" in Sinkiang. In ancient times, it was cut off from the outside world, and production lagged behind, so hunting played an important role.

The dancing content of the Daolang Muqam is the whole process of Daolang People's hunting lives: During the overture, dancers lift their arms high, as if they are lifting the torch to light up thewildernessto hunt wild animals. In the main part, dancers perform as if using the language of hunting wild animals and in the end, the dancing team forms a square and dancers whirl cheerfully to show great joy after a successful hunt.

The distinguishing feature of Daolang Muqam music is that all sorts of instruments are played with energy and people sing in different styles loudly and without restraint. They don't follow each other in melody. But overall, there is no difference in the main melody. They singers harmonize and the musicians create multi-faceted music that is full of artistic appeal.

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