Stringed instruments

Stringed instruments

Traditional stringed instruments of Kyrgyz people are Komuz and Kyl-Ky’yak. The difference between them is in the way of deriving the sound. Komuz is the pinch instrument, while Kyl-Ky’yak is the bow instrument. Playing Komuz, musician pinch or strike the strings forcing them to vibrate, playing Kyl-Ky-yak, musicians use a bow.

Komuz – is most popular stringed instrument. In south regions of Kyrgyzstan it called "chertmek" from the word "chert" – snap, tap. According to the legend, Komuz was first made by the ancient hunter Kambar, he also became first "Komuzchu"-the person who plays Komuz.

Komuz – has three strings, while the other Central Asian instruments of the same type have only two strings. Komyzchu – the perfomer, holds the instrument in horizontal position and plays usually sitting, rarely standing.

Traditional komuz has pear-shaped form and made of the entire piece of wood, often it is apricot wood, but sometimes nut or red tree wood. On the head there are three wooden chopping to hold the ends of the strings, the other ends are tied to leather tailpiece. On the sounding board of Komuz there is a resonator aperture, behind it, closer to tailpiece, there is a wooden string stand. Until 20th century the strings were made of sheep intestine, later it became possible to use factory made strings.

The size of Komuz is depends on local traditions and individual methodic of the maker, but generally the length of the body is 85-90 sm., width of the body is 20 sm., length of the neck is 35 sm., width 5 sm., length of the head 15 sm.

Kyl-Ky’yak – traditional stringed bow instrument, made of apricot or nut wood. It has two strings and a bow. Kyl-Ky’yak has scoop-shaped form and short slightly curved neck. On the oval head there are two wooden chopping. The upper part of the body is open, while the lower part is covered by camel leather. The length of the instrument is 60-70 sm., and width of the body is 16-20 sm. Strings were made of horse hair which were strengthen to leather tailpiece and then over the wooden string stand tied to chopping. Arch-shaped bow was made of mountain plant Spiraea.

Arsenal of performing receptions of "Ky’yakchy"- the performers, is not that rich as with Komuzchy. "Ky’yakchy"- holds the instrument in vertical position, keeping the lower part of the body on the knee and plays sitting. The bow holds from below, unscrew the right hand palm up. At the time of playing, the little finger slightly stretches the strings on bow. Fingers of the left hand do not press the strings but touch it as if extracting flageolets. Timbre of Kyl-Ky’yak is a soft and little bit hard of hearing.