Wind instruments

Being the most ancient instruments, it has played an applied importance. Firstly it carried signal functions (calling up the people for some public actions or cattle moving to the pastures) and after artistic and aesthetic (rest, entertainment) functions. Long time ago the instruments of this group were included in war ensembles for the period of hostilities. In great epic of Kyrgyz people Manas, are mentioned performers on wind instruments, whose performance made a great emotional impression on audience. If the most of the instruments were used for some celebrations or court life (Surnai, Kernei), then wind instruments were an integral part of democratic environment.

Cho’or – Kyrgyz traditional longitudinal earphone, which is considered to be one of the oldest musical instruments. Performers on cho’or are called Cho’orchu. Cho’or was widely spread on the south of Kyrgyzstan as a pastoral instrument, while in the north it was not so popular.

Musical researchers attribute Cho’or to ancestral instruments, which have many varieties depending on the material used for producing, for example: "Chogoino cho’or" – made of thistle, "Kamysh cho’or" – made of cane, "Shilbi cho’or" – made of honeysuckle, "Sary djigach cho’or" – made of barberry, "Baltyrkan cho’or" – made of umbellate plants, "Djez cho’or" – made of cooper. But there is also another approach where for the base takes not the material but principles of construction. According to the latter distinguish traditional cho’or and modern one.

So ancestral varieties of cho’or dictate the length of body (tube), which can be 40-100 sm., and diameter 2-3 sm. This indexes also form pitch of the main tone. The number of apertures from 0 to 4.

Timbre of cho’or and its kinds is very specific – severally nasal, buzzing, mat, in upper tessutura – more lighter and clear. Herewith the one can hear hissing of air directed to the instrument by the performer.

Chopo cho’or – (made of clay) – family of Kyrgyz folk wind instruments. It was widely spread in the south agricultural regions of Kyrgyzstan and had different names – chopo cho’or, ylai cho’or. The form is arbitral. One of the most ancient samples from private collection is made of white clay, in form of the small sized ball; its height is a little more then five sm. There are three apertures in Chopo cho’or, two for playing, and one for air, all of them are placed in some special way in order to simultaneously cover the apertures with the lips and forefingers of both hands of the performer. The instrument is hold with the help of thumbs.

Folk "chopo cho’or" is simple in performance practice. Timbre is bewitching, soft and deep. Obviously that is why "chopo cho’or" can either be the musical toy for children or serious musical instrument in folk ensemble.

Sybyzgy – is the variety of Kyrgyz folk wind instruments. Unlike "cho’or", this aerophone is diametrical. Nevertheless, as well as "cho’or" it is represented with folk and modern types.

"Sybyzgy" is produced from different materials: wood of mulberry, apricot, barberry, reed or from cooper. Wooden instruments were secured with several metal rings. The length of the body is not constant, but around fifty sm., diameter at least 2 sm. There are 6-7 playing apertures in the body of traditional "sybyzgy" and around 10 in modern one. "Sybyzgy" has whistling , more clear and various, unlike the "cho’or", timbre and octave range of sounding in high tessuture.

One of the regional names of "sybyzgy" – Jenai (meaning made of cooper).

Surnai – is the variety of Kyrgyz folk wind instrument, representing trumpet with double cane, conic canal, playing apertures and faucet. The length of the instrument is 40-65 sm., mouthpiece – 4 sm., faucet diameter – 5-6 sm. Surnai is made of apricot or mulberry wood, or cooper. Cane itself represent flattened stalk.

So-called "Kamysh surnai" has more simple construction. It has only one cane, 3-4 playing apertures, and no faucet. The length of the body is 25 sm., diameter 0,8 sm. Surnai sound is very harsh and nasal.

In the past Surnai was used as the signal instrument, with the help of which the people were called up for the meetings or some ceremonies. Sometimes Surnai used in war instrumental ensembles. One professor wrote: " Surnai, in collective of percussive-wind ensembles had participated in campaigns, battles…served national holidays, sport games etc. But so wide possibilities were available only for professional musicians, more over playing surnai require large physical effort.

Nowadays surnai is almost ceased the existence, except for some south regions where is still possible to hear it.

Kernei – Kyrgyz wind musical instrument, which as well as Surnai was not modernised for ensembles or orchestras and exist in traditional form. This is especially signal or ceremonial instrument with powerful sound of piercing timbre. There are two kinds of kernei: Muiuz Kernei (made of horn of mountain goat), and Jez Kernei (made of cooper or brass). Both of them are very different instruments, but they are combined by lack of playing apertures.

Muiuz Kernei – is the ancient instrument, produced from curved horn of mountain goats. That is why the length of the instrument might varied from 30 to 40 sm. Muiuz Kernei do not have the mouthpiece and gives only a few sounds of thick, soft timbre.

Jez Kernei – is 1-2 m long longitudinal trumpet with/without a mouthpiece. Faucet diameter is 20 sm. Likeness of kernei with Uzbek and Uigur "karnai" is accounted by the territorial nearness of South Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan . The sound of Kernei is very strong, loud and intend for outdoor areas. Some time in the past Kernei’s applied function was restricted by notification of important events, to-day it is the attribute of national holidays.

The separate group of Kyrgyz aerophones represent the instruments, which considerably yield the main kinds of folk wind instruments by quality of timbre and artistic importance. They can be called as noise instruments. They were not produced by people, they exist in the nature and produce neither musical nor artistic sounds. They are: Chymyldak – produce squeak, Yshkyryk – whistle, Baryldak – under tongue aerophone, Chynyrtky – hunter’s quail call, Jalbyrak – "explosive" aerophone.