Almaty or Bust!

Central Asia in Words and Pictures


You might be asking, what kinds of instruments do they use in Central Asian music? You might also be asking, what kinds of people create such music? Well, the following pages will attempt to answer these two questions. Here you'll find photos of instruments, singers, performances, and just about anything else I can add to give you, dear reader, an idea of what Central Asian music and musical culture looks like.

I must add that I've taken the bulk of these photos from other web sites--some commercial, some governmental, some press, and some private. I will attempt to give full credit (with a link) to each site I've borrowed pictures from. If you own the rights to a particular photo and don't want me to use it, just email me and I'll remove it. However, before you do that, please keep in mind that this is a not-for-profit site; I created this to spread the world about Central Asian music, and I'm not gaining anything from using your picture.

With that, I'll shut up and let the pictures do the rest of the talking. First up: a photo of musicians in Samarkand, circa 1900. This is courtesy of the United States Library of Congress' "The Empire That Was Russia" online exhibit (one of the most fascinating web sites you're likely to find).

Notice the stringed and wind instruments, along with the large drum. All of these instruments are traditional in most Central Asian musical cultures, though there are variations among the different groups. In Samarkand (and, indeed, in most areas that are today part of Uzbekistan), the stringed instruments include the dutar and the tanbur, while one of the more common wind instruments in Central Asia is called a ney.

Forward to....Afghanistan

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