epic poems, Soviet government, musical traditions, lute, Vocal music
Vocal music is an important part of Kazakh life. Performers called aqyns carry on a tradition developed centuries ago by traveling storytelling musicians, who gave dramatic recitations of verse tales and epic poems in the form of song. Recitals by aqyns, and contests between them, continue to be popular and important events. Kazakhstan also has small ensembles of musicians who perform traditional Kazakh melodies using instruments such as the two-stringed dombyra (similar to a lute) and the three-stringed kobiz (like a viola).
Theaters in Kazakhstan’s cities offer opera and symphony performances. These musical traditions originated in Europe and reached Kazakhstan by way of Russia. During the Soviet period, the European musical style was emphasized in musical academies. The Soviet government generally did not promote an appreciation for the complex melodies of traditional Kazakh music.
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