A discussion of issues within transcription, and how these issues relate to a transcription of Turgun Alimatov performing on the setâh of Uzbekistan

This essay and transcription are the result of studies over the last year, into the music and culture of the region in Central Asia known as, the Independent State of Uzbekistan. Before the breakup of the former USSR in 1992 this country was known as the Soviet Socialist Central Asian Republic of Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan is situated in the region known to scholars of antiquity as Transoxania, this meaning ‘beyond the Oxus’ [see Levin 1996: xiii], the Oxus being the ancient name of the Kasha Darya river which runs through the west of the region.. It is known by present day cartographers as Central Asia and more specifically comprises the countries of Uzbekistan, Tajikstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgystan.

Uzbekistan itself lies in a vast territory of steppe, desert, mountain ridges, and riverine oases that had once been under the rule of Timur and Chingis Khan. [see Levin 1996: xiii] The name ‘Uzbekistan’ is a Soviet Russian invention, in so much as, it was created by political and cultural strategists of Communism, to instill a sense of nationality in the myriad tribes, and clans, which populate this region. These tribes, had not been collectively known as one nation since the time of Chingis Khan. [see Levin 1996: xiii] This can also be said for Uzbekistan’s geographical neighbors namely, Tajikstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, and for the same reasons, but at the hands of different social constructivists, Afghanistan.

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Alexander Roberts