KYRGYZ INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC
Kyrgyz instrumental music is called küü. For the Kyrgyz, a lack of lyrics does not imply an absence of a narrative, be it heroic, tragic, or comic. At all times, its theme should be clear to listeners. In Kyrgyz Instrumental Music (Society for Asian Music, New York, 1969), Mark Slobin notes of the music's programmatic nature:
"This basically involves the existence of a story line for each instrumental piece, either so well known to the audience as to need no announcement or specially provided for listeners by the performer through a verbal introduction."
Flamboyant gestures on the part of the performer may accentuate aspects of the tune's implied story. Kyrgyz instrumental performance tends to be an extrovert's art form, and visual tricks, such as playing the komuz over one's shoulder or between one's knees, are common practice. In the komuz repertoire especially (though not exclusively), the Kyrgyz have developed a genre which demands of its performers a high level of virtuosic skill on a seemingly primitive instrument. Indeed, it might be said in general of Kyrgyz instrumental music that the frequently remarkable musical ends seem contrary to the apparently rudimentary instrumental means.