Gopuz - a maiden talisman and a folk instrument

Gopuz – a maiden talisman and a folk instrument

Chankovuz, kubyzy, dan moi, shankobyz, gopuz, vargan or zubanka – all of these are just a small part of the names of a pagan musical instrument that has come down to us from ancient times.

In Turkmen families, girls were taught to play the gopuz from childhood. And until their youth, beauties carried it as a “musical talisman” that was always at hand. Ancestors believed that the vibrations that arise when playing have a healing effect and can have a beneficial effect on human health.

The range of the Turkmen gopuz is from the note do of the first octave to the note si, which allows you to play various rhythmic patterns, imitating the sounds of birds, hoof beats, and the combs of a carpet weaver while weaving a carpet.

The Turkmen gopuz consists of a metallic horseshoe-shaped base with parallel ends and a thin steel tongue attached in the middle. The player puts the instrument to their mouth and sets the tongue in motion by pinching the bent tip. The cavity of the mouth serves as a resonator, and by changing its volume, the performer amplifies the necessary harmonics.

In translation from Old Turkic, the word “gop” means high, elevated, and “uz” means voice. Overall, the meaning of the word is understood as “magical musical sound”.


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