Spring 2001 (9.1)
- World Treasure!
I would like to congratulate
Majnun Karimov on his work of reconstructing ancient musical
instruments, especially the stringed instrument called the Barbat.
I was very excited to come across the article about his work
on Azerbaijan International's Web site [AZER.com, Reconstruction
of Azerbaijan's Medieval Instruments, AI 5.4, Winter 1997].
Undoubtedly, he has returned a great treasure to the world!
I, too, have been studying and building ancient instruments (mostly
Far Eastern lutes directly related to the Barbat). It is a dream
come true not only to discover Majnun, but also to find a magazine
so dedicated to the Arts as yours. I would be so grateful to
learn more about his research.
I am Japanese-American and have lived about 18 years in Japan.
I am traditionally schooled in Japanese classical music. The
ancient instrument I play is called a "biwa"; it comes
directly from the Silk Road. The biwa has been in my family for
at least four generations; I began playing it at a young age.
I've spent the past 16 years traveling to many countries to visit
craftsmen, museums and artists. After researching, studying and
building ancient instruments that are indigenous to the Eastern
end of the Silk Road, how wonderful it would be to get a chance
to study instruments that originate from the Western end.
I hope to find a university open enough to let me continue my
study of ancient instruments and cultures so that one day I might
be able to become a professor of Ancient Instruments. So far
there are not many programs, let alone professors of Dr. Karimov's
ability, to be found anywhere in the world.
I'm wondering if Dr. Karimov has published any of his reconstructions
either in photos or journals, and whether he has made any musical
recordings with these instruments. As there are many students
who play ancient music, I'm wondering if it is possible to buy
one of his reconstructed Barbats or other ancient instruments.
And lastly, is it possible to visit, and/or study with him?
Editor: We contacted Majnun
Karimov via our Baku office and found him very willing to oblige.
He has almost finished the text of a 160-page book, of which
100 pages will be devoted to descriptions of Azerbaijani national
music instruments, and the remaining pages, to photos. The text
will be published in three languages - Azeri, English and Russian.
He is currently trying to identify sponsors for this work - a
culmination of 30 years of his own research - and he wants to
make the same material available on CD-ROM, with sound samples
to accompany each instrument.
As far as authentic replicas are concerned, he would be willing
to consider custom-making them for both foreigners and world
museums. He estimates that each instrument would take about 1.5
to 2 months to build. He is currently teaching "Introduction
to Ancient Instruments" for the Department of National Musical
Instruments at Baku's Music Academy, a class in which 15 students
are enrolled. And finally, "yes, of course," he would
be delighted to meet and consult with Mr. Hardy or anyone else
who has a deep interest in ancient music.
Contact Majnun Karimov. Tel/Fax: (99-412) 98-69-72, or
91-09-72 (home); 91-95-48 (work), or email Azerbaijan International
(9.1) Spring 2001.
© Azerbaijan International 2001. All rights reserved.
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