Worship and Music - Ethnomusicology


Master of Arts (MA)


John L Benham

Primary Subject Area

Music; Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies


analysis, China, dutar, ethnomusicology, music, Uyghur


Uyghur dutar player Abdurehim Heyt is hailed by many Uyghurs as the Dutar King, referring to his mastery of the instrument. This thesis examines several of Heyt's songs and compares them with songs from three other Uyghur dutar players in an attempt to isolate and define the unique characteristic of Heyt's dutar playing technique that sets him apart from other Uyghur dutar players.

This study presents a brief examination of the concept of music ornamentation as it has developed in the West. The Uyghur concept of music ornamentation - purakh - is then explained and compared with the Western concept of ornamentation. A case is made for the similarity between the early concept of ornamentation in the West during the Renaissance and the current Uyghur concept of ornamentation.

The majority of this study is divided into two sections - transcription and analysis. A set of music analysis tools developed by Vida Chenoweth and Tom Avery provides a methodology foundation for both sections. Several computer programs are used to assist in the transcription of the instrumental portion excerpted from fourteen songs - eight from Heyt and two each from three other Uyghur musicians. All of the songs analyzed belong to the genre of Uyghur folksongs. Kenneth Pike's etic-emic concept is applied to the analysis phase with the analysis tools to identify ornamentation techniques and separate them from the basic melody.

The results of the study show that, in all of the areas analyzed save one, the dutar playing techniques used by all musicians were very similar. The one area where there was a striking difference between the dutar playing technique of Heyt and the other three musicians was in the extent to which Heyt played the drone string.