Twelve Mu Ka Mu of Uygur Ethnic Group

The Uygur nationality has the good fame of proficiency in singing and dancing. Music and dance is one of the important indispensable contents in their daily life. As far as music is concerned, they have many types of folk music, among which the most developed is the singing and dancing music and dancing music. Besides that, there are also talking and singing music, instrumental music, folk songs and so on.

Twelve Mu Ka Mu (Twelve Great Melodies) is the excellent classical music of the Uygur nationality. If you go to Xinjiang, you will hear the fair sounding melodies of Twelve Mu Ka Mu wherever you go. At the time of harvest, great festivals or Maixilaifu (the musical parties on wedding day), you will see people happily singing and dancing along with the melodies of Mu Ka Mu played by Dutaer, Rewapu, Tanboer, Aijieke, Kalong, tambourine and other musical instruments, and permeated in the limitless happiness. Twelve Mu Ka Mu has close relationship with the daily life of the Uygur people.

Twelve Mu Ka Mu is the great music creation in the history of the Uygur people who are rich in music talent. At the beginning, it spread among the people in oral form, and was decentralized and out of order. Until the middle period of the 16th century, under the warmhearted organization and collection of the Yeerhan Princess- Amani Hansa, the embryonic form of the great music of Twelve Mu Ka Mu appeared. This great group of melodies with rigorous structure has diversified forms of literature and abundant tunes. It has not only melodious and pleasing classical narration tunes, but also the enthusiastic and unconstrained folk-dance music and smooth and graceful narration songs.

The whole melodies are totally divided into 12 great sets, each Mu Ka Mu has its different tone characteristics, and is also divided into Qiongnai’eman, Dasitan and Maixilaifu, totally three parts. “Qiongnai’eman” means “great melody”, begins with a scattered board orderly songs with deep emotion, and the “Taizi” closely follows it, after the paragraphs of “Nusihe”, “Saileke” and “Kala”, it reaches the climax with the exciting and warm “Sainaimu” and “Dasanleke”, and comes to the end with the lively “Taikate”. “Dasitan” is made up of 3 to 5 narration songs with different meters and speed. The folk music is inserted among it.

At the beginning, it is a little slow, and gradually fastens the speed until it ends excitingly and joyfully. “Maixilaipu” is made up of 3 to 7 singing and dancing music with different meters, it is vigorous and powerful, with no intermezzo, and keeps the warm mood from the beginning to the end. The whole Twelve Mu Ka Mu includes more than 170 qu names and 72 melodies, and spreads throughout all the places in Xinjiang. According to different regions, the Mu Ka Mu (great melody) is also divided into “Kashi Mu Ka Mu”, “Daolang Mu Ka Mu”, “Tulufan Mu Ka Mu”, “Hami Mu Ka Mu” and “Yili Mu Ka Mu”, totally five types. Among them, the “Kashi Mukamu” is in the largest scale, and its form is the most complete, the melodies are the most abundant, and it takes more than 20 hours to sing it from the beginning to the end. It can be rated as a magnificent bright pearl in the multinational art treasure house of our motherland. 

In the past, the Twelve Mu Ka Mu had always been spread among the people in the oral teaching form, and could not be attached deserved importance, less and less people sang it. By the eve of liberating Xinjiang, only two to three actors in advanced ages could sing it completely. After the liberation of Xinjiang, the people’s government began to organize manpower and material resources, and invited the famous actors in south and north parts of Xinjiang, Tu’rdi Ahung, Rouzi Tanboer and other persons to collect, record the sound and music, and collate the Twelve Mu Ka Mu. Under the common coordination of music working staffs of various nationalities, two juan of huge music masterpiece Twelve Mu Ka Mu was finally formally published in 1960. 

The publishing of Twelve Mu Ka Mu changed the form of this art treasure that was only restricted in the activities among the people. People could hear the beautiful melodies of Mu Ka Mu in radio and television, and see the outstanding performance of Mu Ka Mu artists on the stage. What is more gratifying is that many musicians use the music materials of Mu Ka Mu to create the music works that react the new era, and there are instrumental melodies, unison, chorus and dancing music among them, many excellent works have gained the praise and honor of the domestic and even the international music circle.