Autumn 2003 (11.3)
Karimov Brings Medieval Music to Life
Together History, String By String:
The Reconstruction of
Azerbaijan's Medieval Instruments by
He's a man driven by passion-passion
to understand what the music of the past sounded like and to
share it with future generations. Majnun Karimov (1945- ) has
just published: "The Azerbaijan Musical Instruments"
which features 28 medieval instruments and describes their history,
characteristic features and even how to construct some of them.
Ten of these instruments were reconstructed by Majnun himself,
after researching them in literature and miniature paintings.
An accompanying CD ROM provides video clips of the instruments
being played by members of the State Ensemble of Ancient Traditional
Music Instruments, a group which Majnun founded.
Majnun is the Director of the Scientific Laboratory of the Reconstruction
and Development of Ancient Musical Instruments of Baku's prestigious
When people ask why he spent so much time trying to revive these
old forgotten instruments, he admits curiosity was the driving
force. "I simply wanted to see and hear what these instruments
sounded like. They're part of our own heritage," he says.
"For me, creating one of these instruments is like scaling
a mountain. When you finally reach the peak, you're ecstatic.
When I attach those last strings and pluck them for the first
time, I'm ready to fly. After that, I feel a deep void until
I can get started working on a new instrument."
For more details about Majnun's work, see "Piecing
Together History, String by String: Reconstruction of Azerbaijan's
Medieval Instruments" in Azerbaijan International, AI
5.4 (Winter 1997).
Majnun Karimov's new book features 28 medieval instruments,
10 of which he reconstructed himself. Above left: Majnun (dark
suit) with the Ensemble that he organized to perform these instruments
with authentic music from early periods.
This project was sponsored jointly by Statoil and Unocal Khazar.
"Azerbaijan Music Instruments" (Azeri, English and
Russian) by Majnun Karimov. Yeni Nasil Publishing House: Baku
(printed by Mega in Turkey) 2003. Hard bound with CD ROM. ISBN
9952-24-024-4, full color, 184 pages. Contact: Majnun Karimov
in Baku: email@example.com.
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