Heritage of Dede Qorqud/Korkyt Ata/Dede Korkut, epic culture, folk tales and music

Inscribed in 2018 (13.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Alexey Kamensky, 2017

The epic culture, folk tales and music of Dede Qorqud/Korkyt Ata/Dede Korkut are based on twelve heroic legends, stories and tales and thirteen traditional musical compositions shared and transmitted across the generations through oral expressions, performing arts, cultural codes and musical compositions. Dede Qorqud appears in each story as a legendary figure and wise individual, a sage of minstrels whose words, music and expressions of wisdom relate to traditions of birth, marriage and death. In the musical compositions, the main intonations are reproduced using a musical instrument called the Kobyz through the sounds of nature, and imitation soundscapes are characteristic of this medium (such as the imitation of a wolf’s howl or a swan’s note). The musical compositions are all interconnected by the epic stories that accompany them. The element encompasses social, cultural and moral values such as heroism, dialogue, physical and spiritual wellness and unity as well as respect for nature, and contains profound knowledge about the history and culture of Turkic-speaking communities. It is practised and sustained by the community concerned on a wide variety of occasions – from family events to national and international festivals – and is therefore well-rooted in society, serving as a connecting thread between generations.

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