This is a Uyghur instrument called the Ghijek. It has the same mi-la-re-so strings as a violin. The tone is also similar to a violin. It's the Uyghur violin. We often play this instrument. Those who play the violin, like Han Chinese, or foreigners, could also play this. If you play violin, it will be easy to learn because the method is the same.
This one is called the Rawap. Here in Xinjiang, we make it with mulberry wood. These are sheep's horns, because we Uyghurs really like sheep. We use snakeskin because sometimes we perform in snow or rain. If we use snakeskin, the sound quality doesn't change - it's better.
This one is called the Dutar and it's also made from mulberry wood. We Uyghus have been playing this instrument for a very long time. The experts say we've been using it for more than a thousand years. The Rawap and Ghijek have steel strings, but the Dutar has silk strings. That's why the neck has to be so long. We Uyghurs in Uzbekistan, Turkey, and Turkemenistan all use this instrument a lot.
This is our family's tradition - I'm the sixth generation to do this. My father, and my father's father - they started doing this. This is me, and this is my father. This is my grandfather, and this is my father. Over here, that's my grandfather. My grandfather developed better methods for making these instruments. My dream is to go abroad to Uzbekistan and Turkey, because they also have people who make these instruments. I want to meet with them and discuss the ways to make these instruments, to study each other's ways of making them and teach each other, because these are our instruments and we want to protect them.
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