The art of playing the musical instruments for centuries was developed in Uzbekistan on the basis of tradition of “the mentor and apprentice”, but the history of the performing art is still not fully studied. There are local Uzbek schools of performing art using the musical instruments in Bukhara and Samarkand, Kashkadarya and Surkhandarya, Ferghana, Tashkent and Khorezm.
Since the beginning of the XX century such renown musicians from various regions of Uzbekistan made a significant contribution in development of the performing art traditions as Matyakub Harratov and Matyusuf Harratov (Khorezm), Marufdjan Tashpulatov and Yakub Dovidov (Bukhara), Hadji Abdulaziz Rasulov and Qori Sirodj Yusupov (Samarkand), Muhiddin Hodji Najmiddinov and Mamadaziz Niyazov, Otavali Nuriddinov, Komiljon Djabborov and Gulyamdjan Hodjikulov (Andijan), Tukhtasin Djalilov (Ferghana), Kuzihan Madraimov (Margilan), Usta Ruzimathon Isaboev (Namangan), Abdusoat Vakhobov and Maksudhodja Yusupov, Imamdjan Ikramov, Rizki Radjabiy and Jurabek Saydaliev, Orif Kasymov and Abdumutal Abdullaev (Tashkent) – representatives of the school of performing arts on the tanbour, dutar, and sato.
Turgun Alimatov, who very well knows the instrumentation manner of the above mentioned masters, was recognized as a musician, who created his own style of performance. He played the tanbour, dutar, and sato. Unique, virtuosic performance of Turgun Alimatov has contributed to formation of the classical Uzbek school of performing art, enriching it with a new style.
Farabi in his “Grand Book on Music” says that music gives people delight, awakens their passion and commove them, leads one to reflection.
Formation of the performance style of T. Alimatov was directly related to the creative work of his predecessors and his contemporary musicians, such as Rizki Radjabi, Marufdjan Tashpulatov, Maksudhodja Yusupov, Jurabek Saydaliev, Abdumutal Abdullaev, Jakub Dovidov, Qayum Shomuradov, and Asadkori. For many years, Alimatov worked in the musical bands under the guidance of such famous musicians as Tuhtasin Djalilov, Yunus Rajabi, Doni Zakirov, acquiring knowledge and improving his skills. He thoroughly studied the performance manner of his teachers, while mastering his own style. Thus, he touches the strings of tanbour with a pick from the bottom up, which, according to R. Kasymov, makes the sound of the tanbour softer and enjoyable (1, p. 9).
Alimatov skillfully plays tanbour, dutar and sato, bringing his performance to perfection. While playing his dutar, he was not plucking much the strings, doing so he discovered the new capacity in the sound of this instrument; whereas playing the tanbour, he was masterfully using simple and complex beats by pick, including the single and double beats, so-called parron-beat (with fingers) and the wrist beat, rattle, reverse beat, ufar-beat, etc.
Usually all the musicians, playing the tanbour, were pressing the strings close to the bridge and from top to bottom. At that style of playing the instrument, the melody sounded sharply and loudly, which did not please Alimatov. He sought to create a softer sound and has found that when the strings are hit by a pick farther from the bridge and not in top-down manner, but from the bottom upwards, the tune sounds softer.
The repertoire of T. Alimatov is extremely rich: it includes the melodies of folk heritage that he performed on the tanbour – “Bilaguzuk”, “Gulyorakhon”, “Munojot I, II, III”, “Factory”; maqoms of Ferghana-Tashkent style – «”Chorgoh I, II”, “Nasri Segokh”, “Nasrullo I, II, V”, “Navruziajam”; ‘Shashmaqom”; played on sato – also from the folk music – “Surnaynavosi”, “Alla”; on dutar – various versions of the folk tune, “Tanovar”, “Fargonatanovari”, “Quqontanovari”, “Adolattanovari”, “Djigar Pora” and many others.
The melodies played on the tanbour brought the real fame to the composer and musician, T. Alimatov. His instrument is characterized by gentle sound and a pleasant tone. T. Alimatov emphasizes: “The metamorphosis of the melody into a great piece of music does not depend on the number of performers or dimension of the music. It must contain creativity, inspiration, and divine power, which particularly attract the attention of the listeners” (2, p. 191), and “if nothing is right, at the level of the music and the text, the rest makes no sense. Only the proper, good performance of maqoms can touch the hearts of the audience and to capture their attention” (2, p.192).
The pupils of T. Alimatov remember that when playing sato, he was holding the bow in a relaxed way, therefore the instrument sounded soft and gentle. The majority of the gidjak players press the bow across the strings with force. In contrast, their teacher was moving the bow over the strings lightly by that achieving its gentle sounding. According to Abror Zufarov – grandson and pupil of the musician – the “Navo” melody was one of the pieces, from which originates the sato playing school. The film “Shashmaqom”, shot by the filmmaker Tashkhodja Akramhodjaev in “Uzbektelefilm” Studios, has been fairly acknowledged and awarded with many prizes. To the most part this was due to the performing skills of Turgun Alimatov, since his pieces, performed on the tanbour and sato, have been performed in this television film.
The pupil of the famous tanbour player – Rizki Radjabi – Abdulla Umarov says: “The maqoms and Uzbek folk tunes played in the film by Alimatov have greatly enriched this film.” This film was warmly received by the connoisseurs of musical art in Iran, India, former Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, UK, USA, and Turkey (3, p. 3). Through creative search and the skills of Turgun Alimatov the performing art has been refined with new interpretations and valuable methods of musical performance.