Pieces I’m learning – Dutor Bayot

This is a series where I shall post videos of pieces I have learnt along with a simple analysis of the piece, some background knowledge, as well as key points about the piece I noted whilst learning.

The first piece of the series is Dutor Bayot, probably one of the first pieces on the dutor that I have ever heard, and remains catchy for me for its brisk rhythm and simple melody.

  1. Structure:

Dutor Bayot A-1


Dutor Bayot B-1 + A 


Dutor Bayot C-1-1 + B + A


Dutor Bayot D-1+ B + A


  1. Background

The melody of this piece is adapted from the melody of Bayot, the sho’be (sub-branch) of the Navo maqom* in the Bukharan shashmaqom, mostly in sung pieces. Characteristic of this melody is the gradual widening of the notes used in the major-like scale, beginning with a 3rd (do-mi) to a fifth (do-so), with and the culmination point (the avj) at the do an octave apart.

Adopted for the dutor, the melody is played faster than any of the sung pieces, and often incorporates purely percussive strikes on the body of the instrument (clicking with finger nails or tapping with finger tip), giving an impression of virtuosity.

*A mode which is used a few pieces in the collection, e.g. Muhammasi Bayot in the instrumental section (mushkilot), and talqini-bayot, nasr-i bayot, and ufor-i bayot. In the Ferghana-Tashkent tradition, however, bayot is a full maqom with five parts: saraxbor, tarona, savt, talqincha and soqinoma, each adopting the melody to their own usul (“groove").

  1. Versions available
  • Guzal Muminova, Dotar of Transoxania, Mahoor, 2007 (reference version for my recording)
  • Abdorahim Hamidov, Asie centrale: Les maîtres du dotâr, AIMP & VDE Gallo, 1993
  • Sultonali Xudoyberdiev (Soltan-Ali Khodaverdiev), Ouzbékistan : L’art du dotâr, Ocora, 1997
  • Zokirjon Obidov, Dotâr – Iran, Central Asia & Anatolia, Mahoor, 2010
  1. Thoughts on learning the piece

The version I learnt is the one recorded by Guzal Muminova from the album Dotar of Transoxania released by Mahoor in 2007. She plays with a steadier rhythm (compared to other recordings) and compensates for the virtuosity by using tremolos (riz) on the right hand extensively.

As the melody itself is quite straightforward and somewhat repetitive, variety is to be achieved through using various different strokes on the right hand to give different colours, all the while respecting the groove of the piece (♪♪♬♪), with a special emphasis in bringing out the syncopating motif of the final semiquaver and quaver.

The first half of section C includes a tapping on the soundboard of the dutor, imitating the bass strike on the doira. It is recommended to tap with two fingers (m and a) near the centre of the body just up from the bridge, in order to get a rich, deep sound. The index finger will then perform the up/down stroke on the string. As the melody is “broken up", the left hand will need to add more vibrato to let the notes ring on.

Alternative version

Dutor Bayot youtube




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