Afghanistan has one of the richest and most interesting histories of music making in the world. Due to its central location, Afghanistan was an important contributor to the development of music in Central Asia, Persia, and the Indian subcontinent since prehistoric (Vedic-Avestan) times. The subsequent historical, cultural & religious developments such as Greek, pre-Islamic Buddhist, Islamic, Ghaznavid, Timurid, and Hindustani further demonstrate the intercultural development of music in the region. This multicultural music thrived for centuries, holding an extremely important place in the lives of Afghan.

Attempts to introduce music education date back to the 1920’s when the first music school was founded within the military college, and an effort was made to include music as a subject in the overall curriculum of the secular schools. Eventually, music appreciation classes were converted into a secondary Vocational School of Music run by the Government of Afghanistan. This school later merged with the School of Fine Arts, and operated until 1992, when Afghanistan engulfed by civil war.

Musical Instruments

Afghan music has developed over the centuries. As today’s integrated Afghan music comprises of eastern and western instruments. But the only original Afghan instrument is Rubab


Rubab: Afghan string instrument

Rubab is a double chambered lute and its body is carved out of a single piece of wood, with a membrane covering the hollow bowl of the sound-chamber, upon which the bridge is positioned. It has three melody strings tuned in fourths, 4 Frets. Three drone strings and 15 sympathetic strings. The instrument is made from the trunk of a mulberry tree, and or out of Rose wood, the head from goat skin and the strings originally from gut  the intestines of young goats, brought to the size of thread) and now in nylon.

The Afghan Rubab is featured in many Classical and traditional folk and melodies and is often referred to by Afghans and Persian Sufi poets in their poems especially notable to mention are Rumi.  





Well-Known Afghan Rubab players

 Ustad Mohammad Omar (1905-1980)

The modern history of Afghan music has witnessed many Rubab players. Late Ustad Mohammad Omar was a well-known Rubab player whose compositions still remain archived.

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