The forward to Uyghur Poems (written by Aziz Isa Elkun) comments that

In later centuries, Uyghurs continued to compose poems in order to spread news, record significant contemporary events or the tragedies of war, and to keep recent history alive in the collective memory. Public transmission of such verses was essential, and again, they would often be set to music and subt in the bazaar.

Normally, in the West, we would simply call a poem that was set to music and sung "music" or a "song."

Did Uyghur poets make such a distinction? Does someone have more details on the relationship between Uyghur poetry and music?

  • 4
    In English, a poem set to music and sung would be called a “song”. But if I write verse, without intending for it to be sung, and it’s later set to music and sung, I wrote a “poem”, not a “song”. That seems like the likeliest intended meaning of the quoted text. Something more exotic is possible, but not necessarily implied, there.
    – Juhasz
    Commented Mar 27 at 21:47
  • 2
    In many Asian cultures, it's much more common than it is in the West for poems to be set to music and sung, often using stock melodies. See Regula Qureshi on the chanting of Urdu poetry. I'd guess where Uyghur poetry is concerned, there is no hard and fast distinction between "poem" and "song lyric."
    – verbose
    Commented Mar 28 at 0:51
  • @verbose That does seem likely to be the answer here - that they make less of a distinction than we normally would in the West. Commented Mar 28 at 14:17
  • I'd bet good money on that being the answer. I just don't know enough about Uyghur culture to proffer it as one.
    – verbose
    Commented Mar 29 at 4:54


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