When referring to traditional Kazakh music, authentic folklore must be separated from «folklorism». The latter denotes music executed by academically trained performers who aim at preserving the traditional music for coming generations. As far as can be reconstructed, the music of Kazakhstan from the period before a strong Russian influence consists of following genres:
Instrumental music, with the pieces («Küy») being performed by soloists. Text is often seen in the background (or «program») for the music, as a lot of Küy titles refer to stories.
Vocal music, either as part of a ceremony such as a wedding (mainly performed by women), or as part of a feast. Here we might divide into subgenres: epic singing, containing not only historical facts, but as well the tribe’s genealogy, love songs, didactic verses; and as a special form the composition of two or more singers in public (Aitys), of dialogue character and usually unexpectedly frankly in content.