Dasitan of the Uygur People
Dasitan is a form of quyi popular among the Uygur people in Xinjiang and boasts a long history. Dasitan is a Uygur term that means a long poem relating an event. As a category of quyi, it has the basic feature of being a very long rhyming story.
The reason why a narrative long poem became adapted to the quyi form with singing and storytelling is that the Uygur people borrowed the big song cycle or divertimento from an ancient suite of stories called the muqam. As early as from the third to the seventh centuries, the Uygurs, who inhabit the Xinjiang region of China, sang Alifu Airdueah as a dasitan recital. This is a story about the exploits of a Uygur national hero, and since then it has become a tradition to use dasitan to extol heroes.
One to three people perform dasitan. The chief singer accompanies himself on the rewalu, dutaer, danboer, or shadaer (all stringed instruments). Meanwhile, musicians beat the hand drum or stone chimes. The performances are given at temple fairs, market places, teahouses, or dinner parties. Manas, the traditional epic of the Kirgiz people, who are also inhabitants of the Xinjiang region, is also performed and transmitted in the form of dasitan.