Badakhshan is the name of the mountainous Pamir region in the east of Tajikistan, bordering on China, Afghan-Badakhshan and the Kyrgyz Republic. The Pamiris, as the people of this area are referred to, are divided into different ethnic groups according to their origin and language.
The musical traditions of Badakshan have been influenced by the surrounding Muslim cultural context, but the inaccessibility of the Pamir Mountains has been an important factor in the development and preservation of some of the unique musical practices of Badakhshan, such as animal-imitation dances and varieties of songs.
Since Badakhshan has been a point of cultural exchange between the East and the West for centuries, various influences can be discerned. For instance, similarities between certain instruments reflect a cross-mountain relationship between the Pamirs and the Himalayas, while tonal traces in Kyrgyz tunes of the Eastern province of Badakhshan suggest influences from China.