The author analyses a set of archaic Karachay & Balkar songs distributed into three categories: (1) songs directly linked with labour; (2) mythological songs related with a human activity: (a) hunting songs; (b) propitiatory and prophylactic songs; (3) songs addressed to divinities. T. M. Khadzhieva notably insists on the magical character of certain songs sung during specific activity (such as the “Dolay” song sung during butter churning). She also evokes the substantial change in the musical execution of songs when the latter’s function is modified, viz. when they lose their ritual or liturgical functions for entering another, more ‘ordinary’ register. On the contrary, the author underlines the strong observance of invariant formal criteria, notably rhythmical, in a wide variety of propitiatory and prophylactic songs.