Scholars interpret the etymology of the word “aitys” differently, in one case it is defined as dispute, competition, and in another as “ağys” – river. One does not prepare for the aitys in advance (by memorising the phrases): It is an improvised duel. Usually, each of the Akyns participating in a duel is a representative of a clan. Therefore, the duel can be called a clan/ru contest, and if the participants are a woman and a man, the contest can be called a duel of male and female principles.
The emergence of Aitys is considered as a projection of a real duel (zhekpe-zhek) in the conception of traditional Kazakh music as an art of the warrior caste (T. Asemkulov, Z. Naurzbaeva), the outcome of which was determined by lot, the grace of higher powers and gods. Aitys is considered a non-verbal symbol of the original cosmic struggle between good and evil, between male and female principles, between light and darkness, etc. “The Akyn begins his performance with an extended intro designed not only to attract the attention of his clan, but also to refer to the strong ancestors of the clan. According to the conception, “the intro of the aityne concentrates the power of all the representatives of the clan and their ancestors”, writes S.A. Yelemanova [6, p.4]. The semantic concept of the aitys is complemented by its metaphorical understanding as a “stream”, a universal punishment falling on one or another aitysker (and the clan as a whole).