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Morin Khuur – Mongolian Horse Fiddle
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (5 votes) 
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SharonC
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October 31, 2020 - 1:19 pm
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So, I came across this group called The HU, a Mongolian band that blends western rock & traditional Mongolian music.  I was intrigued by the one guy playing a horse head stringed instrument called a Morin Khuur. 

list=PLotWS2VVz3oOWk1jmUPZG6daCtxPegoRq

 

I looked up & found the following video of a group playing a more traditional tune for the instrument.

 

 

I found it interesting how the player, most of the time, does not press down on the strings, but rather places his finger beside the string on the fingerboard.  The strings are made up of strands of nylon or horse hair.  Interesting read about the instrument:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.....orin_khuur

 

I think Fiddlershop needs to stock some of thesesmile

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ELCB
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October 31, 2020 - 4:47 pm
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@SharonC -

And Vibrato, too!

I love the HU - ran across them as I searched for songs by "Orthodox Celts"!  I had just bought my violin, Mortimer - what can I say... it was YouTube. (lol)

I'm partial to the Mongolian Tuvan Throat Singing, sounds like a didgeridoo - usually very mournful/pining songs.  Bought the 1st 2 cds released by "Huun Huur Tu" back in 1993 & 1994 - 60 Horses in My Herd and Orphan's Lament.  They were the "something refreshingly new" at the Borders Book Store I frequented.  Borders was a great Michigan-based chain, bankrupt by 2009, though - had a coffee/desert bar where you could read before checking out - discovered Enya there, for the 1st time... oh, well! 

Here's a closer look at what can be achieved with just the human voice - several pitches at once! 

 

There are many forms of Overtone singing - some that supplement yodeling.  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/....._singing 

 

I'm in awe, finding the bowing of these instruments unbelievable - they control timbre by tightening/loosening the bow hair with their fingers... during playing!  Like I don't have enough to deal with in both hands! (lol) 

I also find it interesting they use their thumb on the fingerboard - reminds of the Ukulele child prodigy, Feng E - he plays that way. 

Your 2nd video, Sharon, was very beautiful - sounded more traditional Chinese than Mongolian to me and they are using modern bows, but I still LOVE that music!  I hope (in the near future) we can delve deeper into this area of music for the violin/fiddle. 

https://mongolianstore.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Morin-khuur.jpg

 

- Emily

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AndrewH
Sacramento, California
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October 31, 2020 - 9:32 pm
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It looks like the string is stopped by pressing sideways against the string with the finger, which I think is also commonly done with the Chinese erhu (though on the erhu the finger doesn't contact the neck of the instrument).

The modern morin khuur is somewhat different from the traditional instrument. You can see Huun-Huur-Tu playing the traditional version whose front is a skin stretched across a wooden frame; the second video Sharon posted shows the modern version, which is all-wood and has f holes similar to Western string instruments. (And of course there are also electric ones today!)

 

To digress a little from the morin khuur, I've actually performed with a throat singer in a modern classical context! In 2016, Camellia Symphony performed Ken Ueno's "On a sufficient condition for most specific hypothesis," a concerto for throat singer and orchestra, with the composer as soloist. Here's a performance by another orchestra:

I spent quite a bit of time looking up Mongolian throat singing on YouTube back then, and ended up being able to identify the vocal techniques that Ueno was using. He wasn't using them in a traditional context at all, but they were all traditional Mongolian techniques.

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SharonC
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November 1, 2020 - 12:49 pm
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ELCB said
@SharonC -

I'm partial to the Mongolian Tuvan Throat Singing, sounds like a didgeridoo - usually very mournful/pining songs.  Bought the 1st 2 cds released by "Huun Huur Tu" back in 1993 & 1994 - 60 Horses in My Herd and Orphan's Lament.  They were the "something refreshingly new" at the Borders Book Store I frequented.  Borders was a great Michigan-based chain, bankrupt by 2009, though - had a coffee/desert bar where you could read before checking out - discovered Enya there, for the 1st time... oh, well! 
Here's a closer look at what can be achieved with just the human voice - several pitches at once! 

 

AndrewH said

To digress a little from the morin khuur, I've actually performed with a throat singer in a modern classical context! In 2016, Camellia Symphony performed Ken Ueno's "On a sufficient condition for most specific hypothesis," a concerto for throat singer and orchestra, with the composer as soloist. Here's a performance by another orchestra:

I spent quite a bit of time looking up Mongolian throat singing on YouTube back then, and ended up being able to identify the vocal techniques that Ueno was using. He wasn't using them in a traditional context at all, but they were all traditional Mongolian techniques.

 

Amazing.  To hear this in person must be something else.

It is interesting how culture influences the use of the human voice.  Throat singing travels over distance, like the different types of yodeling.  To digress more from the morin khuur, when in the Air Force, I lived in Hawaii for a while— and heard a lot of a yodel style called ka leo ki’ek’e, which is a male (usually) falsetto.  Ho’opi’i Brothers example:

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SharonC
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November 1, 2020 - 1:15 pm
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A regress to the Morin Khuur…here’s a playing of Czardas with the Morin Khuur—amazing versatility of this instrument (& skill of the musician, for sure).

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SharonC
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November 1, 2020 - 11:43 pm
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This is a nice concise description video for the instrument:

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ELCB
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November 2, 2020 - 1:02 am
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@SharonC -

Great info - Thank you!   

Really enjoyed the closer look at the beautiful traditional Morin Khuurs and playing techniques.

I hope everyone can start feeling a connection to these string instruments.

 

@Ilona -

Morin Khuur vs CELLO!

 

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/77/b0/a4/77b0a46e4bb5607dbf1e1cf3078bdd8e--cello-drawing-cello-art.jpg

 

- Emily

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Ilona
Finland
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November 2, 2020 - 2:55 am
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Wow! Cool! Thanks @ELCB 

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GregW
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I listened to another episode of Rosin The Bow this morning which had Icelandic Violin maker Hans Johanssen.  He had a historical section where he discussed one of these instruments being found on the island.  Interesting discussion that made me think of this thread.  

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
November 5, 2020 - 10:39 am
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Man, just catching up on long-missed posts and threads - great one @SharonC - ( and the contributions from others ) - LOVE IT !    Especially the Czardas, complete with  the harmonics - quite cool I have to say...  Thanks again !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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