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Morin khuur ( horsehead fiddle)

2019-10-22 - 14:39

It can be said appropriately that the history of the Mongols was made by horses. The Mongols used to battle taking along more horses than men. Mongols had a horse-army that came over only in one day when it was estimated 3 days. Mongolians created a musical instrument for their most beloved horse. Tovshuur, Ekhil, Tsoor, Khulsan khuur and the Morin khuur or horse head fiddle are very ancient stringed musical instrument. This musical instrument was originally created by the ancient Hunnu. The upper part of the instrument is decorated with a horse’s head, so it is called a horse-head fiddle.

The Morin Khuur is closely related to Mongol horses and Mongolians. Every Mongolian house-hold honour morin khuur by hunging khadag around it and putting it towards heirloom. There was an etiquette saying : Having a morin khuur is full-home having no morin khuur is lost-home. Morin Khuur is a symbol of peace and joy. One who learns Morin Khuur first plays ambler horse’s gait. Mongol horses were the main pillars of the Mongolian military’s pride and unity. Genghis Khan built 200,000 horsemen army and take along 400- 800 thousand horses. Therefore, historians believe that the main force of the Mongolian army was a horse and Genghis Khan created their strength. In modern times, the Morin Khuur was dominated by professional musicians rather than individuals.

Since 1940s, the traditional Mongolian melodies and the world classics were played on morin khuur which stands out its individual performance. In 1992, a Mongolian Morin Khuur Ensemble was established and currently working with over 30 people. In 2002, the President of Mongolia issued a decree to promote morin khuur, and then all Mongolian families and organizations have been honouring horse-head fiddle. Morin Khuur was registered to UNESCO World Cultural Heritage in 2003.

The evolution of the modern morin khuur is directly related to G.Jamyan who has developed a new method of playing morin khuur. He himself used to play violoncello and it was updated by based on it, which was a very important turn. Then, from 1940s and 1950s, the Morin Khuur came out of the home and was played into the concert hall. Morin Khuur musical instrument had been reformed by Russian expert D. Yarvoy and his Mongolian colleagues. At that time, the morin khuur was made in a way that violin is made, changing its waist with wood, resulting its tone was improved and it was able to overcome the challenges of the weather. The next stage of the reform was that the morin khuur was produced in numbers by the factory, which was the 1990s.

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