Music of Mongolia

Music is an integral part of Mongolian culture. Among the unique contributions of Mongolia to the world's musical culture are the long songs, overtone singing and morin khuur,

the horse-headed fiddle. The music of Mongolia is also rich with varieties related to the different ethnic groups of the country. Please listen and enjoy Mongolian music and songs.

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Introduction to the Music of Mongolia

Mongolians are renowned for their love of music and singing; any celebration always turns into an evening of singing. During the decades of the Mongolian Peoples Republic in the twentieth century,

Western classical music and ballet flourished. Among the most popular forms of modern music in Mongolia nowadays are Western pop and rock genres and songs which are written by modern authors in the form of folk songs.

Main Classes of Music

Long Songs

This genre is called "Long song" (Urtyn Duu) because each syllable of text is extended for a long duration. A four-minute song may only consist of ten words.

Morin Khuur

The horse-head fiddle, or "Morin Khuur", is a distinctively Mongolian instrument and is seen as a symbol of the country. The instrument has two strings.

Throat Singing

This unique type of singing involves the production of two distinctively audible pitches at the same time, including a low note and higher melodic notes.

Other Instruments

Other instruments used in Mongolian traditional music include shanz, khuuchir, yatga, everburee, khel khuur, tobshuur, ikh khuur , and bishguur (see below)

Popular Folk Music

Some of the repeatedly heard lyrical themes are very distinctive for Mongolia: heartfelt tributes to the songwriter's mother, for example, or paeans to great horses.

Pop Music and Rap

There is a thriving popular music scene centred in the city of Ulaanbaatar; a mixture of various kinds of popular music, subdivided into pop, rock, hip hop, rap, alternative rock and heavy metal.

Morin Khuur

morin huur

Mongolia's National Instrument

The instrument has a distinctive carved horse-head pegbox. The tuning pegs on either side are known as the “Horse’s Ears”– with two strings and a bow traditionally made of horsehair or synthetic materials, considered a central symbol of the Mongolian nation. Some scholars believe that the instrument was originally a shamanistic instrument, as the staff of a shaman has a similarly carved horse on top.

morin huur

The Morin Khuur produces sounds described

The Morin Khuur produces sounds described as expansive and unrestrained, both soulful and haunting, like a wildhorse neighing, or a breeze across the grasslands. It has played a central role in expanding on the roots of nomadic herding practices and narratives as well as serving the translation of Mongolian mythologies and Secret histories into song for many centuries.

other traditional

Mongolian Music Instruments

The nomadic people of Mongolia, as elsewhere in Central Asia, used to play string and wind instruments. The music has been influenced by the many different tribes that were united under Genghis Khan in the thirteenth century.

Mongolian Music Instrument
YATGA

12 - Stringed Zither

A half-tube zither with a movable bridge. The strings are plucked and the sound is very smooth.

Mongolian Music Instrument
YOOCHIN

Box Zither or Dulcimer

13 double-wire strings are struck by 2 bamboo hammers

Mongolian Music Instrument
SHANZ

3 - Stringed Instrument

A long-necked spiked lute with snake skin stretched over both faces.

Mongolian Music Instrument
HUUCHIR

Silk Stringed Instrument

The 2 or 4 strings are tuned to a fifth and the horse-tail hair bow is interlaced between the strings.

Mongolian Music Instrument
IKH KHUUR 

Bass Morin Khuur

A two-stringed large bass version of the morin khuur. The strings can be plucked or played with bow

Mongolian Music Instrument
BISHGUUR

Ornamented Oboe

Oboe-like in appearance with a double reed, a long hardwood body and copper or brass bell.

Mongolian Music Instrument
LIMBE

Side-Blown Flute

Made of hardwood or bamboo. Often played with circular breathing.

Mongolian Music Instrument
KHEL KHUUR

Bamboo Instrument

It is placed close to player's mouth and manipulated by his mouth, teeth and right hand

Mongolian Music Instrument
EVER BUREE

Curved Clarinet

A wind instrument made from the horn of an animal or from ebony wood.

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