Morin Khur, or horse-head fiddle is a Mongolian national musical instrument. Up to 1990s the instrument was mainly used to perform national melodies which imitate animals’ and nature’s appearance and behavior, especially the horse. Nowadays, it is also used to perform world classical melodies. Many of the Mongolian and foreign spectators are impressed and delighted about the instrument’s potential. Morin Khur which represents the greatest symbol of national musical instruments was created by the nomadic Mongolians, and it is registered into the world cultural heritage. A new player of Morin Khur, first of all, learns to imitate the amble gait of a horse. This shows that the horse-head fiddle is inseparable from the Mongolians and their horses. The horse has been the pride of Mongolian cavalrymen, and the mainstay of their unity.
Long song is a unique traditional singing style known as Urtiin duu. Its miracle is unrepeatable elsewhere. A herder taking herds to pasture sings a song which involves extraordinarily complicated, drawn-out vocal sounds. It is evocative of the boundless steppe. While the people from other countries live in relevancy of each other, the Mongolians are comparatively independent people. This specific of life is formed into majestic profound songs, demanding great skill and the breathing abilities. Long songs are produced in the depth of people’s real life that is why there is no author and composer. They represent one of the oldest genres of Mongolian musical art, dating to the 13th century.
The Khuumii involves producing two simultaneous tones with the human voice. It is a difficult skill requiring special ways of breathing. One tone comes out as a whistle-like sound, the result of locked breath in the chest being forced out through the throat in a specific way, while a lower tone sounds as a base. The Khuumii is considered musical art -not exactly singing, but using one’s throat as an instrument. It doesn’t occur in other national cultures.
Ger, the traditional dwelling
The Mongolian, Kyrgyz and Kazakh people live in ger what the West, following Russians, call yurt. However, Kyrgyz and Kazakh people have given up the portable home of nomads and already transferred to a sedentary way of life. Hut was the first human dwelling 10 thousand years ago. Thereafter, a round form dwelling ger, the portable home of nomads has been created. Its dismantling takes only half an hour, erection takes about an hour.
The “khana” (wooden wall shell) is erected and the “uni” (rafters) are set and only then is the covering felt laid. The girth-ropes express future, present and past times, and the three generations. The valuable objects and religious altars are kept in “hoimor” opposite the door. Male belongings, including saddle and bridle as well as Morin Huur (horse-head fiddle) are kept in the western section, as it is occupied by men. Women occupy the eastern section, where they keep kitchen utensils in a rack. Ger looks like the terrestrial globe. Due to its round-form, it does not store bad energy in its corners. People who live in ger easily get asleep. And spending a night in ger quickly removes one’s agitation and anger.
The main garment is the deel, a long, one-piece gown made from wool or silk. Most Mongolians have several different deels, appropriate for different seasons, as well as a more decorative deel for special occasions. Winter deels are often lined with sheep skin. The deel has a high collar, is often brightly colored, is worn with a multipurpose sash, and is worn by men and women year-round. Ethnic groups are differentiated by the color, decoration, and shape of their deel. The khantaaz is a shorter traditional jacket, often made of silk, which is also buttoned to the side, and usually worn over the deel. With regards to hats, the fur-trimmed hats, mostly made of sable, are popular. The gutul is a high boot made from thick leather and sometimes decorated ornately. They are easy to put on – both the left and right boot is the same shape. There exist many explanations for the curled, upturned toe.