Morinkhuur: The Mongolian Horse Fiddle
This is the introduction to the book:
Morin Khuur: Self learning book
by B. Bayarsaikhan and Jeremy Stoun.
It is a practical Introduction to the instrument and the
way of playing.
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The Morin Khuur (horse-head fiddle) is the instrument most associated
with Mongolian traditions and culture. Mor(in) means horse. When
Mongolians were entirely a nomadic nation, the horse was almost
their only means of transport, as well as man's best friend. Many
songs and poems were written extolling the horse.
There are a number of legends about how the Morin Khuur was first
created, all based on a man's love for a dead horse. So central
was (and still is) the horse to Mongolian culture, that the head
of the horse was placed on top of the nation's principal musical
instrument, and its tail hair is used for the two strings and for
Much of the canon of Mongolian performance art (song, dance, drama,
stories, even blessings) is inseparably entwined with the music
of the Morin Khuur. But it is not simply a traditional instrument;
its special sound contributes much to the quality of modern music.
For hundreds of years the instrument itself changed little until
the twentieth century, when there were developments to playing technique
and even to the Morin Khuur`s construction.
More and more people are visiting Mongolia. As culture becomes more
globalized, we hope this book will help foreigners learn to play
the Morin Khuur and spread the word about Mongolia `s national instrument
throughout the world.