I head east to the vast and ancient lands of Mongolia.
Over the rugged expanses, mountains and through its capital Ulaanbaatar.
Learning about Mongolian culture was deeply fascinating and leaves me with a yearning curiosity to discover more of the history of Mongolia.
I decided to focus on the traditional side of the nation’s sound.
My selection aims to showcase the rich tradition of throat singing (höömji), long song, court music, and Mongolian pop.
Ay-Kherel - Morgul (Prayer)
Dangaa - Native Calls
Huun Huur Tu - Kongurei
Anda Union - Boomborai
The Rule of The Lover
Khusugtun - Mongol
Sedaa - Mongol Nutag
There is Naught
Shu-de - Durgen Chugaa
Ay Kherel - Kuda Yry
Huun Huur Tu - Eki Attar
Egschiglen - Galopp Von 1000 Pferden
Altai Kai - Alash
Egschiglen - Nutgiin Zamd
Huun Huur Tu - Kargyraa (live)
Musical history and styles
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 various ethnic groups of the country: Oirats, Hotogoid, Tuvans, Darhad, Buryats, Tsaatan, Dariganga, Uzemchins, Barga, Kazakhs and Khalha.
Besides the traditional music, Western classical music and ballet flourished during the MPR. Among the most popular forms of modern music in Mongolia are Western pop and rock genres and the mass songs, which are written by modern authors in a form of folk songs.
Overtone singing, known as höömij (throat), is a singing technique also found in the general Central Asian area. This type of singing is considered more as a type of instrument. It involves different ways of breathing: producing two distinctively audible pitches at the same time, one being a whistle like sound and the other being a drone bass. The sound is a result of locked breaths in the chest.
Khalkha singers have conceptualized Mongolian lyrical xöömei into several different styles while kharkhiraa remains a separate technique.
uyangiin xöömii /melodic or lyrical xöömii
uruulyn / labial xöömii
tagnain /palatal xöömii
xamryn/ nasal xöömii
bagaIzuuryn, xooloin / glottal, throat xöömii
tseejiin xondiin, xeviiin / chest cavity, stomach xöömii
türlegt or xosmoljin xöömii / xöömii combined with long song
"Long songs" are one of the main formats of Mongolian music. The most distinguishing feature is that each syllable of text is extended for a long duration; a four-minute song may only consist of ten words. Other features are a slow tempo, wide intervals and no fixed rhythm. The richer and longer hold a singer has, the more appreciated the singer. Lyrical themes vary depending on context; they can be philosophical, religious, romance, or celebratory, and often use horses as a symbol or theme repeated throughout the song. Eastern Mongols typically use a morin khuur (horse-head fiddle) as accompaniment, sometimes with a type of indigenous flute named limbe. Oirat groups of the Western Mongols typically sing long songs unaccompanied or accompanied with the igil.
In neighboring China's autonomous region of Inner Mongolia, 15 notated chapters of the court music of the last Mongolian Great Khan Ligdan (1588-1634) was found in a temple near the ruins of his palace Chagan Haote (Ochirt Tsagan Khot). It was already known that the Qing Dynasty of China greatly valued Mongol court music and made it an integral part of its royal ceremonies, especially at feasts.