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Episode 22


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

Kolkhozchu Men

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

Alan Dudai

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 songsovertone 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, BuryatsTsaatanDariganga, 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

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.

In Mongolia, the most famous throat-singers include Khalkhas like Gereltsogt and Sundui. Genghiis khaan

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 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.

Court music

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.

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