Home DestinationsAsia Have you ever heard of Mongolian Traditional music of the Tsuur?

Have you ever heard of Mongolian Traditional music of the Tsuur?

by Victoria

The Tsuur is one of the ancient traditions of the Mongols and is a rare and near-extinct music preserved in the late 20th century among only a few Uriankhai Mongolians in the Altai Region. Tsuur is derived from an ancient custom of worshiping the Earth, mountains, rivers, and their respective protective spirits by resembling unnatural human sounds. Tsuur music belongs to the Mongolian folk music genre based on the combination of instrumental and vocal performance – a unique and rare phenomenon of mixing simultaneous sounds produced by both the instrument and human throat. 

Tsuur music is based on a combination of instrumental and vocal performance – the fusion of sound created simultaneously by both the instrument and the human throat. Tsuur music has an inseparable connection with the Uriankhai Mongols in the Altai Region, and remains an integral part of their daily lives. Its origin lies in the ancient custom of worshiping nature and souls protect it by imitating natural sounds. The Tsuur is a vertical tubular wooden air musical instrument with three finger holes. Simultaneously touching the mouth of the tube with the incisor teeth and pressing it against one’s throat creates a unique timbre including clear and gentle whistling sounds and a drone. 

Música tradicional para tsuur - patrimonio inmaterial - Sector de Cultura -  UNESCO

A Tsuur is a three-hole vertical wooden steam musical instrument that acts as finger buttons. Despite its outward appearance, it is a masterpiece of Mongolian musical heritage, reflecting a long tradition of creativity and craftsmanship. A Tsuur has a unique tone that is not present in any other slightly wooden instrument, as it is performed by touching the mouth of the tube with one’s incisors, producing a clear and gentle whistling sound, at the same time applying a person’s throat burden, creating a drone flying brass at the same time. Tsuur music has an inseparable connection to the livelihoods and customs of the Uriankhai Mongolians in the Altai region, and remains an integral part of their daily lives.

Ulgii - Golden Eagle Festival - Archers

Mongolia’s Altai Mountains is the birthplace of the Tsuur, one of the original human musical instruments, while the Mongols are its creator. One of the people who gave birth to the woodwind musical instrument, the Mongolian Tsuur took on ancient shapes, the method of performing, techniques, traditional repertoire and specific schools of performance in the century. 21, preserved only in a handful of ethnic Mongol Uriankhai origin in the Altai Region. The Mongolian sub-ethnic group Uriankhai of the Altai Region resides on the remote western border of Mongolia, making up the majority of the population in the Duut and Munkh-Khairkhan Soums (County) areas of Khovd Aimag (Province), as well as live, in places smaller than groups, in Buyant, Altai, Bulgan, Altan-Tsugts Soums (County) of Bayan Ulgiy Aimag (Province). 

Tsuur - Mongolian Centuries Old Traditional Musical Heritage

Even among the Uriankhai Mongolians, only descendants and apprentices of the late Paarain Narantsogt of the Tsagaan Tug tribe, a resident of Duut Soum (District), Khovd Aimag (Province) are still preserved. Tradition of the Tsuur art. As the local elders witnessed, until the 1950s, each Uriankhai family had its own Tsuur and the vast majority of Uriankhai Mongolian men could play Tsuur. Unfortunately, in the aftermath of a short historical period spanning six decades, there has been negligence and hatred for everything related to national heritage, folklore, and literature. localization and religious beliefs, the Tsuur tradition has faded, leaving the locals no longer Tsuur performers and no family that owns Tsuur.

“Mongolian traditional music of the Tsuur” was inscribed in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding in 2009.

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