Nomadic Expeditions:

Mongolian Music

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Mongolia, with its relatively small population, has a strikingly rich and varied traditional musical culture. It combines archaic elements dating from ancient times with musical traditions connected with borrowings dating from later periods. Traditional music was influenced deeply by the lifestyles and economy, as well as by the beliefs of the Mongols. Many specific features of Mongolian music the way the sound is produced vocally, the timbre and coloring of the sound, the way musical instrument...

Mongolia, with its relatively small population, has a strikingly rich and varied traditional musical culture. It combines archaic elements dating from ancient times with musical traditions connected with borrowings dating from later periods. Traditional music was influenced deeply by the lifestyles and economy, as well as by the beliefs of the Mongols. Many specific features of Mongolian music the way the sound is produced vocally, the timbre and coloring of the sound, the way musical instruments are played all of this is determined by the close relationship of music to the natural environment and by the Mongol's notions about the essence of music and its purpose. It is a reflection of the relationship between people and nature as seen through the patterns of its inherited and evolving logic. 'Throat' singing is achieved by tensing their vocal chords and pressing air through them with great force. This gives the instrument-like effect of a fundamental note rich in overtones which can then be modulated by different formations of the mouth cavity. This vocal production makes great use of the diaphragm, demanding at the same time special use of the throat and mouth; all of these elements have to be learned separately. Not everyone can acquire this talent, but it is still fairly common among male singers, especially in Eastern Mongolia. And what is even more incredible, some individuals can produce this wordless, almost supernatural whistling while riding on horseback. directed by Roger Moenks

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