The byzaanchy is a bowed instrument with four strings. The first and third strings are tuned to the same note, and the second and fourth strings are tuned a fifth higher. The sound box is covered with goat skin in front and is open in back. Nachyn Choodu is shown above playing an old byzaanchy from the Bai-Taiga region of Tuva.
The word "byzaanchy" comes from the Tuvan word for calf. It is said that playing the byzaanchy is like milking the sound out of the instrument, as if the four strings were the four udders of a cow. The bow is threaded between the strings (image) so that it is drawn across both the upper and lower surfaces of the horsehair. The strings are fingered lightly from underneath (image) rather than being pressed against the neck. In its interlocking of bow and strings, the byzaanchy resembles the Chinese huqin family of instruments.
Watch Mai-ool Sedip play the byzaanchy.
Alash is performing outside the Rubin Museum Art
as part of the Make Music New York festival, 2007.
(filmed by Kirt Markle)