Instruments
Igil Doshpuluur Byzaanchy Chanzy Chadagan Xomus Murgu Percussion
Wind Instruments
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Ayan Shirizhik plays the murgu

Ayan Shirizhik
playing the murgu

(photo by Sergei
Mikhailovich Yelovikov)

Mai-ool Sedip plays the limbi

Mai-ool Sedip
playing the limbi

(photo by Sergei
Mikhailovich Yelovikov)

The MURGU is an overtone flute with a treble range. It is an end-blown tube with no holes, usually made from the stalk of an angelica plant. Melodies are produced by adjusting the airflow and covering or uncovering the bottom end with a finger. Since the traditional murgu is fragile and impermanent, Sayan Chambal crafted a special one for Alash, designed to withstand the rigors of touring. The murgu shown below is made from a ski pole.

murgu
Ayan Shirizhik plays the shoor

Ayan Shirizhik
playing the shoor

The SHOOR is a long end-blown flute made from a hollowed-out willow or larch branch, with holes for varying the pitch. The player places the shoor in the corner of his mouth, with the end partly in front of the teeth, partly behind them, and uses his tongue to complete the embouchure.

Read three legends about the shoor.

The LIMBI (or limpi) is a side-blown, open-ended flute with an alto range. It is made of wood or bamboo, with holes for controlling the pitch. The number of holes varies. Mai-ool Sedip is shown at left, playing a limbi.

Nachyn Choodu plays the amyrga

Nachyn Choodu
playing the amyrga

The AMYRGA is a hunting horn made to imitate the mating call of the male Siberian red deer. It is not used melodically but only to mimic the animal's sound. The player inhales rather than exhales to produce a tone. The long conical tube is generally carved from Siberian pine in two halves which are fastened together with birch bark, but the same sound can be produced from a slightly tapered cone of any rigid material. The amyrga shown at right is made of coated paper.

Listen to Ayan Shirizhik play the murgu.

Listen to Bady-Dorzhu Ondar play the limbi.

Watch Nachyn Choodu play the amyrga.
Millennium Stage, Kennedy Center, Washington DC
6 August 2009