The xomus (or khomus) is a jaw harp, also known as a Jew's harp. The metal xomus used in Tuvan music is called the demir-xomus. The instrument consists of a flexible metal tongue attached to a frame. The frame is held against the performer's teeth, and the metal tongue is plucked with the finger to produce a note. The xomus is a one-pitch instrument, but the player, by changing the shape of his mouth and the flow of air, creates melodies by emphasizing various overtones. Ayan Shirizhik is pictured playing the xomus.
Listen to Kongar-ool Ondar play the xomus.
Listen to Ayan Shirizhik play the xomus.
Watch Nachyn Choodu play the xomus
at the Millennium Stage, Kennedy Center,
Washington DC, on 8 August 2009.