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Ted Szukalski

Gallery of fine art photography.

Morin Khur the horse-headed violin


Somewhere opposite the Hilton Hotel in an alcove of a closed shop sat an Asian man with a very strange, two-stringed violin. It’s base was rectangular and it a distinct sculptured head of the horse at the top. I found out later this instrument is called Morin Khur and originates from Mongolia. The horse hair bow produces low timbered sounds, resembling at points human voice. The musician was singing a low base chant which seemed to come from somewhere deep within in him. It resembled some of the chants I have heard in Buddhist monasteries. The notes were prolonged, somehow monotonous and yet they generated interesting harmony with the Morin Khur violin. It was an unusual, rewarding experience to listen to this music. Certainly breaks the mold from the usual street musicians we see here in Sydney.

I found a clip on YouTube, where a Mongolian virtuoso is showing how beautifully Morin Khur can sound. This is beautiful music no matter what your cultural background may be. Enjoy!

And here is an example of Morin Khur combined with throat singing.