Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS)

Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS)'s image
Created: 2014-09-19 16:39
Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology
Description: Many musical instruments traditionally used in Kalmykia are also common among other nomadic peoples in Central Asia. Materials used in the making of musical instruments are various, including animal skin, hair, wood, not to mention stones, shells, and metals.

Kalmyk musical instruments can be divided into religious and folk instruments. The former were used during religious festivals and celebrations, whereas the latter at various social occasions such as weddings, concerts, competitions or simply for private entertainment.
Due to dramatic social changes in the past century, many traditional musical instruments along with accompanying melodies have either disappeared or are on the verge of being forgotten.

On this page, you can watch videos of various musical instruments and listen to stories, legends, and myths about them.

Religious (musical instruments)

In the past monastic orchestras usually consisted of about two dozen different musical instruments, but during daily rituals the number of instruments was less. The most frequently used instruments can be divided into the following two categories:

Percussion: Khonkh (bell), kenkrg (drum with drumsticks), tsan (small sound plates), denshya (consists of two brass plates, the knobs of which are connected by means of a short leather string), dodrm (wooden frame with copper brasses inside), and damaru (small drum).

Wind: Dung (white shell), bishkur (wooden pipe), ganlin (horn made of human thigh bones or wood, covered with silver), burya-bishkur (short pipe), ukr burya (long and heavy clarinet, resembling an elephant’s trunk), and burya (middle-sized clarinet).

Folk (musical instruments)

It was in the Soviet period that many folk instruments disappeared being either relegated to museum shelves or left only as pictures on the pages of historical documents. As a result, today the number of instruments in everyday use is minimal, with dombra being the most popular. Dombra, a long-necked string instrument, is used as a solo as well as an ensemble instrument. Khur, a fiddle instrument, is used less often.

In Kalmykia the revival of musical instruments began in the 1980s. In the Elista School of Arts of Chonkushov, a class was opened to teach traditional instruments, including dombra, yochin (dulcimer), yatkha (zither), khuchir (bowed musical instrument), morn khur (horsehead fiddle), and limbu (flute). Today in Kalmykia there are several orchestras and ensembles, including Tyulpan, the National Orchestra of Kalmykia, Oirat, Jangar, and Erdm, that use traditional instruments in their repertoire.
 

Media items

This collection contains 33 media items.

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Media items

Alena Lidzhieva, Dombra Melodies

   41 views

Alena plays Kalmyk melodies on the dombra instrument, including Siberian melodies and those of the songs ‘Okonov Naran’ and ‘Kotush’.

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Fri 12 Jun 2015


Arslan Shavgurov, A Dombra Concert

   32 views

The concert shown in this video is performed by the Kalmyk National Symphonic Orchestra. The soloist is Arslan Shavgurov, an Honored Artist of Kalmykia. The composer and director...

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Fri 22 Jan 2016


Arslan Shavgurov, Dombra Melodies

   12 views

Arslan plays several melodies on a dombra, including Dargin, Chechen, Adygei, and Kalmyk melodies.
Arslan relays that according to a legend, the Russian balalaika originates from...

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Thu 24 Sep 2015


Bembya Fedorov, A Legend About the Tsan

   18 views

Bembya relays a legend about the tsan musical instrument as mentioned in Kim Shovunov’s book The Kalmyks as Part of the Cossacks: The Second Half of the 17-19 Century (1992)....

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Mon 30 Jan 2017


Elena Olzeeva, About Playing Dombra

   2 views

Elena explains the difference between Torghut and Derbet styles of playing the dombra instrument.

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Sat 25 Aug 2018


Khargchin Koldzhieva, About the Dung and Bishkyur

   14 views

Khargchin recalls how in the 1990s she witnessed lamas playing instruments in a temple in Elista.

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Thu 9 Feb 2017


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