The morin khuur, a Mongolian folk instrument, is not only a national instrument but also an important part of their heritage and culture. It has been played for centuries by the nomadic people of the grasslands and now has found its place on the big stage.
The most ancient string instruments are said to hail from the nomadic cultures of the East. They discovered that sound can be achieved by rubbing the strings of two bows together. The Mongolian people also have a legend that explains the origins of the morin khuur. The favourite white horse of a boy was killed by an evil khan. During the night, the spirit of the horse came to him in his sleep, telling the boy to make a musical instrument out of its body. The neck of the first morin khuur was made out of the horse’s bone, the string out of horse hair, and the main body covered with horse skin. The two then remained inseparable.
The horsehead fiddle
The music of the morin khuur often comes paired with throat singing. Battulga is talented at both and performs songs on the morin khuur as well as folk songs using throat singing. Not every morin khuur player is able to use throat singing. It is a separate discipline that requires years of training from a young age. Battulga suggests that throat singing was a tactic used by Mongolian warriors. “It might not sound particularly scary now, but imagine if a whole army of soldiers began singing at the same time.”
The morin khuur traveled to Europe with the famous 13th-century traveler Marco Polo, who was in China during the rule of the Mongolian Yuan dynasty. The morin khuur has spread into other parts of the world with the Mongol people. Apart from Mongolia, it is also played in the south of Russia and in Inner Mongolia in China. The modern morin khuur has been adapted to play any type of music, ranging from traditional tunes to classical pieces.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.