Khuuchir and Dorvon Chikhtei Khuur


These two instruments are very similar. The Khuuchir and Dorvon Chikhtei Khuur being a two and four stringed spiked fiddle respectively. The resonator can be cylindrical or polygonal and made of either wood or metal. The face is covered with sheep or snakeskin with the belly or back left open to act as the sound hole. The strings are either gut or metal and are pulled towards the shaft (spike) by a loop of string and metal ring midway between the tuning pegs and the body. A horse-hair bow is threaded between the strings which are tuned a fifth apart. Chikhtei means ear in Mongolian so the name of the instrument translates as “four eared” instrument.


One of the interesting things about these two instruments is the bowing technique. The bow rests between the two strings. To play the high string you bow in a forwards direction and to play the low string you bow in a backwards direction. On the Khuuchir this is relatively simple but on the Dorvon Chikhtei Khuur the bow is more complex. The two highest strings are not adjacent but alternate with the two low strings. The bow is split into two to enable bowing away from the body to play the two high strings and bowing towards the body to play the two low strings.


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