Instruments
Igil Doshpuluur Byzaanchy Chanzy Chadagan Xomus Murgu Percussion
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Ayan Shirizhik plays the murgu
Ayan Shirizhik
playing the murgu
Photo by Sergei Mikhailovich Yelovikov

Ayan Shirizhik plays the murgu
Mai-ool Sedip
playing the limbi

  The MURGU is an overtone flute, an end-blown tube with no holes, usually made from the stalk of an angelica plant. Melodies are produced by adjusting the airflow and covering or uncovering the bottom end with a finger. Since the traditional murgu is fragile and impermanent, Sayan Chambal crafted a special one for Alash, designed to withstand the rigors of touring. This murgu, shown below, is made from a ski pole. At left, Ayan Shirizhik is shown playing the murgu.
Murgu Murgu

The SHOOR is a long end-blown flute made from a hollowed-out willow or larch branch, with holes for varying the pitch. The player places the shoor in the corner of his mouth, with the end partly in front of the teeth, partly behind them, and uses his tongue to complete the embouchure. Ayan Shirizhik is shown at right, playing the shoor. Read three legends about the shoor.


The LIMBI is a side-blown, open-ended flute made of wood or bamboo, with holes for controlling the pitch. The number of holes varies. Mai-ool Sedip is shown at left, playing a limbi.


Nachyn Choodu playing the amyrgaThe AMYRGA is a hunting horn made to imitate the mating call of the male Siberian red deer. The long conical tube is generally carved from Siberian pine in two halves which are fastened together with birch bark, but the same sound can be produced from a slightly tapered cone of any rigid material. The player inhales rather than exhales to produce a tone. The amyrga is not used melodically but only to imitate the animal's sound. Nachyn Choodu is shown at right, playing an amyrga made of coated paper.
Watch Nachyn Choodu play the amyrga. [0:26]

Hear the murgu and limbi
Click for murgu demo by Ayan Shirizhik
Click for limbi demo by Bady-Dorzhu Ondar