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Disappearing Horchin Mongolian Narrative Songs



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Ujeed, Uranchimeg 


This presentation discusses the present situation of Horchin Mongolian folk narrative songs, based on my fieldwork carried out in the spring of 2010. Most Horchin Mongolian songs are narratives based on actual events, and are a combination of storytelling and singing accompanied by the Mongol huur, a four stringed fiddle. Only bards known as huurchi and a small number of very talented people can perform them in the proper fashion, a process that lasts several hours. While the Horchin Mongolian song tradition still exists, it is at the verge of disappearing and most modern bards now perform their songs in a very changed or fractured form.

I begin by describing the current status of the huurchi and folk narrative traditions and then address the historical, social, cultural and political reasons for the present, perilous situation of Horchin Mongolian songs. I conclude by discussing the future prospects for Horchin Mongolian songs, and their preservation and dissemination.


World Oral Literature Project Workshop 2010

*** Additional details on on the file 'Four seasons by Mongholjei.MPG'.

Dörben ularil/ (Four Seasons) by Mönghöljei filmed by Uranchimeg in Shibarnuur, 18th April 2010

This is a very traditional song with a long tune related to the nomadic life style. The meaning of the song is: When (spring summer, autumn, winter) comes, the colour of the earth changes into (tender green, mature green, yellow, and bare). Although we prefer to stay in the current (spring, summer, autumn, winter) quarter (camp), we have to slowly move away, as the destination is far and pasture lands are vastly scattered.

*** Additional details on the file ‘Hanxiuying by Mongholjei.MPG’ Hanxiuying/ sung by Mönghöljei, filmed by Uranchimeg in Shibarnuur, 18th April 2010.

This is an incomplete Narrative song about an arranged marriage. This singing took place in a real life context of a feast in which relatives gathered to share a freshly prepared mutton. Mönghöljei is an ordinary country man who is good at singing.

*** Additional details on the file ‘Preparation for battle by Shudurgu.MPG’

Preparation for Battle/ by Shudurgu, filmed by Uyungowa in Agajud,10th April 2010.

This specific/holboo/ (a style of singing art which is focused on art of wording with poetic rhyming) is developed from heroic epic performance. It involves modern story telling as well traditional /holboo,/ and the hero is from a Chinese opera called /Weihushan/ which is about a battle of the People’s Liberation Army. The episode is solely a description ofthe hero’s dressing up, armouring himself and saddling his horse before setting out to a battle.

*** Additional details on the file ‘Taagin Togtah by Butgegchi.MPG

Taagin Togtah/ by sung Butgegchi, filmed by Uyungowa in Agajud,10th April 2010.

This is an incomplete narrative song about a national hero Togtah’s armed struggling against foreign land occupation and suppression of Qing troops at the threshold of the 20^th century. Butgegchi is an amateur bard living Horchin Left Wing North Banner, Inner Mongolia, China.

*** Additional details on the file ‘Tengriin Salhin by Mongholjei.MPG’

Tengrin Salhin/ (Wind of the Sky) by Mönghöljei filmed by Uranchimeg in Shibarnuur, 18th April 2010.

The brief meaning of this traditional song is: the wind of the sky is not even (certain), the physical bodies of us are not eternal as nobody has taken ambrosia, let us live happily at this moment.

*** Additional details on the file 'Horchin Songs_archive-h264_high_dl_null_5.mp4'

Horchin Songs - An edited version of the songs ‘Hanxiuying’ and ‘Taagin Togtah’.


oral literature, Horchin, Mongolia, narrative song

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