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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Nomadic based culture



Nomadic based culture
Like every other nomadic culture, Mongolian culture is well-known for its hospitality. Upon guests’ arrival, traditional offerings and treats are served - dairy products in the summer time, and meat in the winter. Traditionally a Mongolian, even during his absence, will leave his ger unlocked, in order to allow any passer-by to rest and enjoy the treats which are left on the table for visitors.
Mongolians traditionally lead a pastoral, nomadic lifestyle. Because of the climate and short growing season, animal husbandry defines the nomadic lifestyle, with agriculture playing a second role. Nomads raise five types of animals - goats, sheep, cattle (including yaks), camels and horses - that provide meat, dairy products, transportation, and wool. Of these animals, the horse holds the highest position in Mongolian tales and legends.

As one of the only remaining horse-based cultures left in the world, Mongolians greatly cherish their horses. Outside the capital, the horse is still the main mode of transportation and children begin riding as soon as they can sit up. Nomads are extremely proud of their riding skills and horse racing is a favorite pastime. Believing the race to be a test of the animal's and not the rider's ability, young children are often the jockeys. The most prestigious tests of these superb animals are the horse races at the Naadam Festival.
Nomadic families follow a seasonal routine, moving the herds to new grazing land based on the time of year, rather than one of aimless wandering. Daily responsibilities are divided evenly among family members and no one person's work is considered more important than another's. Traditionally, men take care of the horses arid, the herds and make saddles, harnesses, and weapons. In addition, they hunt to supplement  the traditional diet of dairy products. Women also milk cows, goats and mares (the national drink is airag - fermented mare's milk). Despite their enterprise, however, Mongolians are not self-sufficient. Since ancient times, they have traded with surrounding civilizations far grain, rice, tea, silk, cotton and etc. Women's responsibilities include cooking, taking care of the children and making clothing (the traditional Mongolian costume is the ankle-length silk del).
Mongolian Music
The most significant Mongolian art forms are Khoomi singing (throat singing) and the playing of the Morin Huur - Horse Head fiddle and long song.
Khoomi Singing- The physics of Khoomi singing are still not completely understood, but it’s basic principles are known. Most natural sounds are composed of a base pitch (fundamental) plus many more tones at higher pitches (harmonics). Usually our ears zero in on the fundamental and that is the pitch that our mind assigns to the sound. The fewer the harmonics the “purer” the sound (e.g., a flute does not produce many harmonic tones), whereas the presence of more harmonics makes the sound “richer”. The human voice is rich with harmonics (edited by jeffrey driedger). By dividing the mouth into two cavities and modulating the resonant pitches of each, the Khoomi singer is able to suppress the fundamental or base pitch and amplify one or two harmonics so that our ears register them as separate tones rather than as one complex tone. It is almost as difficult to describe in writing what khoomi sounds like as it would be to learn khoomi singing from a set of instructions! The end result is that you are hearing one person sing in what seems to be two or three different tones or notes at the same time. It is eerie, and beautiful. As the singer’s rich bass voice sings the words, there will be a whistling overtone and sometimes a humming mid tone.
Morin Huur- Used in Khoomi singing and in other forms of traditional music, the origins of the Morin Huur lie with the Chinese two-stringed fiddle. With its typical horse-head carving crowning the instrument, the Morin Huur plays a major part in all classic Mongolian forms of music. To this day people of all ages play it.
Long Song- The Mongolian long song is a truly nomadic art form. It can be sung without any accompanying instruments and is very melodic, and the voices of good long song singers can carry over immense distances. Common themes include nature, family, animals, and epic tales.

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