Many types of instruments with origins across Eurasia and southeast Asia have been used in our ensembles studio recordings as well as during live performances. Some of our largest live performances have encompassed 6-7 live performers.
Live Performance and Studio Instruments
According to Paul Guy the name "guitar" comes from the ancient Sanskrit word for "string" - "tar". This is the language from which the languages of central Asia and northern India developed. Many stringed folk instruments exist in Central Asia to this day which has been used in an almost unchanged form for several thousand years, as shown by archeological finds in the area. It is argued that the guitar made its way in primitive forms from Mesopotamia onward to Egypt and into Europe over a several thousand year period. There is some evidence that the 12 string guitar concept was inspired by Mexican instruments such as the guitarra séptima, the guitarra quinta huapanguera, and the bajo sexto. The 12 string guitar was arguably invented in the early 20th century and regarded as an instrument with natural chorus.
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12 String Guitar
The khomus is a lamellophone instrument, which is in the category of plucked idiophones: it consists of a flexible metal or bamboo tongue or reed attached to a frame. The tongue/reed is placed in the performer's mouth and plucked with the finger to produce a note. Each instrument produces one pitch only, with its multiples (overtones), though different sized instruments provide different pitches. There is no standard pitch. The khomus is also called the jews harp and can be found settled within different cultures throughout Eurasia.
The tsuur is an end-blown flute of varying lengths that is common among Inner Asian pastoralists. There are only three to five holes to finger. The blowing technique utilises the teeth, tongue and lips in the same way as Ney in Classical Persian music. The Tsuur is usually immersed in water before playing in order to seal any leaks in the wood. The melodies that are played on the Tsuur are usually imitations of the sound of water, animal cries and birdsongs as heard by shepherds whilst on the steppes or the mountain slopes of the Altai.
Duyuglar (дуюглар) in the plural. This is a self-sounding percussion (idiophone), made by first boiling and then drying horse hooves. Sound production is from the beating of the hooves directly with each other and ornamental bells and other metallic objects can be added to the inside. This instrument was manufactured for the first time and put into music use by percussionist and drummer Alexey Saryglar, one the collaborative members of Living Mythologies.
The Xapchyk is a percussion instrument, membranofon. It is made with a dried bull scrotum (membrane), which is filled with boiled and dried sheep patella mixed with other metallic objects in certain cases. The sound is produced by impact to the membrane. It was put to use by group percussionist Alexey Saryglar one of the collaborative members of Living Mythologies.
It is a large double-sided drum. It was taken from the musical instruments of Buddhism and modernized by group percussionist Alexey Saryglar. Both sides are upholstered in leather wild goat. The wooden frame is made of hard rock larch.
The modern rock drum kit is argued to have its roots in marching band instruments that were all originally played separately. In time innovative stands and integrative structures have evolved. Different degrees of tightness etc. can be applied to give drums different timbres. Thus far, Living Mythologies has enjoyed applying sounds from the east bay drum kit with its crisp tight sound.
The byzaanchy is a four-stringed vertical spike fiddle used in the traditional music of Tuva. It is similar to the Chinese sihu. However, the byzaanchy's soundbox is generally made of wood whereas the sihu usually has a metal soundbox. The byzaanchy's soundbox may be cylindrical or, more rarely, cubical. The instrument's four strings are in courses of two, one of each pair tuned together, to the interval of a fifth. The horsehair bow is divided into two portions of hair. A carved horse's head generally features at the top of the instrument's wooden neck. In recent years metallic tuning pegs have been prepared and attached to the top. It is said by players that although this provides an additional layer of control, at the same time the pegs can absorb as much as 30% of the sound.
The contrabass bass is the only string instrument in the western collection tuned in fourths and it is said that before the 20th century it only had three strings. Today contrabasses can have even five strings.
The igil is a two-stringed Tuvan musical instrument, played by bowing the strings. The neck and lute-shaped sound box are usually made of a solid piece of pine or larch. The top of the sound box may be covered with skin or a thin wooden plate. The strings, and those of the bow, are traditionally made of hair from a horse's tail (strung parallel), but may also be made of nylon. The process of preparing a single set of horse hair strings can be a two week process encompassing all kinds of weeding and proccessing as well as treatment in river water followed by hanging. This is all prerequisite to the final traditional procedure of picking more ideal strings that have less brittle horse hair. Like the morin khuur of Mongolia, the igil typically features a carved horse's head at the top of the neck above the tuning pegs, and both instruments are known as the horsehead fiddle. Yet unlike the morin khuur, the igil is said to have stayed true to the original timbre-centered sound quality while the mourin khuur in effect has become a modified primitive fiddle that produces a relatively pitch-centered sound. The igil is held nearly upright when played, with the sound box of the instrument in the performer's lap, or braced against the top of the performer's boot. The playing technique involves touching the strings with the nails or fingertips, but without pressing them to the neck. The igil has no frets. The bow is held with an underhand grip.
The doshpuluur is a long-necked Tuvan lute made from wood, usually pine or larch. The doshpuluur is played by plucking and strumming. There are two different versions of the doshpuluur. One version has a trapezoidal soundbox, which is covered on both sides by goat skin and is fretless. The other has a kidney-shaped soundbox mostly of wood with a small goat or snake skin roundel on the front and has frets. Traditionally the instrument has only two strings, but there exist versions of it with three or even four strings. The two strings are commonly tuned a perfect fifth apart, with the third string usually forming the octave. Sometimes the two strings are tuned a perfect fourth apart. Like the other stringed instruments of Tuva, it is traditionally used as an accompaniment for a solo performance. We have never recorded a song in which both doshpuluur and bass are performed concurrently.
The Đàn bầu is a Vietnamese stringed instrument, in the form of a monochord (one-string) zither. Originally, the dan bau was made of just four parts: a bamboo tube, a wooden rod, a coconut shell half, and a silk string. The string was strung across the bamboo, tied on one end to the rod, which is perpendicularly attached to the bamboo. The coconut shell was attached to the rod, serving as a resonator. In present time, the bamboo has been replaced by a wooden soundboard, with hardwood as the sides and softwood as the middle. An electric guitar string has replaced the traditional silk string. While the gourd is still present, it is now generally made of wood, acting only as a decorative feature. Furthermore, most dan bau nowadays have modern tuning machines, so the base pitch of the string can be adjusted. Usually the instrument is tuned to one octave below middle C, about 131 Hz, but it can be tuned to other notes to make it easier to play in keys distant from C. Read More Here: (Read More in English) (详情点击)
The dap or daf is a large Middle Eastern frame drum used in popular and classical music. The frame is usually made of hardwood with many metal ringlets attached, and the membrane is usually goatskin. The Daf is mostly used in the Middle East, Iran (Persia), India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia, and usually accompanies singers and players of the tanbur, violin, oud, saz and other Middle Eastern instruments. Some dafs are equipped with small cymbals, making them analogous to a large tambourine. The Uyghur dap may be less unique in terms of material construction and more so unique in terms of the vast array of highly unique beats and rhythmic signatures for which it is used to perform.
Rubbab, robab, rabab, Uighur: راۋاپ (rawap), Uzbek: рубоб (rubob), Chinese: 热瓦甫, is an Uyghur, Uzbek, Tajik stringed instrument. Popular in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and other countries. According to legend, it was created in the fourteenth century. According to Mullah Aismu Tulamuji, "The History of Musicians", the Rubob originates from Kashgar Rubob, which is popular among the people of southern Xinjiang and has a total length of 130 cm. The body is made of wood and the ears are hemispherical. They are covered with sheepskin, horses kin or other skins. The neck is slender and the top is curved. (Read More in English) (详情点击)
The Uyghur Ghirjek (also spelled ghaychak) is arguably another silk road instrument with vague origins. It is likely the conglomeration of centuries of trade and travel in the area of today's western China and perhaps a fusion technology based on several earlier instruments. Generally, the modern Ghirjek has four strings tuned similarly to a violin while the ancient design of the Ghirjek may have had sympathetic strings in additional to its main strings that were made of primitive materials such as dried and wrapped animal organs. There are bass, middle and high Ghirjeks much like the variants of the western string instruments. The Ghirjek resembles the Iranian Kamancheh and it is said that the instrument is often made out of apricot wood.
The term can refer to various long-necked, string instruments originating in Mesopotamia, Southern or Central Asia. Nowadays the term tambur (or tanbur) is applied to a variety of distinct and related long-necked string instruments used in art and folk traditions in Iran, India, Iraqi Kurdistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, Tajikestan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan. The Uyghur tambur is performed with a steele pick that is attached to the index finger of the strumming hand and is used to flick the string.
Satar is the largest Uyghur instrument. It is a bowed instrument with a set of sympathetic strings at the bass. The modern satar is said to have undergone miniturization reducing its size possibly as much as 60-70%. It is one of the most distinct instruments in the Uyghur musical instrument world.