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【Instrument】Miniature handheld metal instrument - The Tuvan Jew's Harp (Khomus)

Hello everyone, today we will introduce you to a special miniature instrument used in Living Mythologies - the turkic Khomus.

The Khomus is popular among Chinese Mongolian people, such as Yi, Hui, Daur, Oroqen, Ewenki, Hezhe, Manchu, and Yunnan ethnic minorities as well as the Russian Tuvans, that Altains and the people of Yakutsk, etc. Among all of these, in the Oroqen language the instruments is called the "Minuka", and also called "Tian En Gong" (meaning the sound of iron), the Daur people called it the "Mu Ku Lian", while the Ewenki people called it the "Peng Liukan", and in Tuvan language it is called " "Khomus", while in Chinese it is called "koqin."

Mostly made of iron (and sometimes made of copper), it is about 12-15 cm (or six to ten centimeters) long, consisting of two parts: the piano and the spring. During a performance of the instruments, the player's left-hand grips the root of the Khomus, placing the spring part between the lips, while the right index finger rests against the end of the library, and using the thumb to move the spring, the reed vibrates and makes a "cricket-frog ribbety" sound. The sound nuances are enhanced by the mouth and lips, and the strength of the breath is adjusted to adjust the volume as well as tone. With the strength of the player's movement and the size of the airflow, the range and volume are slightly changed, and the entire mouth also acts as a resonance box, converting the sound of "weng weng" into a "wow" sound. Men use the first and second joints of the index finger to play in the middle, and the intensity is large. Even the body swings with the beat, showing the grace of a man, and the tone is also relatively thick and bright. The woman plucked gently with her fingertips and her voice was softer. The volume is very small, and even in very quiet occasions, it can only be heard by a few people. Due to the narrow range of the chord and the weak volume, it is generally only possible to play extremely simple pieces for the performer to enjoy. This kind of instrument not only relies on the vibration of the air to pronounce, but also needs to use the finger to move the reed, and then use the mouth to open and close, and use the role of the mouth to match the sound. Construct the two parts of the sheath and the reed. The piano has large, medium and small points. The larger the model, the lower the sound and the thicker the sound. When played, the left thumb, index finger and middle finger are set up to hold the handle, and put the body in the mouth, then use the right index finger or thumb to move the small handle, and used to move the small handle to move the reed strip to vibrate and pronounce.

Living Mythologies member Mergen plays Tuvan Khomus

The Tuva stringed piano used by Mergen, a member of the mythical relay band, is made of iron and is smaller in shape. The design is simple but exquisite, and the sound is quiet and charming. The exact time of the origin of the Tuva Khomus is no longer clear. But the legend about the origin of the chord has always existed. Russian scholar Konstantin Khlynov has provided a very tragic story:

"A long time ago, there was a beautiful girl. Her beauty was well known, and many boys were eager to show her courtesy. But she was born with a handsome, handsome, hand-crafted guy. Two people seize the limited opportunity to meet each other every day, very sweet. However, the good times did not last long. A wealthy family member visited the girl’s yurt, and the girl’s parents agreed to the marriage. This means she can no longer fall in love with her sweetheart. So the two people have never had the chance to meet, and the girls were far away from home. The young man deals with his flock every day, but could not see the person he misses. His heart was very painful. In order to alleviate the suffering, he used iron as raw material to create an exquisite musical instrument. So when he grazes every day, he could dial the reeds of the chords and tell his inner feelings. Unexpectedly, perhaps because it was too sad, he was completely immersed in his own world, so that he forgot the flock, forgot the food, forgot the way home, and finally, his spirit began to malfunction, losing his lover. In great pain, he jumped from the cliff and fell into the cold and rushing river... and the girl heard this, her heart was like a knife, and she was deeply angered. She escaped from her husband's house, came to the cliff, silently closed her eyes, quietly and resolutely jumped down and met with her lover in the river. The khomus was quietly lying on the edge of the cliff and was preserved."

Tuvan Demir Khomus

This is a Tuvan folk story about the origin of the chord. It’s really amazing, and we hope that the world’s lovers will eventually become wise... and the Khomus used by Living Mythologies was brought from the Tuva of Republic by Mergen’s Tuva friend Bady-Ochur. Thank you very much, Bady-Ochur!!!

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