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Posts tagged “tuvan legends and tales

A Tuvinian Tale,Oskus-ool, the Fisherman




Long, long time ago, in the earliest times, there was a courageous man. One day he saw a white yurt in an uninhabited place and every morning sounds came from it. One day he came into the yurt and saw a golden princess there. The next morning he went to a hight mountain on the right side of the yurt and began watching the yurt. In doing so, he saw the princess hopped out of the yurt and ran straight to the ash heap and turned out into an ordinary archer.
When the times came for big archery competition, everybody, hearing and admiring the sounds of the bowstring, forgot about their everyday activities and went to watch the competition. The person who was competing with the princess took her bowstring and tore it in order to defeat her.
The wind in the sky learned about all this, came with force, rolled the black wool into a black cloud, the white wool into the white cloud and spun them around in a whirlwind. The competitor was immobilized, standing on one place, and turned into a stone statue. The archers began whistling sygyt and the echo of the cliff carried it further and further.
From that time, this place has been called yaar turug, “singing rock” and that was how the style sygyt originated from the imitation of sound of bowstring.

Konstantin Khlynov



LEGENDS ABOUT THE SHOOR ( Shoor is a kind of longitudinal flute, made of wood or dried hollow inside plant stem)

Shoor (Шоор)

It is a wind instrument. It is a kind of longitudinal flute, made of wood or dried hollow inside plant stem. Length is not less than 50-60 cm in diameter at the base of 1.5-2 cm. It is open on both sides. The wider end of the tube is pressed at the right half of the mouth to the upper teeth. Whistling sound is obtained by blowing air. Periodically closing and opening the outlet, as well as changing the air pressure, a performer receives sounds of basic overtone of the main tone. Shoor sounds softly, iridescently. The modus doesn’t have the certain height and depends on the length of the instrument.


In one of legends of the hunters of the Todzhu region, it is told how one hunter, after severel days of fruitless hunting, made himself a shoor in the evening and, after eating, played upon on it long, sad melodies. Late at night the hunter suddenly heard a voice coming from the shoor, distinctly saying : “Tomorow you will catch a big wild animal that is blind in one eye.” The hunter, afraid, leapt up and looked around. There was nothing but the embers of the fire next to him and the night sound of the taiga around him. The hunter decided he was hallucinating and lay down to sleep. Waking early in the morning he went first to check his traps, snares, and self-firing crossbows. Once again they were empty. However, at the very farthest crossbows there lay a big elk stag. When the hunter began to clean it, he saw that animal was missing one eye. The animal probably at some point had its eye poked out by some branch or lost it in fight with another stag.

In a different legend of the hunters of the Chöön-Khemchik region it is told how two hunters were hunting at one camp. One of them was having great luck, and the other was having none. One evening, the luckless hunter made himself a shoor and, sitting by the fire, began to play it. The other hunter was one of the people the Tuvans call karang körnür,i.e. he had the ability to see inhabitants of the spirit world which is not given to every mortal. ( Tuvans consider that this kind of ability is not exclusive to lamas and shamans.) This hunter could see spirit-mistress of the taiga sitting upon the nose of the other, listening to his music with pleasure. Then, dozing off, she slipped off his nose, down the shoor and onto the ground. This was so amusing that hunter couldn’t contain himself and burst out laughing, telling the other hunter why he was laughing. They say that from then on the mistress of the taiga was insulted and this hunter never had luck in the hunt again.

Konstantin Khlynov

Listen Shoor by Radik Tyulyush



The demir-khomus has existed among the Tuvans since time immemorial. The demir-khomus has a chamber sound, and therein lies its special charm.
Its origin is connected in folk memory with the tragedy of star-crossed lovers. The story goes that there lived a young girl who was given against her will to be the wife of a rich man. The young man who loved her was a skilled blacksmith, and when this happened he forged a khomus for himself. Playing on the khomus, he forgot about food and sleep, pouring out all the feeling that overflowed from his soul. In the end, he went out of his mind and killed himself by jumping off a cliff into a swift mountain river. His lover fled from the rich man, and finding out about this, she threw herself off the very same cliff. Only the khomus forged by the hands of the unhappy lover remained.
Konstantin Khlynov