Regional Distribution of KHOREKTEER and its typology, TUVA

Regional Distribution of KHOREKTEER and its typology
Method of performance KHOREKTEER
The method of khorekteer itself is the basis for all archaic styles and therefore each           kind of melodic singing is unthinkable           without introduction based on this method.
Other traditional methods of performance whichrequire special professional skills


  • Dumchuktaar – nasal performance
  • Uyangylaar – performance in a doleful, pitiful manner
  • Damyraktaar –  imitation  of  the  sounds  of  a  brook
  • Sirlennedyr  tinkling
  • Byrlannadyr – singing used  for  ornamentation  of  solo  double-voice.

They exist together with other styles as sub-styles and differ by subtle technical traits in performance. They do not force these styles out and become an integral part enriching their structure.

Five styles are recognized in Tuvan solo             double-voiced singing.


These           are five styles: khoomei, sygyt, kargyraa, ezengileer, and borbannadyr       each of which include many sub-styles.


                    Style Resonance zone, drone Character of breathing Articulation Melody and musical-expressive specifics
Khoomei Middle register

F, F sharp, G can be sung with and without words, chest and mouth resonators

Basic (khorekteer), smooth breathing =, \ Overtone melodic (8th-12th overtones)
Borbannadyr Lower or middle register, mouth or partially nose resonator Khorekteer, spasmodic rhythm, modulations, middle tension =, \ Without and with melodization
Sygyt High and tense Constricted breathing, very tense йо, й, йа can be alternated with text Overtone melodic (8th-12th overtones), song melodic with vibrato
Kargyraa Low guttural sound, the open mouth resonates Khorekteer, smooth breathing, open mouth, can be sung with text а, =, \, э open Drone with third turns, overtone melodic (6th-12th overtones, song melodic
Steppe kargyraa Low, open, chest, soft, velvet timbre. Outward resonator Very long breathing а, =, \, э open Overtone or song melodic (6th-12thg overtones)
Ezengileer Middle register, vibration with lips Smooth breathing, rhythmic pulsation as in ambling of a horse а, =, и, \, э, ю, я with vibration Quiet overtone melodic, high whistling timbre
Chylandyk F sharp, G, middle register, singing without words, mouth resonator Middle in length breathing =, \. Nasal long sound


Folk terminology reflected the timbre of these styles, both as independent timbres and in comparison with other means of sound-extraction.




A bright sound, by its timbre, of a humming middle tessitura, is designated in tales khoomei.

Khooledir khoomeileerge cher sirgeini bergen, “during the humming of khoomei, the earth trembled”.

According to our observations the style khoomei           can be           considered an           initial or           basic style. Khoomeizhis           of old           and young           generations say           that khoomei           is the           father of a forefather of khorekteer. The majority           of musicians           prefer this           style because           of its relatively           convenient sound-extraction           in the middle register. Deep sounds           of khoomei, especially in           lower register, resemble the           unison of           oboe and           clarinet.

In           ergi           khoomei (old khoomei), the basic           ostinato sound           is more           deep than           in the borbannadyr style           and has a more           expressed overtone           melody.

The sounds in khoomei are           executed with           closed lips           as pronouncing           the consonant           “v”. This style           is intermediate           in timbre           between the           sounds extracted           by schalmeis and trumpets. It           is mostly           characterized by           power, richness in           tone, and melodiousness.

In           Tuvan heroic           tales throat singing appears as           a   firmly           established musical           phenomenon. For example, “a bogatyr (an           epic hero)           performs khoomei with           the force           of a thousand people, his singing           makes the           earth and           the sky           shudder, and brings           mountain tops           crashing down”. Though the power of this           singing is           exaggerated to the extreme, the           storyteller describes           the force           of sound           emission very           accurately. In connection with this           we should           give a delicate           remark of           B.I. Tatarintsev who           investigated the place and role of           throat singing           in Tuvan           epics. He wrote: “The traveling           hero’s throat           singing is           characterized by           stock epithets           of one           type yndynnyg, yiangylyg, syrynnyg “doleful, plaintive, drawling”           which, apparently, characterize           the uneasy emotional           state of           a hero”. The           researcher gives           an example           from a           variant of a lyric           tale about           Khan-Khulyuk. After singing the hero’s “pining chest expands and his crowded thoughts broaden”. Thus, Tatarintsev was the first to note this function of throat singing: to pass time and make oneself comfortable on journey.

At           first glance           it seems           that it           is impossible           to think           about a           more recent           origin of the khoomei           style in           comparison to           other styles           because I           find the same principle of articulation in all the styles           in the           framework of           the given           traditional musical           culture. However, if we           delve deeper           into the           nature of khoomei,           with its           ways of           intonation, the assumption           the recent           origin of           khoomei           is well           supported. The style           of khoomei, which holds a transitional position between ordinary and double-voiced singing often performs a           utilitarian function           as a           lullaby song           in the           special style           opei           khoomeii (lullaby khoomei). When performing this style the performer           accompanies his           singing by           a rocking           of his           body from           one side           to another. The           performer uses           clavicular breathing. He sings           the words           by moving           his lips           slightly. The movements           of his           lips are           intermediate between           speaking and           singing. While lulling           a baby, the           performer sings through his nose. There are           scarcely any           overtone melodies           in his           singing. Before people           the performer           sings loudly, with           a great           support of the           diaphragm and           with a           distinct pressure           of pectoral           resonators while           alone in           the yurt, lulling           a baby, the performer           sings quietly.




For the designation of a high timbre, there existed the term of sygyt

cyyrladyr cygyrtyrga kok deer ayazyp turgan “during the piercing singing of sygyt, the blue sky became clearer”.

In the sygyt           style, overtones           are produced           in a high           whistling timbre similar to that of the piccolo in the same register. The basic ostinato moves between the middle tones of the Great octave throughout the piece from la of the first octave to la of the third octave. In sygyt           style the           vowels are           not articulated and the sounds, in contrast to those in           other styles, are           produced at an           optimal strain           of respiratory           ways.

The main feature distinguishing sygyt from any           other style           is in the technique of sound extraction: the           root of           the tongue           is moved           forward and           the melody is           mostly produced           by the vibration of           the uvula           and its approaching the soft palate. In sygyt style           the uvula           is the           main organ           which regulates the           stream of           air. Double voice           usually appears           in low           and high           registers simultaneously. When one           voice is           produced the           overtones are           absent. Typical of the sygyt           style are           melodies ascending           to high           pitch sounds. For           example, in kishteer performed by Tumat Gennady, one can hear a glissando ascending an octave up from the 10th and 12th overtones of the 2nd basic ostinato note. Additional overtone sounds           occur as a tremolo between two           sounds which also differentiates the           sygyt           style from           other styles.




A low sound was designated among people as kargyraa

kaargyraalaarga khayaa dash kaanayndyr bustup badip turgan, “during the singing of kargyraa, the sheer cliffs vibrated, rumbled, and fell down”.

The folk performers divide this style in sub-styles by           timbre and           pitch. Khovu kargyraazy (steppe kargyraazy) has a higher, lighter and           softer sound while           a lower, louder sound characterizes kozhagar kargyraazy(mountain or cave kargyraazy). The main form of the           kargyraa           style is           singing with           a clear           logical semantic connection of sounds. It is based on ornamented melodies of wide breath. Timbre           contrast and           register amplitude           distinguish different sub-styles. Among these sub-styles khovu kargyraazy (steppe kargyraa) is one of the most popular sub-styles of kargyraa.

Khovu           kargyraazy is characterized by drawling, soft, and broad sound. This           style is           performed to           show the           spaciousness of flat           steppes and mountains. An introduction           with text           is usually sung. The basic           ostinato sound           is produced           with a half-open mouth. Overtones alternates with vowels. One of           the vowels а, э, =, \ corresponds to           each overtone.

Dag kargyraazy (mountain kargyraa) is also popular. This style is more stern. It expresses the power of the mountains. The timbre is more dense, nasal, and dimly.

The third style is dumchuk           kargyraazy (nasal kargyraa). A characteristic feature           of this           sub-style is           a regular           release of           air with a sharp double inhalation           and exhalation           through the nose and mouth. The powerful vibration           has a positive effect           on performer’s           lungs and body.           According to my informants singing in this way makes it           possible to           relax and           concentrate oneself           spiritually. When singing, the performer           does not           feel any           disharmony. The frequency range           of the produced sound           is quite           wide. The sound is more velvet-like, and softer due to the use of nose resonator. This is a typical style of the traditional Mongun-Taiga performance           school.

The borbannadyr           style is           related to the khoomei           style in respect to intonation. A melodious introduction using khorekteer           is performed           with the           same position           of lips (close           to each           other) as           with the khoomei           style. Timbre norm, intonization with           falsetto inflection, narrow modal scale with short stable formulae, and ostinato           strophe rhythm           with ornamentation           are common           to these           two styles.

The           mechanism of           sound extraction, especially acoustic           manipulations, rather than the steady melodious           turns characteristic of the khoomei           style is a           more important           point in           borbannadyr style. The coexistence of           these two           styles can           be explained           as a manifestation of           the features           of an           early folk           tradition which           is characterized by an organic           relationship of melodic           expression. During a period of singing the tempo increases and the melody becomes more complex, descending by           leaps from           the twelfth to the seventh overtone, more           rarely to           the eighth overtone. The ostinato           sound remains           intact but           its pitch           occasionally oscillates           within the three           middle sounds           of the Great octave.

Contrary to           khoomei, the melodious phrase of which is performed within one breath, the borbannadyr           style is always           interrupted, with the process of breathing plays a lesser role for articulation. The performer           of this           style usually           begins by reciting           of the words of           a song typical           only to the           borbannadyr           style. Here is an           example:


Bolur-daa bol, bolbas-daa           bol            Whether it comes out or itdoesn’t

Borbannadyp berein           shumna            I shall sing borbannadyr anyways


In rhythmical           respect the           tune is           more schematic. This           is the tendency           of the schematization of the borbannadyr           style that           involves outward           ostinato repetition of musical turn. Similarities in           the techniques           of the   khoomei           and borbannadyr           styles makes           it possible           to pass           from one           style to           another. In the khoomei           style the lower voice           stops on           a sustained (ostinato) sound           and the           singer can           select overtones (which create           additional melody, melodious recitation           with words           of a           song) from           this sound           while in the           borbannadyr           style the           sound seems           to throw           away rolling           sounds without           words. The tune           is based           on an intonization approximate to           onomatopoeia but this is, more likely, not a concrete but somewhat generalized imitation. Therefore, the           melodies in           khoomei style,           by its           very nature,           are of a radically           different kind           of those           in borbannadyr style. What’s more,           if one compares the           peculiarities of the           timbres of           styles of the above styles one           can get additional           idea of           a concrete style           too.

In           ensemble performance of khoomei, kargyraa, and sygyt styles (except onomatopoeic – ezengileer and borbannadyr styles)           the singers           seek to           keep to basic forms, producing only           slight additional           tones which are mostly ornamental. The style           borbannadyr is           traditionally sung individually. This makes it possible           for a           performer of           this style           to introduce           some individual           traits in           the form           of his rhythmical intonization. This style is           among the           main independent           styles because           it has           its own           structure, a           separate mechanism           of sound           extraction, and a characteristic           timbre coloring. The performance of           this style does not           require the use of other styles. With regards to           its tessitura, register, rhythm, and structure of melodies, borbannadyr style           represents quite an independent artistic phenomenon which can be           optionally synthesized           in order           to decorate           the melody           of other styles. For           example, there are synthesized styles such as borbannadyr of           sygyt, borbannadyr of kargyraa, or borbannadyr of khoomei.

Ezengileer also have their           own peculiarities of rhythm, timbre, and intonation. Ezengileer represents           an independent           style of khorekteer. According to           old people, ezengileer style           has completely           retained its           meaning up           to today.

The           style itself, as           assumed by           some researchers,           seems to be relatively           recent in origin. The appearance of   this style was possible not earlier than 1st millenium AD, that is, in the time           when the appearance of stirrup in horse harness could           have a           perceptible influence           upon Tuvan music.

It is believed that the ezengileer           style was           formed later than the sygyt           style but, undoubtedly, it was formed on its basis and in a           constant interaction.

If           we compare ezengileer with sygyt it is not difficult to note that the performance           of ezengileer differs from sygyt by its slow singing and           distinct scancion. Another distinctive feature           of the ezengileer           style is           the periodic release of           air through the           nose with a sharp double exhalation. The           sound-formation of           styles is           preconditioned by aesthetic           prerequisites, acoustic peculiarities of the means of           sound extraction, and timber. The melodious           introduction is           absent in           ezengileer           style. Ezengileer style is represented a peculiar, independent phenomenon in function also and           its performance is           connected to           horse riding. The           timbre of           this style           is softer           than that of the           sygyt           style. The overtone           melodies appear           usually on           8th, 9th, 11th, 12th, and 13th           overtones from           the low ostinato sound.

In the  kargyraa  style  alone  one  can  count  more  that  five common freely interchanged motifs: khovu  kargyraazy (steppe  kargyraa), kashpal  kargyraazy (hill kargyraa), dag  kargyraazy (mountain  kargyraa), kozhagar  kargyraazy (mound  kargyraa), oidupaa  kargyraazy (kargyraa  of  the  singer  Oidupaa) and so on.