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The Gallop of Jonon Khar

The Gallop of Jonon Khar

"The Gallop of Jonon Khar" is probably Mongolia's best-known example of tatlaga, a genre of instrumental music that, sometimes accompanied by dance, tells a story through melody, rhythm, and timbre (tone quality). This tatlaga tells of the origin of the horsehead fiddle. In the musical story, a herder, Khökhöö Namjil, was given a magical winged horse. Herding his sheep by day, he mounted his winged horse by night and flew to a distant place to meet his beloved. A woman became jealous and arranged for someone to cut off the horse’s wings. The horse fell and died, and from its bones and skin, the grieving herder created a fiddle on which he played songs about his horse. This is one of those songs. (During, Levin 2001)