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The River Herlen

The River Herlen

It is difficult to imagine a music that more strongly evokes the acoustical conditions in which it is meant to be performed than the Mongolian long song (urtyn duu). Long songs are so called, not because they are long, but because each syllable of text is extended for a long duration. Impossible to translate literally, the text conveys a miniature narrative centered on an image - in this case, a younger brother lamenting the disappearance of his older sibling and becoming lonely while contemplating the beauty-turned-sadness of the wide-open space that surrounds the River Herlen. (During, Levin 2001)