Expressing Mongolian Identity Through Piano Performance
Lecture - Concert
The aim of this lecture-concert is to demonstrate how Sharav Byambasuren (1952 – 2019) employed forgotten folk tunes and dialects as well as traditional musical elements such as the urtyn duu (long song) and elements of the morin khuur (horse-head fiddle) to create a unique piano repertoire that communicates distinctive aspects of Mongolian culture and identity. The primary focus is the Tumnii Ekh (Myriad’s Leader), which is a collection of 16 folk song arrangements for solo piano. The composer directly quotes traditional songs from his homeland, the Khentii province, as well as songs from different ethnic groups including the Mongolian Buryat, the Uzemchin, the Dariganga, the Zakhchin, the Dörvöd, the Torghut, the Khoton, and the Khalkha. As migration from the countryside to urban cities increased, B. Sharav recognized the need to preserve traditional folk tunes. He used the piano as an analogue of oral transmission to communicate to subsequent generations. The overall research method for this study combines historical and ethnomusicological approaches to examine the phenomenon of Mongolian piano music as well as an analytical approach to the study of musical scores.