Chants Mongols Et Bouriates

The liner notes say it was recorded in: "Mongolia and Buriatia in 1967, 1968, and 1970 in the course of field work organized in the frame work of the Protocole d'Echanges Culturels between France and Mongolia, and as part of an exchange program with the Academy of Sciences in the USSR."

"In Mongolian tradition, neither music nor singing can strictly-speaking be described as specialist activities. In the past, everyone was expected to be capable of singing and playing the fiddle at festivals..."

Imitation Of The Flute (with the nose)

From the liner notes again: "The player flutes with his nose. Some air really does pass through the nose. The player's lips are slightly parted but do not move: only the corners of the mouth tremble sightly and the cheeks are tensed. This tension brings him out in a sweat. The melody comes from the movements of the tongue. Anyone who possesses this technique is able to reproduce any melody"

Both of these tracks just blow me away with how much the singers sound like birds:

Song To The Glory Of A Horse

Nostalgic Love Song

For you die-hard record sifters, the info is Vogue Records LDM 30138 (recorded in 1973). Here's a full track-listing. You might be able to download it somewhere if you peek around the internet. ;-) I call for a re-issue!

This post is part of a series about music that disorients the senses. I've found that some of the most amazing and jarring auditory illusions are not the usual scientifically distilled or synthesized ones, they're often found in folk music and made by people's voices. Of course, in a way, it makes perfect sense - the vocal chords are some of the most complex and advanced musical instruments in existence. They are ubiquitously available, and we've been experimenting with them for longer than any other sound-making implement.


  1. Poesy came over to hear “Nostalgic Love Song” and thumped my laptop and said, “A doggy!” then “A cow!” then “A cat!”

    Talk about disorienting the senses!

  2. For further wonderousness, try Tibetan Buddhist chants or Karlheinz Stockhausens’ Stimmung.

  3. Plastic nose-flutes are available for pocket change, and do work. The basic concept: Think of blowing across a bottle, except that you blow with your nose and the bottle is your mouth. Varying the mouth resonance changes the pitch. Very natural once you get used to it; you already control that resonance when you sing.

  4. Can’t listen at work, but I suspect this is some form of Khoomei (from the description, maybe Sygyt?). If you want to see a cool movie on central asian music, check out Genghis Blues

  5. The instrument on the cover of that album is the Morin Khuur (roughly: horse head fiddle/cello). In prep for this summer’s Mongol Rally we’ve befriended several members of the local Seattle Mongolian community and been to several performances. Last fall we witnessed an awesome (and unfortunately, maybe the last) performance of the Khoomei-Taiko Ensemble. They combined Mongolian (Khoomei = throat singing, and Morin Khuur) with Japanese (Taiko drumming and koto) musical styles in a unique and improvisational way.

    Two of the artists were Japanese Americans, so you might be able to catch them in LA or NYC, but the rest were from Japan or Mongolia.

    Music, links, etc:

  6. I recommend over tone chant in general. Chants especially from the Ukraine, and the Russian orthodox church are good for this. Ensemble Organum has released several CDs of classical Russian orthodox and early chant and they’re excellent for induction of altered states. I also second the recommendation for Bhuddist chants, the overtones in the mantra chants are excellent as well. As for steppe music yes, again, overtone chants in general are good for altered states.

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