The ancient Mongolian musical instrument, the chor. [Photo/nmgnews.com.cn]
One of North China Inner Mongolia autonomous region’s renowned musical instruments, the chor is known as a “cultural diamond” there and was widely played in the Horqin Grasslands as early as the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) – becoming one of the main instruments for court music.
The word chor in the Mongolian language means echo or resonance. The instrument usually comes in the shape of an inverted trapezoidal resonance case.
Enthusiasts say its tone is thick, soft and slightly low. At that time, whether it played for a celebration, at wedding banquet or at a Nadam fair, the chor is one of the most commonly seen musical instruments in the region.
Because of its shape and form, the chor is considered more ancient than the morin khuur -- a traditional Mongolian bowed string instrument also known as the horsehead fiddle -- and is regarded as the precursor of that instrument.
For many years, the tradition of the chor in the performing arts has continued mainly through families and formal teacher-student inheritance. Its teaching methods are more commonly taught orally and musical scores and written material for it are comparatively rare.
The chor was selected as a city-level intangible cultural heritage item in Baotou in 2019.