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Urtiin duu: performing musical landscapes and the Mongolian nation

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Title: Urtiin duu: performing musical landscapes and the Mongolian nation
Author(s): Carrizo, Liliana
Advisor(s): Buchanan, Donna A.
Department / Program: Music
Discipline: Music
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.Mus.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): Mongolian long song Urtiin duu Mimesis Nationalism
Abstract: Urtiin duu, or Mongolian long song, is a vocal genre prevalent throughout Mongolia and especially common among mobile pastoralists of the central Gobi steppe. Based on fieldwork conducted in 2001, 2004, and 2006 in Dundgovi province and Ulaanbaatar, this thesis focuses on urtiin duu as a marker of regional and national identity. Urtiin duu signify various levels of meaning for performers and listeners alike. Through the mimesis of landscape topography in melodic contour, these songs have become powerful emblems of clan identity important to Chinggis Khan’s legacy. Their melodic contours allude to landscape deities, or ezen, associated with particular geographical formations and regional topographies, and their texts often praise important Tibetan Buddhist deities or monks. A musical tool utilized in efforts to calm and soothe livestock, these songs also form an important component of various mobile pastoral herding practices. During Mongolia’s socialist era (1921–1990), however, urtiin duu were invariably implicated in processes of cultural modernization and reform, during which time the genre’s performance context and associated meanings were largely transformed. Although these songs continued to be performed in the domestic sphere, they were also increasingly performed at large, staged gatherings in support of the Mongolia People’s Republic and Communist Party. Additionally, melodies were standardized according to Western tunings, and differing regional dialects were consolidated into that of Tov Khalkha, which became known as the “national” Mongolian urtiin duu style. Over the course of decades, these reforms came to change the meanings associated with urtiin duu. Once a rural genre prevalent predominantly in the domestic sphere, it ultimately became a key component in the construction of Mongolian national identity writ large. This work focuses on the various meanings of urtiin duu implied in domestic, spiritual, political and social realms, and the processes that led to the genre’s valorization as an emblem of the Mongolian nation.
Issue Date: 2011-01-14
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/18405
Rights Information: Copyright 2010 Liliana Carrizo
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-01-14
Date Deposited: December 2
 

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