How the Morin Khuur sounds “and how well you play it” depends very much on how you sit and how you touch the instrument. It is very important how you place the instrument. You need to be relaxed, with your arms and hands in the right position, smooth finger movements, with correct posture “all generally called position:
1.1 Sitting Position
1.2 Right hand/ arm position
1.3Left hand/ arm position
1.1 Sitting Position
To play the Morin Khuur, your body must be relaxed, but not leaning against the back of the chair. Sit on the front one-third of the chair. Push your left foot forward a little, pointing slightly left. Keep your right foot pointing forward. Keep your back straight. Place the body Morin Khuur between the knees, neck leaning a little towards to left.
The bottom right corner of the Morin Khuur body should be resting just inside the right knee, on the top of the calf muscle. The neck of the Morin Khuur should be leaning left at a little less than 45 degrees.
1.2 Position of the right hand/arm
The position of the right hand/arm affects the bow, shoulder, elbow and the movement of the forearm. The correct position of the bow and a good sound depend on the right hand/arm position. The right arm controls the expression and strength of the bow action, and is the deciding factor for how hard the bow presses on the morin khuur strings.
The fingers of the right hand need to contact both the bow and the bowstring. Note that the number of hairs in the bowstring is very similar to the number on the morin khuur. The resistance between the strings in the morin khuur and the bow is quite high, and you will need to hold the bow quite firmly.
Moving the bow involves two actions: pulling and pushing. The positions for the right forearm, shoulder and elbow depend on a number of factors. The movements of the forearm are important in controlling the speed and force of the bow, central to the sound of the morin khuur. These illustrations show alternative ways of holding the bow choose which one you want to use!
1.3 Position of the left hand/arm
The left hand has a variety of functions in playing the morin khuur. The fingers should be hooked and not at right angles to the strings. The neck of the morin khuur should rest against the web between the thumb and index finger.
With the forearm drawn back a little, the strings should be contacted by the nails of the 1st and 2nd fingers and the tips of the 3rd and 4th fingers (in certain special cases, the tips of all fingers). Note especially – when the 4th finger is used on the thinner string, it passes UNDER the thicker string!
The positioning of the fingers and their changes in position are crucial. This transfer involves the position of the fingers, hand, elbow and shoulder. The forearm adds weight to the finger on the string, and the elbow should be held up and away from the body. The forearm is important in left hand positioning, especially for playing at the top of the morin khuur.
The sensitivity of the left fingers is as important as that of the ears for the quality of the music.
- 1st finger position ‘use the fingernail.
- 2nd finger position ‘use the fingernail.
- 3rd finger position ‘use the tip.
- 4th finger position ‘use the tip.
- 5th finger position ‘use the tip(NB little finger passes UNDER the thin string!).
On the left hand placement, the fingers should be sensitive to sound of the music and shall play important role in real pleasant sound of that particular song or music. Therefore the sensitivity of the fingers has same vital role as ears, which control the quality of music.
Sap of Strings
Feeding the Strings
Like every stringed musical instrument, resin must be applied to lubricate the string and keep them in good shape. It is important to use only the right amount of resin; too much or too little negatively affects the sound of the instrument. The right amount to be used is something you have to learn by experience.