Traditional music of the Tsuur UNESCO Marks

ICH Domain Performing Arts, Social practices, rituals, festive events, Urgent Safeguarding List
Name of UNESCO List Urgent Safeguarding List
Type of UNESCO List
Incribed year in UNESCO List
Safeguarding Policy Although there is no national law or act particularly focusing on the intangible cultural heritage in whole, there are national laws regarding the protection of cultural heritage. The fundamental legislative act on the given theme is the ‘‘Law on the Protection of the Cultural Heritage, approved by the Parliament of Mongolia in 2001. This law is based on the other previous legislative instruments, such as The Constitution of Mongolia (1992), the State Policy on Culture (1996), the Law on Culture (1996), and in connection with the other laws in the field of culture, education and arts. 
Location (Address) The Mongolian Altai Mountain Range is the birthplace of Tsuur, one of the primordial musical instruments of the humankind, while the Mongolian people are its authors. Being one of the progenitors of wooden wind instruments, the Mongolian Tsuur has carried its antique shape, performing methods, techniques, traditional repertoire and specific school of performance well into the advent of the 21st century, preserved only among a few people of the Mongolian Uriankhai descent in Altai Region. The Mongolian Uriankhai sub-ethnic group of the Altai Region resides in the far western frontier of Mongolia, constituting the majority of the population in Duut and Munkh-Khairkhan Soums (Counties) of Khovd Aimag (Province), as well as living, in smaller groups, in Buyant, Altai, Bulgan, Altan-Tsugts Soums (Counties) of Bayan Ulgiy Aimag (Province). Even among the Uriankhai Mongolians, only the descendants and apprentices of the late Paarain Narantsogt of Tsagaan Tug clan, residents of the Duut Soum (County), Khovd Aimag (Province) have thus far preserved the traditions of Tsuur art. According to the eye-witness of the local elders, up until the 1950s every Uriankhai family has had a Tsuur of its own and vast majority of Uriankhai Mongolian men could play Tsuur. Unfortunately, as a consequence of the brief historical period spanning over the last six decades, which saw the negligence and animosity toward everything related to national heritage, folk customs, indigenous culture and religious faith, the Tsuur tradition has faded, leaving the locals with no Tsuur performer and no families possessing a Tsuur.
Section/Division in Charge Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is the main institute for the implementation of the Law on the Protection of the Cultural Heritage. State Specialized Inspection Agency is the official body in charge of the inspection on the activities implemented within the framework of the Law. 
Name of National List Rare and outstanding Cultural Heritage of Mongolia
Management Organization of National List Minister of Education, Culture and Science of Mongolia
Summary Tsuur is one of the ancient traditional music of the Mongolians and is a rare and near-extinct one preserved by the end of the 20th century only among a few people of the Mongolian Uriankhai descent in Altai Region. Tsuur has its origins in an ancient practice of worshipping the Earth, mountains, rivers and their respective guardian spirits by resembling the sounds unnatural for human beings.  Tsuur music belongs to the category of Mongolian folk music based on the combination of instrumental and vocal performance – a unique and rare phenomenon of blending the sounds simultaneously created by both the musical instrument and the human throat.  Tsuur is a vertical pipe-shaped wooden wind instrument with three holes acting as finger buttons. Despite the visible simplicity in shape it is the masterpiece of Mongolian musical heritage, reflecting the centuries-old tradition of creativity and ingenuity. Tsuur has a unique timbre inexistent in any other wooden wind instruments, as it is performed by touching the mouthpiece of a pipe with one’s front teeth, creating a clear and gentle whistling sound, and simultaneously applying one’s throat burden, producing a drone brass at the same time.  Tsuur music has an inseparable connection to the livelihood and customs of the Uriankhai Mongolians of the Altai Region, and has remained an integral part of their daily life.
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