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String instrument
Other names Topshuur, Toshpulúr
Classification plucked chordophone
Hornbostel–Sachs classification 321.321

The topshur (топшур) is a two-stringed lute played by the Western Mongolian tribes called the Altai Urianghais, the Altais, and the Tuvans. [1] The topshur is closely tied to the folklore of Western Mongolian people and accompanied the performances of storytellers, singing, and dancing. [2] According to descriptions given by Marco Polo, the Mongols also played the instruments before a battle. [3]

Construction and design[edit]

All topshur are homemade and because of this, the materials and shape of the topshur vary depending on the builder and the region. For example, depending on the tribe, the string might be made of horsehair or sheep intestine.[3] The body of the topshur is bowl shaped and usually covered in tight animal skin.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pegg, Carole (2014). "Inner Asia". Grove Music Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 18 Sep 2014. 
  2. ^ Krader, Lawrence (1996). "Altaian". Encyclopedia of World Cultures. Macmillan Reference USA. Retrieved 17 Sep 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Pegg, Carole (2014). "Topshuur". Grove Music Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 18 Sep 2014.