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Mongolian Tovshuur
String instrument
Other namesTovshuur, Topshuur, Topshur, Toshpulúr, Tavshur
Hornbostel–Sachs classification321.321
Related instruments
Komuz, Dombra, Doshpuluur, Balalaika, Sanxian
Temuulen Naranbaatar (The HU), Batzorig Vaanchig, Altai Kai

The tovshuur, also known as topshur or topshuur (Mongolian Cyrillic: товшуур; Mongolian: ᠲᠣᠪᠰᠢᠭᠤᠷ, romanized: tobshiğur) is a two or three-stringed lute played by the Western Mongolian (Oirats) tribes called the Altai Urianghais, the Altais, Tuvans, and Khalkha peoples.[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 tovshuur are homemade and because of this, the materials and shape of the tovshuur 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 tovshuur is bowl shaped and usually covered in tight animal skin.[3] The Kalmykian tovshuur's form is more similar to that of the Kazakh Dombra

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.