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date: 22 November 2019

Igil [ikili]locked



Two-string fiddle of the Tuva people of Siberia and western Mongolia. The heart-shaped body and long integral unfretted neck are carved from a block of pine or larch, with a goatskin or wooden soundtable. The strings and bow hair are traditionally of horse-tail hair but nowadays the strings, tuned a 5th apart, are sometimes of nylon or metal (and might number three), and some modern makers use geared tuners instead of tuning pegs. The strings pass over a loose bridge and hitch to the elongated pointed end of the heart. The top of the neck is surmounted by a carved horse’s head. The igil is held nearly upright, resting on the player’s lap or boot. The strings are lightly touched with the nails or fingertips, not pressed against the neck; the straight or outcurved bow is held underhand. Despite attempts at modernization during the Soviet era, the igil survives more or less in traditional form, preserved by urban makers such as Oktober Saya and Aldar Tamdyn. It has recently been taken up by some Western musicians....

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