Chopo Choor

July 26th, 2010 Sections: Life In Kyrgyzstan, Music

The Chopo Choor is one of the oldest of Kyrgyz traditional instruments.  Originally a children’s toy, (hence it is not difficult to play), it has developed into an instrument with a fine timbre and in the hands of a master can produce haunting melodies.

Originally it was found mainly in the rural areas in the south of the country and is known by various names such as chopo choor and ylai choor.

It is made of clay – the name means “clay choor” – it can take almost any form. One of the most ancient examples, (in the collection of Professor S. Subanaliev), is made in the shape of a small sphere of white clay about 5 cm across.

Basically, an enclosed vessel with a mouth piece and a number of playing holes arranged so that was possible to cover simultaneously with the lips and index fingers of both hands allowing the performer to vary the pitch of the notes produced. Traditionally there were only one or two finger holes and so the instrument was limited to a range of about four or five notes.  Modern instruments have more and have a range of just over an octave.  Different sizes of instruments provide different tonal ranges.

The sound produced by a traditional chopo choor is simple with a bewitching, soft and deep timbre.

The chopo choor can feature as a solo instrument or as part of an ensemble.

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