The Magical Character of the Musical Instruments of the Indigenous Peoples of Sakhalin

Key words
musical instruments, magic, Sakhalin, indigenous peoples
Natalya A. Mamcheva
About the Author
Е-mail: Tel.: +7 (4242) 43-42-88
6, Chekhov str., Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, 693000, Russian Federation
PhD in Art, Teacher, Sakhalin College of Arts
Date of publication

This article discusses the musical instruments of the indigenous peoples of Sakhalin — the Nivkhs, Oroks/Uilts, and Ainu, and reveals their magical character. The core of the musical culture of the natives of Sakhalin belongs to its ancient substratum. Musical instruments in archaic culture performed a sacred function and were one of the main ways to penetrate beyond the real world. Sound-producing instruments in the ritual culture of the Sakhalin peoples were considered much more than just “musical”: a tambourine gave the shaman magical powers, a shaman’s belt and rattles protected him from evil spirits, a musical log that personified the body of a bear (a mountain man). Many instruments had zoomorphic or anthropomorphic features. In some cases, the musical instrument served to hide a person’s voice, especially when crying. This is demonstrated by Nivkh reed pipes, a single string bowed instrument, the sound log, and grass pipes. All of the ritual instruments and the music created with their help served to communicate with other areas of the universe.

This article introduces new facts about the musical instruments of Sakhalin natives into scientific circulation. The focus is on many characteristics in the use of ritual and non-ritual tool, which have not yet been considered in domestic or foreign scholarship. The article is of interest to musicologists, folklorists, ethnographers, as well as to everyone concerned with the culture of the indigenous peoples of Siberia and the Far East.


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For citation

Mamcheva N. A. (2023) Magicheskaya sushchnost’ muzykal’nykh instrumentov korennykh narodov Sakhalina [The Magical Character of the Musical Instruments of the Indigenous Peoples of Sakhalin]. Traditsionnaya kul’tura. 2023. Vol. 24. No. 1. Pp. 45–52. In Russian.