Type: Chordophones > Spike > Fiddles > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.7
Country: Tuva, Russian Federation.
Region: Far East Asia.
Description: An igil [in Tuvan – игил igil] is a two-stringed Tuvan musical instrument, played by bowing the strings. It is called “ikili” in Western Mongolia.
Playing Techniques: The igil is held nearly upright when played, with the sound box of the instrument in the performer’s lap, or braced against the top of the performer’s boot. The igil is fretless, the performers fingers do not touch the neck, the finger-nails or finger tips glide across the strings during performance. The bow is held with an underhand grip.
Construction: The neck and sound box, are usually made of a solid piece of pine or larch. The top of the sound box may be covered with skin or a thin wooden plate. The strings, and those of the bow, are traditionally made of hair from a horse’s tail. In which the two strings are strung parallel from head stock to tail end of instrument.
Modern igil often have nylon strings. Like the Igil’s close relative, morin khuur of Mongolia. The igil typically features a carved horse’s head at the top of the neck above the tuning pegs, and both instruments are known as “horse-head fiddles”.