Torama is an ancient Mordovian folk musical instrument.
The name comes from the word “torams”, which means “to thunder”. Due to the low powerful sound, the sound of the torama is heard from afar. The tool was used by the military and shepherds: the shepherds gave a signal when they drove the cattle to pasture in the morning, by the time of milking the cows at noon and in the evening, returning to the village, and the military used it to call for collection.
Two types of this wind instrument are known:
- The first type was made from a tree branch. A birch or maple branch was split lengthwise, the core was removed. Each half was wrapped with birch bark. One edge was made wider than the other. A birch bark tongue was inserted inside. The product was obtained with a length of 0,8 – 1 m.
- The second variety was made from linden bark. One ring was inserted into another, an extension was made from one end, a cone was obtained. Fastened with fish glue. The length of the tool was 0,5 – 0,8 m.
Both species did not have finger holes. They made 2-3 overtone sounds.
The instrument is mentioned in a number of legends:
- One of the Mordovian rulers – the Great Tyushtya, leaving for other lands, hid the torama. When enemies attack with it, a signal will be given. Tyushtya will hear the sound and return to protect his people.
- According to another legend, Tyushtya ascended to heaven, and left the torama on earth in order to broadcast his will to people through it.