killõ (n; sing.); lit. “bright”, “shrill”, “high”.

1. The name of the upper part in Setu multipart singing. Killõ is a subsidiary part which is sung by a solo voice. This part functions as an embellishment and moves along the two or three upper degrees of the scale.

There are three principles for how the killõ part can be structured: 
(1) syllabic drone on the upper scale degree with resolutions to the tonic at the ends of the phrases (only in archaic tunes based on one-three-semitone mode [For more information on the Setu one-three-semitone mode see Pärtlas 2000, 2006b.]) (see example 1); 
(2) realization of “harmonic rhythm” [For more information on the “harmonic rhythm” in Setu folk songs see Pärtlas 2001, 2006a.] of the tune on two or three upper scale degrees (in both older and newer tunes) (see example 2, sound example 2); 
(3) motion in parallel thirds with main melody occurring periodically during the strophe as an addition to second principle (mostly in newer diatonic tunes).

The general meaning of the word killõ (“bright”, “shrill”, high”) points to a specific timbre peculiar to this part. The timbre contrast between torrõ and killõ is an important feature of the Setu singing style.

The carriers of tradition attach great importance to the killõ part and killõ singer. The performance of the songs is not possible without killõ and the quality of choir’s sound depends mainly on the killõ singer. The requirements for the killõ, unlike those for the lead singer (see iistütlejä), are of a musical kind. The killõ singer must be able to sing with chest voice in a high register and have a very strong ringing voice which can be heard against the background of torrõ singers (usually 5-6, sometimes even 20 people). The killõ singer must also have great endurance, since the Setu songs are often very long.

“Mehidse Anne had very big killõ! And she sang her killõ with 23 singers. It was very beautiful killõ! When we were returning from the concert tour in Tallinn, we sang all the time [The trip from Tallinn to Setumaa takes about 3.5 hours. – Ž. P.] and her killõ was not yet tired. [Mehidse Annel oll nii suur killõ! Ja tä laul 23 laulja siäh oma killõ araq. Väega illos killõ oll! Ku tullimi Talinast esinemäst, sis terve tii laulimi ja tä killõ viil arq es väsüq.]” (Interview with Liidia Lind (2004, Andreas Kalkun) – Kalkun 2004: 27

The absence of the killõ singer is often the reason why Setu singers refuse to perform songs. Of a killõ who has a too weak or flat voice, they say matal killõ (“low killõ”) or mahe killõ (“mild killõ”). The good killõ is kõva (“strong, loud”), suur(“big”), illos (“beautiful”). The duty of the killõ singer is also to keep the right balance between torrõ and killõ

“With regard to the killõ, the thing is that if there are very many torrõs, killõ has to take it more loudly. If, however, the torrõ is poor, the killõ has to restrain herself (himself). She (he) must not shout too loudly. [Killõga om ka sääne lugu, et ku veiga palljo om torrõsit, sis piat õks killõ kõvõbahe võtma, a kui om nõrk torrõ, sis piat jal killõ tagasi hoidma. Saa-ai nii kõvastõ ka' hõigata.]” (Interview with Maria Kala (2003, Õie Sarv) –

2. The term for a singer who sings the killõ part.