torrõ (n; sing.); lit. “low” (about voice); “splendid”, “gorgeous”.
1. The name of the lower part in Setu multipart singing. Torrõ is a main part, which is sung heterophonically by chorus. The torrõ part repeats, usually with extensions and alternations, the leader’s melody.
The divergences between individual melodic lines within the torrõ part are not consciously designed by the singers. If they are asked about it they usually explain: “Torrõs sing on one voice (tune) [Torrõd laulavad ühe häälega]”. At the same time the singers recognize that they do not sing in strict unison.
Sometimes one of the torrõ singers sings lower tune variations than others. Ethnomusicologists refer to this part as “the lower torrõ” [alumine torrõ], but there is no special folk term for such a voice. In the presence of “the lower torrõ” the texture of Setu songs approaches three-part singing with the main melody in the middle voice (see example 1).
The etymology of the term torrõ is not clear. It is possible that the second (more general) meaning of this word – “splendid”, “gorgeous” – points to the pleasant sound of torrõ voices, but this connection is, however, questionable. There are also some other associations: toro (“pipe”), toores (“raw”, “rough”, “rude”). The dictionary of Võru dialect gives the following example of the use of the word torrõ: “he (she) spoke in a low voice as if from the bottom of the tun” [kynõlõs torrõ helügaq, niguq pütüpõh'ast] (www.folklore.ee/cgi-bin/v6ros6nastik). This description seems to some extent characterize the vocal manner of torrõ singers (especially men).
2. The term for singers who sing the torrõ part.