Overtone Singing!

Sing two notes at once! It seems impossible, right? There have been many people who have perfected the way of doing just that. This style of singing is often referred to as overtone singing or in layman’s terms: throat singing. Overtone singing is a vocal technique that creates the “auditory impression of polyphony by filtering individual overtones from the sound spectrum of the voice by controlling the resonances in the vocal tract in such a way that they are perceived as separate tones.” all that to say: its the technique to create two distinct and controlled pitches that a vocalist can use in their performance.

This seems like an unattainable idea however it is simply amazing when a single person can sing two notes at the same time. This style of singing produces a flute-like tone above the normal voice normally approximately two octaves above. It seems to float crystal clear and oftentimes people compare the sound to a glass harp: Exotic yet strangely familiar. Overtone singing.

Overtone singing is believed to have originated among the indigenous Turko-Mongol tribes of the Altai and Sayan mountains of southern Siberia and western Mongolia. There are other overtone songs from Africa, Papua New Guinea, and Tibet. The region embraces many nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples who share the musical practice of using harmonically rich vocal timbres, such as those employed in throat-singing, to communicate with both the natural and supernatural worlds. Interestingly, the style was initially forbidden by the communist regimes of the first half of the 20th century on account of its ritual and ethnic associations and because it was considered a “backward” practice, throat-singing became re-established as a national art form during the 1980s in both Mongolia and Russia. Consequently, the tradition was taught in schools, performed in theatres, and cultivated through competitions. Traditional uses were revived after the dissolution of the communist governments in Russia and Mongolia in the early 1990s

The sound is formed with the mouth and throat combined with the tongue lip and jaw it has to do with the residence and supported tone. Overtone singing is not created with the vocal cords, on the other hand, it is created by the shape of the vocal tract. There are three resonance frequencies that create when working together overtone singing the first frequency is the normal voice. The second frequency determines the pitch. The third frequency is used for amplification… Because of this everyone hears overtone singing a little differently some people experience more or less valor character and associate the sound with Australian didgeridoos. Others hear the sound of a flute. And they can’t even believe that it comes from the voice. Since the late 20th century, innovative musicians have blended throat-singing with various international popular styles, thereby establishing a place for the genre within the commercial realm of world music. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, Inner Asians have been able to travel more freely. As a result, throat-singing has been taken up by musicians in neighbouring areas such as Kyrgyzstan and the Russian republic of Buryatia.

 It is amazing to me what people can do with their voices: how they can manipulate them to sound like this seems unfathomable until you hear it done. What will people think of next?

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