II still remember the first time I became aware of these pure tone frequencies, called “harmonics”.
Fall 2012; that evening we were at home with friends practicing sacred songs in a circle. After a short introduction into this world, in its musical and cultural context, we sat on the floor. I was sitting cross-legged right in front of the teacher when he asked us to repeat after him a long “Aaaaa…” both posed and resonant. I had already taken part in singing circles and moreover I had already pronounced and heard vowels like the “A” (obvious) so so far nothing weird, nothing special.
On the other hand, when Jean-Marie, our teacher, asked us to repeat after him again and again and again… this famous “Aaaaaa…” I started to ask myself “but what am I doing here?” or “what’s the point of all these “aaaaaaa”?”, “if it takes us 10 minutes to learn to sing the “aaaaaa” it’s sure we won’t get very far…”.
I admit that I was not ready to accept all this. My analytical mind wanted to understand everything, to master everything… and my prejudices soon took over.
Before giving up and starting to agitate myself in all directions, I allowed myself one last chance. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and abandoned myself in this sound bath, in this strange but bewitching “singing”.
A voice from elsewhere… and from here
All of a sudden another voice, sharp, clear, pure… appeared in the middle of our circle! Yes, right there in front of me. I thought, “Damn! I’m starting to hear voices!”.
I open my eyes wide and start looking to the right and left of me to solve the mystery and find out who among the participants had chosen to play this joke on us.
To my great surprise this “voice” was getting louder and louder, but nobody seemed to be singing it, it was beginning to occupy the space, it had just captured my attention, magnifying this unique moment!
At the end of the session and before Jean-Marie left, I approached him to learn more about this remarkable phenomenon. “It’s about harmonics” he told me immediately with his deep voice. “Sacred songs are particularly rich in resonances and harmonics.”
I asked him if there is a culture – a people in this world where harmonics have a protagonist place in their melodies.
“Yes, there is Mongolian overtone singing where the melody is drawn by these harmonics”.
“The harmonics” then. “Overtone singing and Mongolian singing”. The mystery was just beginning to be solved!
One way – “two voices”
I tried to find someone who could help me to progress in this path of Mongolian practice and I found Johanni Curtet; a doctor in ethnomusicology specializing in Mongolian diphonic songs. Without hesitating a second, I contacted him and a few weeks later I was in the bus from Angers to Rennes to take my first class with him. WOW what an experience! Every two weeks, I would get on the bus and join my teacher 140km to the northwest; two hours of travel for one hour of class. The Mongolian diphonic song, this throught singing originated from the steppes of Mount Altai began to bewitch me. I began to practice it EVERY day and to want to understand EVERYTHING, to discover everything, to be avle to hear everything. The practice of Mongolian overtone singing allowed me to open my eyes, or more precisely my ears, and to discover this world under a totally different prism, totally new and wonderful!
Since then, I have never stopped studying and experimenting this “two voice” practice, these harmonic frequencies, fundamental ingredients of each sound, pure vibrations of each voice.
I have followed training courses and courses with remarkable people and researchers in this world of resonances. Among them I will not forget:
On the other hand, I would say that my greatest teacher, both my inspiration and my school is NATURE; the elements of nature, its rhythms, frequencies and energy. The LIFE of nature in connection with myself. The manifestations of life in me and around me. The intrinsic links between everything that is, that lives, that vibrates.