What is overtone singing
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- Category: Overtone singing
Overtone singing is a way to communicate with our sound environment; a way to be aware of the spectral characteristics of our voice.
A great practice for ear training, for meditation, for understanding and feeling the subtle power of vibration and sound.
Voice is composed by harmonic frequencies, such as a rainbow is composed by colors.
Our resonators are the prism of our voices, as the drops of rain are the prisms of the rays of the sun. If we begin to master our “prisms” we may begin to master our resonances and overtone singing.
Is overtone singing real?
Overtone singing is a remarkable vocal technique that involves mastering the two first formants and resonances of the voice to produce multiple, distinct tones at once. It is a real and powerful form of expression that has gained admiration and recognition from various communities, including extended vocalists who have honed their skills in overtone singing, singing teachers who have incorporated it into their teaching practices, voice scientists who study the anatomy and physiology of the vocal tract, ethnomusicologists who explore the cultural and historical significance of overtone singing, and psychoacoustics laboratories which investigate the perception and cognitive processing of sound.
Overtone singing is a vocal technique, inspired from mongolian and tuvan throat singing, that invites the listener to focus on the spectral melody of the sound. The singer achieves this by producing a steady fundamental note with their vocal cords while simultaneously filtering the sound with their articulators and resonators to create distinct, higher-pitched overtones. In this way, the singer creates a complex and captivating harmonic texture that captivates the listener’s attention.
Can anyone overtone sing?
The answer is YES!
If I can do it, so can you. If you can talk, you can sing; if you can sing, you can also do overtone singing! Overtone singing is an extraordinary practice that is accessible to everyone.
Regardless of gender, age, religion or origin, this practice is accessible to all.
While prior musical training can certainly provide a foundation for learning overtone singing, it is important to keep in mind that the techniques and habits developed through traditional singing may not necessarily translate to overtone singing. Overtone singing requires a unique approach that involves precise manipulation of the vocal tract to isolate specific overtones, which can be challenging to learn if one is accustomed to more traditional vocal techniques. In some cases, a singer may need to unlearn certain habits developed through traditional singing in order to master overtone singing. Therefore, while musical training can be an asset in learning overtone singing, it is important to approach this technique with an open mind and a willingness to learn a new and different way of singing.
Is it hard to overtone sing?
Mastering overtone singing requires careful and consistent practice, patience, and perseverance. It is a vocal technique that demands a deep understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the vocal tract, as well as precise control over the muscles and resonators involved in producing sound. However, despite the challenges involved, the journey towards mastery of this skill can be incredibly rewarding and enjoyable.
To begin with, it is important to find a qualified teacher who can provide guidance and support throughout the learning process. With regular practice and feedback, students can gradually develop the muscle control and breath control necessary to produce and sustain the fundamental pitch while manipulating the vocal tract to create the overtones.
As one progresses, the technique becomes more intuitive, and students can begin to explore the different possibilities of overtone singing, experimenting with different vowel shapes and tongue positions to produce a variety of harmonics.
While it may take time to reach a high level of proficiency, the process of learning and perfecting overtone singing can be a deeply fulfilling and rewarding experience for those who are dedicated to mastering this unique vocal art form.
How is overtone singing possible?
Overtone singing, also known as throat singing or harmonic singing, is a technique in which a singer produces more than one pitch simultaneously by manipulating the resonances created in their vocal tract.
When we sing or speak, our vocal cords vibrate and create a fundamental frequency that determines the pitch of our voice. However, our vocal tract (including our mouth, throat, and nasal cavities) also acts as a resonant chamber, amplifying certain frequencies and dampening others.
In overtone singing, the singer adjusts the shape of their vocal tract to emphasize certain overtones (also known as harmonics) that are produced by the fundamental frequency. By manipulating the shape of their mouth and throat, they can create a series of harmonics that sound like separate notes, even though they are all produced by the same vocal cords.
The precise technique for overtone singing can vary depending on the style and tradition, but generally involves using specific tongue and throat movements to create and control the overtones. It requires a lot of practice and control over the muscles in the vocal tract, but it can produce some very unique and beautiful sounds.
Do overtone singers really sing two notes at the same time?
Overtone singers do not actually sing two different notes at the same time, as might be commonly thought. Instead, they use a remarkable vocal technique that allows them to produce a steady fundamental pitch or drone, while also manipulating the shape and position of their vocal tract to create higher-pitched harmonics that resonate in the overtone series.
These harmonics are created by selectively amplifying certain frequencies of the sound wave produced by the vocal cords, resulting in a rich and complex texture that can create the illusion of multiple notes sounding simultaneously.
What are harmonics?
Harmonics are higher-frequency components of a sound wave that are multiples of the fundamental frequency. When a sound wave is produced, it consists of a fundamental frequency and a series of higher-frequency components, or harmonics, that are integer multiples of the fundamental frequency.
For example, if a person sings a note with a fundamental frequency of 100 Hz, the harmonics that are produced will have frequencies of 200 Hz, 300 Hz, 400 Hz, and so on, with each harmonic being an integer multiple of the fundamental frequency.
The harmonics of a sound wave contribute to its overall timbre or tone quality. The specific combination of harmonics in a sound wave determines its unique sound or timbre, and is what allows us to distinguish different instruments or voices.
How to overtone sing?
Here are some important steps for practicing overtone singing:
Focus on your breathing and posture: Before attempting overtone singing, make sure you are in a comfortable position and breathing deeply and calmly.
Find your drone pitch: Choose a low, steady pitch to use as your drone. This could be a humming sound.
Experiment with vowel sounds: Practice singing different vowel sounds (such as “ee,” “oo,” or “ah”) while maintaining the drone pitch. Pay attention to how each vowel sound affects the resonances in your mouth and throat.
Move your tongue and mouth: Experiment with different tongue and mouth positions to create different harmonics or overtones. Try moving your tongue up and down, or changing the shape of your mouth to emphasize different frequencies.
Listen carefully: Pay close attention to the sounds you are creating and try to identify specific harmonics or overtones. This will help you to control and refine your technique.
Practice regularly: Overtone singing requires practice and patience. Try to practice for a few minutes each day, gradually increasing the length and complexity of your sessions over time.