Khoomei Sound Samples and Spectrograms


This page contains sound samples and spectrograms of various Khoomei singers.

Click on the spectrograms to download sound samples (aiff format).



1. Me singing Sygyt: This image contains the frequencies from about 0-5300 Hz. You can see the scooping of unwanted frequencies and the amplified harmonics of the melody.


2. Sygyt # 2: Also high in my range, this time with a little clearer sound.



3. Me singing in Khoomei style. The sound is softer, and more diffused. If you listen carefully, you can discern a 3rd pitch. It’s located above the melodic harmonic, but sounds softer (this is an illusion; the melodic frequency cluster is slightly quieter, but the motion makes it more obvious). The frequency range is from about 0-5469 Hz, and the fundamental (very soft, and very faint visually) is at about 129 Hz.


4. Yours truly singing a bit o’ Kargyraa (same frequency range). Notice the coarse, vibrating quality; often, on recordings with either natural or artificial reverb, this sound is smoothed out. I intentionally recorded these samples very dry (except #1 above), to obtain more accurate spectrograms.


5. This is an example of Chilandyk (named for the cricket), a combination of Kargyraa and Sygyt styles. Same frequency range as above. If you can learn to sing both styles, it’s not too hard to combine them. The difficult part is to keep the Kargyraa in tune when adding the sygyt.




I’ll add some more of my own samples, and samples of other singers as time permits.

Below are some spectrograms and samples of some famous Tuvan singers, beginning with Kaigal-ool Xovalyg of Huun-Huur-Tu:



Spectrograms of Kaigal-ool Xovalyg

produced by Steve Sklar, Minneapolis, 1997-98


Section 1. In this section, click on the spectrogram to download the AIFF sound file. PLEASE NOTE: These casual samples were not recorded under “studio conditions,” and have not been equalized. The original samples were made on a PowerMac 8500/132 computer, using the computer’s microphone, at 44.1Khz, then downsampled into 22.05Khz IMA compression AIFF Files. Together with the spectrograms, they do provide a useful if not comprehensive look at the sound components of khoomei singing.

The first two Kargyraa spectrograms were made from the same sample, so you only have to select one of them.

Kargyraa style : frequency range 0-5469 Hz


Kargyraa style : frequency range 0-2735 Hz


Sygyt: frequency range 0-5469 Hz fundamental about 334 Hz



Section 2. The spectrograms in this section were made from solo tracks on Huun-Huur-Tu’s first Shanachie CD, 60 Horses in My Herd. These tracks are presented through the generous cooperation of Shanachie Records. Clicking these spectrograms will play high-quality (256 kbs) mp3s.

Khoomei solo from 60 Horses (track 6); frequency response 0-2735 Hz. The fundamental (bottom line) is at about 108 Hz. There is another formant band centered at about 3450 Hz that is similar in intensity to the upper band shown here.


The next 2 spectrograms were also made from the same track, and again are simply two views with different frequency ranges.

Kargyraa solo from 60 Horses (track 11); frequency range from 0-5469 Hz
(apologies for “crosshair” artifact)

Kargyraa solo from 60 Horses (track 11); frequency range 0-2735 Hz

Kaigal-ool Xovalyg is the lead singer and igil master of the reknowned Tuvan ensemble Huun-Huur-Tu (“sun-propeller). He has performed around the world with HHT, and with his multi-cultural group ethno-jazz Vershki da Koreshki. He holds the title “Peoples’ Singer of Tuva,” and is especially well known for his unique 3-4 voice Khoomei style, in which he can apply vibrato to certain harmonics and not others! He has been my foremost teacher on the Khoomei path.

I wish to express my thanks to Kaigal-ool and Shanachie Records for allowing me to present these recordings and images.

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