OVERTONE SINGING

Standard

overtone singing

 

This is a demonstration of overtone singing. Overtone singing is an articulatory technique in which a certain overtone is amplified. You will hear a whistle over the drone of the fundamental and lower harmonics.
The first fragment demonstrates a technique which is especially used in the Western countries. The tongue is very slowly moved from the position of the vowel /O/ to the position of the vowel /i:/, resulting in a special scale of overtones. The fundamental remains the same in all cases! The careful somewhat retroflex articulation brings the second and third formant together, which amplifies the nearby overtone. The overtones 5-16 can be heard. To produce the overtones 3-5, one has to make a nasal sound and articulate from /o:/ to /a:/. The overtone is then amplified by the first formant, while the nasal anti-resonance creates the acoustic distinction between the amplified overtone and the lowest harmonics.
In the subsequent demonstrations, we hear song fragments containing overtone singing, from the Tuva Republic in Mongolia. The technique is not essentially different from the Western technique, but glottal adducation is much higher (almost pressed singing). The Tuva people know a number of techniques, which are related to the fundamental frequency. In these fragments you will hear Sygyt which is typically produced with a pitch of 150-200 Hz. An other technique is Kargyra, with a characteristic low pitch of less than 60 Hz.More information:

  • Bloothooft, G., Bringmann, E., van Cappellen, M., van Luipen, J.M., and Thomassen, K.P. (1992). Acoustics and perception of overtone singing, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 92, 1827-1836.
  • Levin, Theodore C., and Edgerton, Michael E. (1999). The Throat Singers of Tuva, Scientific American, Sept.1999.
  • www.harmonx.com [19 Jul 2001] with sound clips!


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overtone singing
Keeping a constant pitch of about 130 Hz, a professional Western performer sings a scale of the overtones 4 to 16. The narrow-band spectrogram shows the amplification of the successive overtones. The lowest overtones are amplified by the first formant, the stepwise increasing resonance is the combination of second and third formant. Higher formants are also visible. 

 

File size 505246 bytes
Format aiff
Keywords overtone throat singing
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tuva overtone singing 1
A Tuva singer demonstrates his “throat singing” or overtone singing, in which individual overtones are amplified. These overtones are clearly visible in the spectrogram.

 

File size 363058 bytes
Format aiff
Keywords overtone throat singing
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tuva overtone singing 2
A Tuva singer demonstrates his “throat singing” or overtone singing, in which individual overtones are amplified. These overtones are clearly visible in the spectrogram.

 

File size 329092 bytes
Format aiff
Keywords overtone throat singing
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tuva overtone singing 3
A Tuva singer demonstrates his “throat singing” or overtone singing, in which individual overtones are amplified. These overtones are clearly visible in the spectrogram.

 

File size 398652 bytes
Format aiff
Keywords overtone throat singing
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tuva overtone singing 4
A Tuva singer demonstrates his “throat singing” or overtone singing, in which individual overtones are amplified. These overtones are clearly visible in the spectrogram.

 

File size 407606 bytes
Format aiff
Keywords overtone throat singing

http://www.let.uu.nl/~audiufon/data/e_boventoon.html

Universiteit Utrecht

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