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MYSTERES DES VOIX DU MONDE par TRAN QUANG HAI

Video

tran quang hai voix du mondehttp://www.geozik.com/MYSTERES-DES-VOIX-DU-MONDE_v82.html

MYSTÈRES DES VOIX DU MONDE
Durée : 24min 53sec | Chaîne : Documentaire
3036 vues | 1 2 3 4 5 Votre note : 5
Tags : Burkina Faso, chant diphonique, didjeridoo, guimbarde, Mongolie, Vietnam
Le célèbre ethnomusicologue Trân Quang Hai nous invite avec humour à un extraordinaire tour du monde des timbres de voix. Un voyage initiatique en quelque sorte ! Il lève le voile sur les techniques de travestissement vocal des sorciers africains, sur le chant diphonique mongol ou encore sur la voix extrêmement grave des moines bouddhistes tibétains.
© Patrick Kersalé 2012

LE CHANT DES HARMONIQUES / Conférence de Tran Quang Hai au festival de la voix à l’Ile sur Noirmoutier, mai 2013

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http://www.geozik.com/LE-CHANT-DES-HARMONIQUES_v163.html

LE CHANT DES HARMONIQUES
Durée : 21min 20sec | Chaîne : Chant
410 vues | 1 2 3 4 5 138 vote(s), 5 sur 5
L’incontournable et irrésistible ethnomusicologue Tran Quang Hai nous offre une fois encore la preuve de son immense talent de communicateur. Il était l’invité du Festival 7e art et sciences 2013 à Noirmoutier. Il présente, grâce à un sonagramme en temps réel, la composition harmonique du chant diphonique et de quelques dérivés. Une séquence spécialement recommandée aux enroués et aphones !

TRAN QUANG HAI : Review /Rollin RACHELE: Overtone Singing Study Guide Amsterdam: Cryptic Voices Productions, 1996. 127 p.

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Rollin RACHELE: Overtone Singing Study Guide

Amsterdam: Cryptic Voices Productions, 1996. 127 p.
Trân Quang Hai
p. 298-299
Référence(s) :Rollin Rachele: Overtone Singing Study Guide. Amsterdam : Cryptic Voices Productions, 1996. 127 pages, 71 transcriptions musicales, 15 sonagrammes, bibliographie, discographie, index et un CD

Texte intégral

1L’Occident découvre le chant « diphonique » ou « harmonique » à partir du début des années 1960. L’effet « harmonique » de la voix grave des moines tibétains a d’abord impressionné quelques musicologues, puis le compositeur Karlheinz Stockhausen, dont l’œuvre intitulée Stimmung, créée à Paris en 1968, intègre pour la première fois la production d’harmoniques.

2Depuis plus de trente ans, le chant « diphonique » (terme proposé en 1971 par Emile Leipp) a eu de nombreux adeptes, non seulement en Europe, mais aussi aux Etats-Unis, au Canada, en Australie et au Japon, ceci dans plusieurs domaines de recherche : acoustique (Emile Leipp, Gilles Léothaud), ethnomusicologique (Carol Pegg, Mark van Tongeren, Alain Desjacques), expérimentale (Michael Vetter, David Hykes, D. Becher, Ch. Bollman, N. Ch. Halfhid, Rollin Rachele ou l’auteur de ces lignes). Une soixantaine de CD existent à l’heure actuelle sur le chant diphonique, allant de la musique bouddhique tibétaine et du « chant de gorge » (xöömij) de Touva, de Mongolie, du Gorno-Altai ou de Bachkirie, à la musique New Ageoccidentale.

3Le chanteur et compositeur Rollin Rachele a découvert le chant diphonique en 1979. Son premier livre intitulé Boventoonzang : een zelfstudiecursus in het leren zingen van boventonen (Katwijk aan Zee : Servire Uitgevers B.V. 1989) a connu une faible diffusion car le néerlandais n’est pas une langue accessible à tout le monde. C’est en 1996 qu’en paraît la version anglaise, revue et augmentée, sous le titre Overtone Singing Study Guide, qui est peut-être le premier ouvrage à large diffusion consacré à l’apprentissage du chant diphonique. L’ouvrage comporte huit chapitres : Histoire du chant diphonique (pp.  15-23), Théorie derrière le chant diphonique (pp.  24-37), Préparation physique (pp.  38-47), Exercices d’échauffement de la voix (p. 48-51), Mécanismes du chant diphonique (pp.  52-74), Changements du Fondamental (pp.  75-93), Effets spéciaux (pp.  94-95), et Aides pour l’improvisation collective (pp.  96-98).

4La partie historique du livre distingue à juste titre deux zones d’expansion : l’Extrême Orient (Touva, la Mongolie et le Tibet), et l’Occident avec le développement tardif du chant diphonique au XXe siècle.

5Il faut bien noter que la technique proposée ensuite par Rachele se réfère au chant diphonique de « l’école européenne », c’est-à-dire à la production des harmoniques sur un son fondamental faible et doux, contrairement à ce qui se pratique chez les Touvins et les Mongols, qui produisent un son fondamental compressé et étranglé afin d’en réduire la puissance et d’augmenter le volume sonore des harmoniques. Les Touvins possèdent cinq styles principaux, à savoir sygyt, xoomei, borbannadyr, ezengileer, kargyraa. Les Mongols ont des styles légèrement différents selon les techniques de phonation mises en œuvre : tagnain xöömij (langue retournée vers le bas), xamrijn xöömij (par le nez), bagalzuurijn xöömij (par la gorge), tseedzni i xöömij (par la poitrine), kevliin xöömij (par le ventre),xarkiraa xöömij (xöömij narratif, très grave), isgerex (technique de chant sifflé entre les dents avec suppression du fondamental). En Europe, le seul style pratiqué dans la musique New Age et les exercices de méditation ou de relaxation comporte un fondamental doux et il ne vise pas à créer des mélodies harmoniques comme en Sibérie, mais plutôt, selon l’inspiration du chanteur, des mouvements harmoniques ascendants et descendants.

6Grâce à son expérience personnelle de chanteur, Rollin Rachele présente 99 exercices, répartis du plus simple au plus complexe de manière cohérente et logique. En essayant de les pratiquer, j’ai effectivement obtenu les résultats indiqués, avec néanmoins des spectres légèrement différents sur le plan des partiels. Les exercices proposés par Rollin Rachele sont très valables : mouvements des lèvres, mouvements de la langue, combinaison des lèvres et de la langue, la vitesse, les dynamiques, les rythmes, et les sauts d’intervalles (pp.  52-74). Les transcriptions musicales sont un outil de travail efficace, grâce à des chiffres de la série des harmoniques indiqués en dessous des notes ; une seule erreur concerne la note FA (harmonique 11), qui devrait être diésée (pp.  51, 55, 57, 60, 61, etc.).

7On regrettera que la discographie (pp.  114-115) soit très maigre, eu égard au grand nombre de CD existant sur le sujet, et que la bibliographie omette quelques articles récents essentiels tels que les travaux d’Alain Desjacques ou de Mark Van Tongeren. Mais, malgré ces quelques remarques, l’ouvrage de Rollin Rachele est un outil d’une grande valeur pédagogique pour tous ceux qui voudraient découvrir le chant diphonique de style européen avant de s’initier éventuellement aux autres techniques de chant de gorge telles que celles des peuples sibériens.

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Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Trân Quang Hai, « Rollin RACHELE: Overtone Singing Study Guide », Cahiers d’ethnomusicologie, 11 | 1998, 298-299.

Référence électronique

Trân Quang Hai, « Rollin RACHELE: Overtone Singing Study Guide », Cahiers d’ethnomusicologie [En ligne], 11 | 1998, mis en ligne le 07 janvier 2012, consulté le 09 janvier 2014. URL : http://ethnomusicologie.revues.org/1688

http://ethnomusicologie.revues.org/1688

TRAN QUANG HAI : A Wide Range of Possibilities of the Human Voice

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A Wide Range of Possibilities of the Human Voice

 

Tran Quang Hai (France/ Vietnam)

 

To establish a typology of the voice is not something easy to be done .  Based on the phonation and its production, is proposed a first attempt of provisory voice classification :

  1. 1.    Calls, cries and clamours

The voice is used with intensity in order to project towards a big audience . The cries remain an individual expression of pain (funerals), joy (ululations of the Arabo-Berber world), and astonishment (“ole” of flamenco)

Sound example : KECAK chorus in Bali, Indonesia

Kecak chorus appeared at the beginning of 20th century. This genre drew from older models, such as the trance dances as practised in temples . A chorus men, some one hundred singers, seated in concentric circles facing towards the centre, where a scene from the Ramayana is played. The chorus itself performs a polyphony of diverse cries and onomatopoeias, wherein the syllables KE and CAK are stylised monkey calls. The result is a varied rhythmic counterpoint, mainly using techniques of hocket, ostinato and off beat . Synchronisation between the different parts is rigorously directed by one of the members in the chorus. There is no place for improvisation .

  1. 2.    Voice and breath

The sound of the breath itself may be exploited for aesthetic ends, as when seeking a special timbre (as in the whispered voice of the Burundi zither player . Inuit throat games combine both rhythmical component of the breath and musical line of the voice .

Sound example : Whispered song with Inanga trough zither , Burundi

The pronunciation of the words by a man’s voice with the breath very obvious is perfectly synchronised with the plucking of the zither

Sound example : Throat game by Inuits, Canada

Three short throat game pieces KATAJJAQ a) by Elijah Pudloo Mageeta and Napache Samaejuk Pootoogook, b) by Temgeak Pitaulassie with Alla Braun, c) by Soria Eyituk with Lusi Kuni

The KATAJJAQ is a singular vocal technique characterized by the alternation of audible inhalation and exhalation, by a nasal and guttural vocal emission, and of bursts of sounds without fixed pitch. It is built upon repetitive motifs . Women’s vocal jousting. The two singers get face to face, almost mouth to mouth. The idea is to fatigue the adversary, and rhythmicalle destabilize her . A piece ends when one of the women runs out of breath and laughs .

  1. 3.    Spoken, declaimed, sung

Cantillation of the Koran, Buddhist psalmody, recitation of the Rig Veda in India, ritual speech in New Caledonia, and shaman’s song in Terra del Fuego (Argentina) are different aspects of this category .

Sound example : Buddhist psalmody by Tibetan Monks, Tibet

This is an extract of an invocation to the goddess Aphyi, protector of the monastery .

The passage shows the style of chanting dbyangs (literally “vowels”) and is characterized by a solemnisation of the enunciated text, obtained by the interpolation of syllables without meaning between the words with the accompaniment of a big frame drum .

  1. 4.    Compass and register

The term “register” is used in widely different ways. Acousticians and physiologists recognize 4 registers or mecanisms: mecanism 0: strobass or fry voice, mecanism 1: chest voice, mecanism 2: head voice, mecanism 3: whistle or flute voice .

The alternation of the 2 principal registers can sometimes constitute the very essence of the musical material, as is the case of the yodel, defined as such by the rapid passing from one mechanism to the other .

Sound example : Totemic emblem song, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea , tribe: Abelam

This men’s song is sung with a “strobass “ voice in the deep bass . This song has no words .

Sound example: Song for the carnaval, Bolivia, Indians Llamero

By 2 women, this vocal duo with an ensemble of 4 vertival flutes rnkillo played in parallel octave by men . The women sing in the highest register, it is said that their voices “become visible” .

Sound example: Yodel during the alpine pasturage, Switzerland

A three part polyphonic song without words consists of yodel syllables selected for the register, mostly with the vowels (a) and (o) in chest voice and (u) in falsetto, but also with (i) in both registers .

  1. 5.    Colours and timbres

If the “flamenco voice” is often thought of as “guttural”, what does this word mean, and what kind of physiological reality is involved ? Is not the Xhosa voice while quite different from the Andalusian, not also “guttural” ? As for “nasal voice”, how can we determine the difference between the voice used in American country music and the one of Japanese shomyo chanting ?

Sound example : Flamenco song seguiriya , Spain

This example of the flamenco voice, whose pungency and dark character are summed up the adjective negra “black” . A negra voice contains a number of intentional impurities

Sound example : Shomyo buddhist chanting , Japan

The psalmodic chant Hyôbyaku is a prayer offered to Dainichi recited by an old monk with a nasal voice

6. Disguised voices

There are several techniques of disguise that a singer can employ . In the Peking opera, a male actor sings in falsetto to imersonate a female . The masked voice in Africa evokes the supernatural spirit. The didjeridu of the Australian aborigines,the kazoo of European children, the bamboo tubes of the Iatmul of the Sepik area, Papua New Guinea, or clay pots in Rajasthan, India distort the voice during performances .

Sound example: Peking opera Jingxi/ Pingju, China

The principal feminine role is traditionnally performed by a man

Sound example : Song with mirliton , Honduras

Alternance of sung words with cries, of a relatively weak intensity . The voice is masked by means of a mirliton .A small tube is closed at its lower end while to the other end is fixed a vibrating membrane (skin from a bat’s wing, intestine or paper).

  1. 7.    Ornementation

Vibrato can be considered as ornementation . In Western lyrical singing, it is a minimal form of ornamentation . The Mongolians alternate vibrato with trills (upon 2 degrees)

Sound example : Epic song , Kurdistan, Iran

Ne discovers here the same very confined melodic structure, and the ornamentation technique tahrir, though less applied .

 

         8 .Singing in the instrument

By lip vibration, the Australian aborigines  use the didjeridu as a horn, and with the technique of circular breathing permitting a continuous sonorous spectrum, rich in harmonics. At the same time, the musician emits sounds of different animals

Sound example :solo of didjeridu, Australie

9 .Imitation of instruments

The flute (in Mongolia) is not , however the only instrument that the voice can take for model – the fiddle (the Tibesti region of Chad) , the whistle (Central Africa) or the drum (North and South India)

Sound example : imitation of flute limbe , Mongolia

The singer uses an acrobactic vocal technique called “playing the flute through the nose”

10. Employ of harmonics

A periodic sound is made of a fundamental and a series of upper harmonics which are selected to create an independent melody .

Experimental Research on Overtone / Undertone Singing

 

My experimental research on overtone/undertone singing has enabled me to establish  new possibilities of sound productions

  1. To select  one harmonic as a drone and to sing a melody with fundamentals

The fundamentals can be varied from 110 Hz  to 220 Hz (from A2 to A3) in the diatonic scale. During that time is kept the same pitch of the selected overtone at 1320 Hz. In order to obtain this result, the tip of the tongue strongly touches the meeting point of the hard palate and the soft palate or velum under the roof of the palate and should not make any movement . In that case, the two buccal cavities obtained by the position of the tongue inside of the mouth have the same volume and get the same overtone pitch in spite of the changing pitch of the fundamentals .

  1. To create a parallel between fundamentals and overtones

The overtones are always 3 octaves higher than the fundamentals while singing the ascending and descending  diatonic scale with the fundamentals . If the fundamental is at 110 Hz , the overtone will be heard at 880 Hz. If the fundamental is moved up to 220 Hz , the overtone will be at 1760 Hz . For this experiment,, not only the tip of the tongue is hardly pressed  against the roof of the palate and moves from the velum to the hard palate when the fundamentals moves from A2 (110 Hz) to A3 (220 Hz) in order to create the same pitched distance of 3 octaves in parallel .

  1. To create the opposite direction between overtones and fundamentals

When the fundamental is sung at A2 (110 Hz) the overtone is at H16 (4 octaves above the fundamental). While the fundamental goes up to A3 (220 Hz) , the overtone goes down to H4 (2 octaves above the fundamental). Consequently, this shows the opposite movement of fundamentals and overtones . In order to get this spectrum, the position of the tip of the tongue touches near the teeth under the roof of the palate (H16 will be heard) and moves  back slowly to the velum (H4) while the fundamentals start with low pitch (A2) and ends with high pitch (A3) of the A tonality

 

  1. To write words with overtones (such words like MINIMUM,  WIN )

A limited number of words can be written with overtones . With the same pitch of the fundamental , the written words can be done by varying overtones  at three levels (under 1,000 Hz, 2,000 Hz, and 3,000 Hz)

  1. To create UNDERTONES (F-2, F-3, F-4 while singing a melody)

Some traditional throat voices like Tuvan Kargyraa, Xhosa  Umngqokolo from South Africa, the Tenore voice of the Sardinian Quintina  (the fusion of 4 main voices creates the virtual fifth overtone voice) use the undertone going down one octave lower than the real fundamental . Leonardo Fuks from Brazil arrived to go down to F-5 (2 octaves and a major third below the fundamental) but he could not sing a tune with that way . I have succeeded in  dividing the fundamental pitch into 2, 3, and 4 . With  the use of arytenoids inside of my throat , I could sing one octave lower (F-2), one octave and a fifth lower (F-3) and two octaves lower (F-4) than the real fundamental pitch (between 110 Hz and 150 Hz) . It is not possible to create the undertones above 220 Hz or below 60 Hz

  1. To combine OVERTONES and UNDERTONES while singing a melody

In Tuvan kargyraa, and Xhosa umngqokolo from South Africa, the combination of overtones (melody) and undertones (real fundamental split into two – F-2) can be produced simultaneously . With my experiment, I could sing an overtone melody with the fundamental divided into 3 (F-3) simultaneously . The perception is naturally not at all identical.

  1. To create overtones corresponding to 7 chakras in Yoga

In Yoga, there exist 7 chakras corresponding to 7 vowels, 7 sounds or pitches, 7 overtones and 7 points of the human body. I carried out experimen-tal research in the presence of overtones in Yoga. The result of my three-year study was presented at the International Congress of Yoga in France in 2002 .
According to my research, the fundamental of voice should be at 150Hz .

1 Mulâdhâra        coccyx   H n° 4     U           600Hz
2 Svâdhishthâna  genitals  H n° 5     O           750Hz
3 Manipûra          navel     H n° 6     Ö           900Hz
4 Anâhata            heart      H n° 8     A         1200Hz
5 Vishuddha        throat     H n° 9     E          1350Hz
6 Ajnâ between eyebrows H n°10    AE       1500Hz
7 Sahasrâra   top of head  H n°12     I          1800Hz

Conclusion

First, I would like to present you a quick overview of different possibilities that the voice can be found in traditional musics in the world and second, I am happy to show you some results of my recent discoveries on overtone / undertone study . Thank you for your attention ..

Selective Bibliography for Overtone Singing Study

 

Bloothooft G. Bringmann E., van Capellen M.,  van Luipen J.B., Thoamssen K.P.  1992: “Acoustic and Perception of Overtone Singing”, in Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, JASA, vol.92, n°4: 1827-1836.

Dargie, D. 1993: “Thembu Xhosa umngqokolo overtone singing : the use of the human voice as a type of “musical bow”, paper presented at the ICTM Conference in Berlin. (self publication)

Grawunder, S. 2003 : “Der südsibirische Kehlgesang als Gegenstand  phonetishcer Untersuchungen“ , in Gegenstandsauffassung und aktuelle phonetische Forschungen der halleschen Sprechwissenschaft :53-91, Eva-Maria Krech/Eberhard Stock (Ed), Peter Lang, Halle, Germany .

Grawunder, S. 2003: „Unusual phonetic and acoustic features in certain Tuvan throat singing styles“, Scientific Center of Research „Xoomei“, Kyzyl, Tuva

Leipp, E. 1971 : “Le probleme acoustique du chant diphonique”, Bulletin du Groupe d’Acoustique Musicale , no 58 : 1-10, Universite de Paris VI

Leothaud, G. 1989 : « Considerations acoustiques et musicales sur le chant diphonique », Le Chant diphonique, dossier n°1 : 17-43, Institut de la Voix, Limoges, France

Sundberg, Johan 1987 : The Science of the Singing Voice , Northern Illinois University Press, USA

Tisato G., Cosi, P. 2003: “On the Magic of Overtone Singing”, in Voce, Canto Parlato : 83-100, Unipress (publisher), Padova, Italy

Tongeren , van M. 2002 : Overtone Singing / Physics and Metaphysics of Harmonics in East and West , 271 pages, Fusica publisher, 1 CD , Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Tran Quang Hai , Guillou D. 1980 : « Original Research and Acoustical Analysis in connection with the Xöömij style of Biphonic Singing “, in Musical Voices of Asia : 163-173, The Japan Foundation (ed), Heibonsha Ltd, Tokyo, Japan

Tran Quang Hai , Zemp H., 1991: “Recherches experimentales sur le chant diphonique”, Cahiers de musiques traditionnelles, 4 (Voix) : 27-68, Ateliers d’Ethnomusicologie, Geneva , Switzerland .

Tran Quang Hai 2002 : « A la decouverte du chant diphonique », in Moyens d’investigation et Pedagogie de la voix chantee : 117-132, with a CD Rom, Guy Cornut (ed), Symetrie publishers, Lyon, France

 

Filmography

 

1990 Le chant des harmoniques  (The Song of Harmonics),  film 16mm and video cassette , 38 minutes, directed by H.Zemp, co-authors (Tran Quang Hai and Hugo Zemp), CNRS Audio Visuel (prod), France . Contact: Tran Quang Hai, email: or tranquanghai@hotmail.com

2003 Le chant diphonique, DVD , 27 minutes, directed by C.Beguinet, co-authors (Tran Quang Hai and Luc Souvet), Centre Regional de Documentation Pedagogique (CRDP), Saint Denis, Isle of the Reunion, contact: Luc Souvet email : luc.souvet@wanadoo.fr

Weborama

 

https://haidiphonie.wordpress.com

http://tranquanghaisworld.blogspot.fr

www.khoomei.com

www.oberton.org

www.google.com  (type each of these words : overtone singing , throat singing , biphonic singing, diphonic singing, canto difonico, oberton,  khoomei, sygyt, kargyraa, harmonic singing,)

TRAN QUANG HAI : NUMBERS IN ASIAN MUSIC

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Numbers in Asian Music

TRAN QUANG HAI

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The ancients saw music as an application of cosmic algebra. The Chinese, in their science, considered only the qualitative aspect of the Numbers that they manipulated as signs and symbols. Among the three functions of numbers, the distinction between cardinal and ordinal use is less essential than the distributive function. Thanks to this quality, numbers provide the function of uniting a set, of grouping.

The ratios expressing relationships among musical sounds have a correspondence in all other aspects of an event. The governance of these relations allows comparisons between musical harmony and all other harmonic classifications: colours, shapes or planets.

Theory

The number 5 represents the 5 elements, the 5 movements. “Five” evokes the 5 senses, the 5 organs that are a coagulation of breaths (as wind instruments).

 

Element

EARTH

METAL

WOOD

FIRE

WATER

Notes

Gong

Shang

Jiao

Zhi

Yi

European Notes

FA

F

SOL

G

LA

A

DO

C

RE

D

Organ

Spleen

Stomach

Lungs

Small Intestine

Large Intestine

Liver

Gall bladder

Heart

Intestine

Kidneys

Bladder

Colour

Yellow

White

Blue-Green

Red

Black

Planet

Saturn

Venus

Jupiter

Mars

Mercury

Emblem

Phoenix

Tiger

Dragon

Bird

Turtle

Function

Emperor

Minister

 

People

Public Services (Military/ Religious)

Products

(objects)

Number

5–10

4–9

3–8

2–7

1–6

 

 

The pentatonic range has a centre (GONG) surrounded by four notes assimilated to the four directions in space (SHANG-West, JIAO-East, ZHI-South, YI-North).

It is therefore the law of numbers that governs the proportions of the musical edifice. Sounds, just like numbers, obey the stimuli of attraction and repulsion. Their successive or simultaneous order – i.e. melodic and harmonic movements of the chords respectively – allows for an apparent structure of musical form. Sounds are ordered, paired up and make up structures that evoke real and imaginary worlds.

The root note (also known as tonic or keynote) constitutes the basis and the centre: it is the reference point that allows the construction of the musical edifice.

In the example where the tonic is the FA, the DO note will maintain a fifth interval with its tonic. The very note DO will play a role of fourth in a range of SOL. Our usual DO (Ut) is a tonic in the construction of the classical scale model.

The first and basic tube (Huang Zhong) reproduces the FA (Gong tonic). This FA is close to the FA sharp of the physics scale with its 708.76 vibrations per second. This generator tube represents the Central Palace around which the other elements gather. Yellow is the emblematic colour of the centre: it evokes the Sun, centre of the Sky or heart of the flower. It is reserved to the Emperor, central individual on Earth.

 

The 12 LÜ or Musical Tubes

We will not insist on the well-known legend of the discovery of the LÜ scale at the hands of Ling Lu (Linh Luân), a music master at the time of the famous Emperor Huangdi (Hùynh Dê, 2697-2597 before our era). In the solitary valley of the mount Kouen Louen (Côn Lôn), at the western borders of the empire, he found bamboos of the same thickness and obtained the fundamental sound, the HUANGZHONG (Hoàng Chung, the Yellow Bell) by blowing in one of the canes after cutting it in between two knots. He obtained the complete LÜ scale thanks to the sound made by a male and a female phoenix.

The LÜ scale would basically correspond to the modern chromatic scale. The absolute pitchof the fundamental sound, the HUANGZHONG, changes according to the dynasty. We will choose the FA, just like Louis Laloy, a French missionary specialist in Chinese music at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

The LÜ scale will then be:

 

HUANGZHONG (Hoàng Chung, the Yellow Bell): FA

TALÜ (Dai Lu, The Great Lyu): FA#

TAIZU (Thai Thô’c, The Great Iron of Arrow): SOL

JIAZHONG (Gia’p Chung: The Narrow or Still Bell?): SOL#

GUXIAN (Cô Tây, Ancient Purification): LA

ZHONGLÜ (Trong Lu, cadet Lyu) : LA#

RUIBIN (Nhuy Tân, Beneficial Fertility) SI

LINZHONG (Lâm Chung, The Bell of the Woods): DO

YIZE (Di Tac, The Same Rule): DO#

NANLÜ (Nam Lu, The Lyu of the South): RE

WUHI (Vô Xa, the Imperfect): RE#

YINGZHONG (Ung Chung, The Bell of the Eco): MI

 

But, when composing their melodies, the Chinese did not use the scale of the 12 sounds thus obtained – starting from the tonic note, the HUANGZHONG, through a succession of fifths. Instead, they were content with the five degrees that form the pentatonic scale GONG, SHANG, JIAO, ZHI, YI (Cung, Thuong, Giôc, Chuy, Vu). In the SHI JI (Su Ky: Historical Memoirs), Xi Ma Tian (Tu Ma Thiên), has given the dimensions of the tubes that create the notes of the Chinese pentatonic scale:

9 x 9 = 81 (placing 81 millet grains one next to the other gives a length corresponding to that of a bamboo cane giving the fundamental sound of the Yellow Bell HUANGZHONG).

In their cosmogonic system, the Chinese determined relations based on the law of numbers. These relations are also valid in the music world. The 12 musical tubes, or LÜLÜ, are the basis of this music theory. They generate in turn, in a rhythmic proportion, both by diminishing by a third and by increasing by a third: generation therefore happens through the action of the Three.

According to the type of operation carried out, two generations of tubes are created. The inferior generation provides a shorter tube, whose sound is more acute than the other one and length is reduced by a third. The superior generation provides a longer and deeper sound than the previous one, with respect to which it has been increased by a third.

The inferior generation is the result of a multiplication by two thirds, that is the inverse of a fifth. So, the first tube measuring 81 produces the second shortest tube: 81 x 2/3 = 54. Therefore, from FA (81) and DO (54) there exists a fifth.

The superior generation is the result of a fourth, since a 4/3 ratio is what characterises it. Therefore, the second tube (54) produces the third tube: 54 x 4/3 = 72. From DO (54) to SOL (72, longer and therefore deeper), there exists a fourth.

 

FA first tube 81

DO second tube 54 81 x 2/3

SOL third tube 72 54 x 4/3

RE fourth tube 48 72 x 2/3

LA fifth tube 64 48 x 4/3

MI sixth tube 42 64 x 2/3

SI seventh tube 57 42 x 4/3

FA# eighth tube 76 57 x 4/3 inversion

DO# ninth tube 51 76 x 2/3 inversion

SOL# tenth tube 68 51 x 4/3 inversion

RE# eleventh tube 45 68 x 2/3 inversion

LA# twelfth tube 60 45 x 4/3 inversion

 

The GONG (Cung) note = FA.

2/3 of 81 give 81 x 2/3 = 54; this note is known as ZHI (Chùy): DO

4/3 of 54 give 54 x 4/3 = 72; this is the note known as SHANG (Thuong): SOL

2/3 of 72 give 72 x 2/3 = 48; this note is known as YI (Vu): RE

4/3 of 48 give 48 x 4/3 = 64; note known as JIAO (Giôc): LA

 

Edouard Chavannes quoted and commented Lyus’s passage in appendix II, p. 636, of the third volume of his Historical Memoirs: the HUANGZHONG produces the LINZHONG; the LINGZHONG produces the TAIZU; the TAIZU produces the NANLÜ; the NANLÜ produces the GUXIAN and so on. Another part is added to the three parts of the generator to create a superior generation; one part is taken from the three parts of the generator to create an inferior generation. The HUANGZHONG, the TAIZU; the JIAZHONG, the GUXIAN, the ZHONGLÜ, the RUIBIN belong to the superior generation; the LINZHONG, the YIZE, the NANLÜ, the WUYI, the YINGZHONG belong to the inferior generation.

According to LIU PUWEI, the tube whose length is 4/3 of the generator tube belong to the superior generation and provides the fourth inferior, that is the low octave of the fifth of the sound of the generator tube. The tube whose length is 2/3 of the generator tube belongs to the inferior generation and provides the fifth of the sound of the generator tube.

These five notes correspond – according to SIMA QIAN, quoted by Maurice Courant – to “the 5 LÜ” HUANGZHONG, TAIZU, GUXIAN, LINZHONG and NANLÜ, the only ones whose measure is expressed in whole numbers starting from the basic 81:

 

GONG (81): Huangzhong: FA

SHANG (72): Taizu: SOL

JIAO (64): Guxian: LA

ZHI (54): Linzhong: DO

YI (48): Nanlü RE

 

This scale would have been used under the Yin dynasty (1776-1154 B.C.). According to Maurice Courant, the heptatonic scale – obtained by adding the two complementary or auxiliary notes BIEN GONG (Biên Cung) and BIEN ZHI (Biên Chùy) to the pentatonic scale – “existed at least a dozen centuries before the Christian era”. These auxiliary degreesare obtained by pushing the succession of fifths up to the seventh, starting from the fundamental sound. If we give the GONG (Hoàng Chung) degree the pitch of the FA, the BIEN GONG will have the pitch of a MI and the BIEN ZHI that of a TI.

Therefore, the cycles obtained starting from the fifths present analogies with the movements of the sun (seasons), of the moon (moon months), but also with planets mirroring in the organs. The Chinese associate them with a symbolic colour that has a therapeutic value.

 

Symbolism in Musical Instruments

In Chinese mythology, there are eight instruments destined to let resound the eight forces of the compass rose. Each instrument has a sonorous body made of a different material, which determines its peculiar character.

 

1. The sound of SKIN corresponds to the North

2. The sound of CALABASH-GOURD corresponds to the N-E

3. The sound of BAMBOO corresponds to the East

4. The sound of WOOD corresponds to the S-E

5. The sound of SILK corresponds to the South

6. The sound of EARTH corresponds to the S-W

7. The sound of METAL corresponds to the West

8. The sound of STONE corresponds to the N-W

 

In the North, and at the SKIN, the drums are eight. The GOURD (or CALABASH), in the North-East, has the peculiarity of consisting of a series of 12 Liu, some YIN, some YANG. The instrument allowed making four different sounds at the same time.

The sound of BAMBOO, in the East, was produced by sonorous tubes (Koan Tse). There were three types of these, all of which had 12 tubes: deep, medium and acute sounds, corresponding to the Earth-Man-Sky triad). Later, they evolved towards a separation between yin and yang tubes that constituted two distinct and complementary instruments.

The sound of WOOD was represented by various instruments of which the Tchou – shaped like a bushel and named after Ursa Major – would initiate the concert in the same way as the Ursa indicates the beginning of the day or of the year with its position.

The sound of SILK was produced by stringed instruments known as Qin. These were five-string zithers that originally had a rounded top part representing the Sky and a flat front part representing the Earth. They had five strings to represent the five planets or the five elements.

The sound of EARTH was produced by instruments made of clay that gave a GONG – that is the tonic FA – as deep sound as well as four more tones (SHANG; JIAO; ZHI; Yi). In the West, the sound of METAL was rendered by twelve copper and tin bells that gave the twelve semitones of the LÜ. The sonorous STONES situated in the North-West were assigned to ceremonies that evoked the Sky, establishing a spiritual link thanks to the pure quality of their sounds.

Yoga

In Yoga, there exist 7 chakras corresponding to 7 vowels, 7 sounds or pitches, 7 overtones and 7 points of the human body. The author has carried out experimental research in the presence of overtones in Yoga. The result of his three-year study was presented at the International Congress of Yoga in France in 2002 .

According to his research, the fundamental of voice should be at 150Hz .

 

Number Name of Chakras Location Overtones Vowels Number of Hz

 

1 Mulâdhâra coccyx H n° 4 U 600Hz

2 Svâdhishthâna genitals H n° 5 O 750Hz

3 Manipûra navel H n° 6 Ö 900Hz

4 Anâhata heart H n° 8 A 1200Hz

5 Vishuddha throat H n° 9 E 1350Hz

6 Ajnâ between H n°10 AE 1500Hz

eyebrows

7 Sahasrâra top of head H n°12 I 1800Hz

Instruments

The lute in the shape of a Vietnamese moon – DAN NGUYET or DAN KIM – was conceived in a harmonious style and in a totally empirical way. Every part of this instrument can be divided into three parts: the two deep strings (0.96 mm) and the high string (0.72 mm) have a vibrating length of 72 cm.

The instrument measures 108 cm overall; the sound board 36 cm; the thickness of the resonance chamber is 6 cm. The bridge is 9 cm long and 3 cm high. The decorative part of the instrument, located opposite the bridge, measures 12 cm in length. The wooden pins measure 12 cm and there are 9 ring nuts measuring 3cm in width.

The Vietnamese monochord DAN DOC HUYEN (unique stringed instrument) or DAN BAU (gourd instrument) is the only musical instrument in the world using Pythagorean theory to create overtones by the division on harmonic knots of the unique steel string of the instrument into 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 equal parts corresponding to the series of overtones. (In fact, if the open string is tuned in C, the overtone 2 will be C an octave higher than the pitch of open string, 3 = G, 4=C 2nd octave higher, 5= E, 6=G, 7=Bb, 8= C 3rd octave higher.)

Chinese tradition has it that – over 5000 years ago – Emperor DU XI asked his lute maker to produce a zither. This imperial instrument was to be based on the relationship between the Sky and the Earth. It therefore had the length of three thuocs, six tâcs and one phân, so as to match the number 361 representing the 360 degrees of the circle plus the centre, that is unity and multitude. The height of the zither was eight tâcs and its bottom four tâcs, to match the eight half seasons and the four cardinal points or four seasons, that is space and time. Its thickness, two tâcs, bore the emblem of Sky-Earth. The twelve strings vibrated similarly to the twelve months of the year, while a thirteenth string represented the centre.

This story shows the domination of the Number and its application in Chinese thought.

Musical Notations

Around 1911, a musician playing the Chinese fiddle, called LIU Thien Hoa, adopted the cipher notation for writing musical scores proposed by Jean Jacques Rousseau in 1746, perfected by Pierre Galin (1786-1821) and later made popular by Aimé Paris and Emile Chevé (1804-1864). The number 1 corresponds to the root note – whatever the tonic (DO, RE, FA, SOL, LA) – and the five main degrees correspond to the five number (1,2,3,4,5). The 6 and 7 represent intervals.

The cipher notation also appears in Indonesian music: it is found in the musical scores used in the GAMELAN.

Numbers are found in the notation used for Tuvan and Mongolian throat singing. The harmonics are numbered according to frequencies starting from the root note. A ciphernotation was proposed to write musical scores for split-tone singing. Ted Levin and the author have used cipher notation to transcribe Tuvin and Mongolian folksongs.

 

Frequency Analysis Using a Sonagraph

The sonagraph, an instrument for measuring spectra, allows pushing split-tone singing beyond basic and experimental research. Since 1970, many people – including Emile Leipp, Gilles Léothaud, Trân Quang Hai, Hugo Zemp in France, Gunji Sumi in Japan, Ronald Walcott in the United States, Johan Sundberg in Sweden, Graziano Tisato in Italy, Werner Deutsch and Franz Födermayer in Austria – have utilised the sonagraph or similar types of instruments to increase the precision of the harmonics produced by split-tone singing thanks to hertzian spectroscopy.

An examination of sonagrams shows the diversity of styles in the split-tone singing of Tuvans, Mongolians, Tibetans and of the Xhosans in South Africa. It allows to establish a classification of styles, to identify the number of harmonics and better understand the how and why of vocal techniques – something that has so far been impossible. The sonagraph allowed Trân Quang Hai to carry out introspective experimental research in overtone singing (with one tonic and two independent partials or harmonics) as well as in “harmonic drone” with variation of the tonic – DO (harmonic 12), FA (harmonic 9), SOL (harmonic 8) and DO octave (harmonic 6 to create the same harmonic pitch). Other experiments by Trân Quang Hai that have produced interesting results are those on the realisation of different spectra starting from ascending and descending singing scale (normal voice, overtone voice with parallel harmonics, overtone singing with opposite moving harmonics between drone and harmonic melody). Basing himself on self-analysis, his research, whose originality lies in its experimental character, has led him to highlight the link between the harmonic drone and the tonic melody, which is the opposite of the initial principle of traditional overtone singing. Moreover, he has interwoven the two melodies (tonic and harmonic); explored overtone singing with one tonic and two independent partials or harmonics and highlighted the three harmonic zones on the basis of the same tonic sound.

Using the sonagraph and other medical systems of analysis (laryngoscopy, fibroscopy, stroboscopy, scanner), the author has been able to propose a new dimension of undertone study with which to develop undertones or sub-fundamentals by creating F-2 (an octave lower than the sung fundamental), F-3 (an octave + a fifth lower than the fundamental) or F-4 (2 octaves below the sung fundamental). This new aspect of research on undertones has attracted a number of researchers, namely Leonardo Fuks (Brazil), Johan Sunberg (Sweden), Masashi Yamada (Japan), Tran Quang Hai (France), Mark Van Tongeren (The Netherlands), and a few overtone singers from the Western world (Steve Sklar from the USA, Bernard Dubreuil from Canada).

This article is a brief introduction to the use of numbers in various areas of Asian music. It represents merely the beginning of a study that will continue in the future.

 

Recommended Reading

Amiot J M (1780) Mémoires sur la Musique des Chinois Tant Anciens Que Modernes, vol. VI de la collection, Mémoires Concernant les Chinois, Paris, 185pp

Deutsch W A, Födermayer F (1992) Zum Problem des zweistimmigen Sologesanges Mongolischer une Turk Völker, Von der Vielfalt Musikalischer Kultur, Festschrift für Josef Kuckerts (Wort und Musick 12), Verlag Ursula Müller-Speiser, Anif/Salzburg, Salzburg, pp 133–145

Gunji (1980) An Acoustical Consideration of Xöömij, Musical Voices of Asia, The Japan Foundation, Heibonsha Ltd, Tokyo, pp 135–141

Kunst J (1949) Music in Java, Its History, Its Theory and Its Technique, Second Edition, Translated from the Danish Original by Emil Van Loo, vol 1, 265 pp, vol 2, 175 pp, Amsterdam

Laloy L (1910) La Musique Chinoise, Editions Henri Laurens, Paris, 128 pp

Leipp E (1971) Considération Acoustique sur le Chant Diphonique, Bulletin du Groupe d’Acoustique Musicale, 58, Paris, pp 1–10

Leothaud G (1989) Considérations Acoustiques et Musicales Sur le Chant Diphonique, Le Chant Diphonique, Dossier, Institut de la Voix, Limoges, 1:17–43

Picard E (1991) La Musique Chinoise, Editions Minerve, Paris, 215 pp

Rousseau JJ (1979) Dissertation Sur la Musique, Ecrits Sur la Musique, Editions Stock, Paris

Sunberg J (1977) The Acoustics of the Singing Voice, in Scientific American 236, USA, pp.82–91

Tisato G (1990) Il Canto degli Armonici, Nuove Tecnologie e Documentazione Etnomusicologica,Culture Musicali, 15, 16, Rome

Tongeren M Van (2002) Overtone Singing / Physics and Metaphysics of Harmonics in East and West, 1st edition, Fusica Publishers, 1 accompanying CD, Amsterdam, 271 pp

Trân Quang Hai, Guilou D (1980) Original Research and Acoustical Analysis in Connection with the Xöömi Style of Biphonic Singing, Musical Voices of Asia, The Japan Foundation, Heibonsha Ltd, Tokio, pp 162–173

Trân Quang Hai, Zemp H (1991) Recherches Expérimentales Sur le Chant Diphonique, Cahiers de Musiques Traditionnelles : VOIX, Ateliers d’Ethnomusicologie/AIMP, Genève, 4:27–68

Trân Quang Hai (1995) Le Chant Diphonique: Description Historique, Styles, Aspect Acoustique et Spectral, EM, Annuario degli Archivi di Etnomusicologia dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma, 2:123–150

Trân Quang Hai (1995) Survey of Overtone Singing Style, EVTA (European Voice Teachers Association, Documentation 1994 (Atti di Congresso) Detmold, pp 49–62

Trân Quang Hai (2002) A la decouverte du chant diphonique , in G.Cornut (editor), Moyens d’investigation et pedagogie de la voix chantee, Symetrie (publishers), 1 accompanying CD-Rom, Lyon, pp 117–132

Walcott R (1974) The Chöömij of Mongolia – A Spectral Analysis of Overtone Singing, Selected Reports in Ethnomusicology 2 (1), UCLA, Los Angeles, pp 55–59

Zemp H, Trân Quang Hai (1991) Recherches Expérimentales Sur le Chant Diphonique (voir Trân Quang Hai, Zemp H)

 

 

Discography

This selected discography considers only cd.

Tuva

Shu-De. Voices from the Distant Steppe, Realworld CDRW 41, London, U.K., 1994

Tuva / Tuvinian Singers and Musicians, World Network 55.838, Frankfurt, Germany, 1993

Tuva – Echoes from the Spirit World, Pan Records PAN 2013 CD, Leiden, the Netherlands, 1992

Tuva: Voices From the Center of Asia, Smithsonian Folkways CD SF 40017, Washington, USA, 1990

Mongolia

Jargalant Altai/Xöömi and Other Vocal Instrumental Music From Mongolia, Pan Records PAN 2050CD, Ethnic Series, Leiden, Hollande, 1996

White Moon / Tsagaan Sar/ Traditional and Popular Music from Mongolia, Pan Records PAN 2010 CD, Leiden , The Netherlands, 1992

Mongolian Music , Hungaroton HCD 18013–14, collection UNESCO, Budapest, Hungary, 1990

Mongolie: Musique et Chants de Tradition Populaire, GREM G 7511, Paris, France, 1986

Siberia

Chant Epiques et Diphoniques: Asie Centrale, Sibérie, vol. 1, Maison des Cultures du Monde, W 260067, Paris, France, 1996

Uzlyau: Guttural Singing of the Peoples of the Sayan, Altai and Ural Mountains, Pan Records PAN 2019CD, Leiden, Hollande, 1993

Vietnam

Tieng Dan Bâu / Thanh Tâm , (The Sound of the Monochord / Thanh Tâm), Dihavina, Hanoi, Vietnam, 1999

Vietnam : Dreams and Reality / Trân Quang Hai & Bach Yên, Playasound PS 65020, Paris, France, 1988

 

Filmography

Le Chant des Harmoniques (English Version : The Song of Harmonics, 16 mm, 38 minutes. Authors : Trân Quang Hai and Hugo Zemp. Realisation: Hugo Zemp. Co-production CNRS Audiovisuel et Societé Française d’Ethnomusicologie, 1989. Distribution : CNRS Audiovisuel, 1 Place Aristide Briand, F–92195 Meudon, France

 

TRAN QUANG HAI : Method of Learning Overtone Singing KHOOMEI

Standard

 

 

Method of Learning Overtone Singing KHOOMEI

 

Tran Quang Hai (france)Image

 

A considerable amount of research has been for the last 40 years carried out throughout the world into this vocal phenomenon, particularly as it is practised in Mongolia and Tuva.

In Mongolia and Tuva, thee word KHOOMEI means pharynx, throat, and KHOOMEILAKH is the technique of producing vocal harmonics. This most unusual technique, which takes the human voices to its limits, entails the production of two sounds simultaneously: a drone or fundamental that is rich in harmonics and reminiscent of the jew’s harp (the reason why this technique is also known as “jew’s harp voice”). This technique is strenuous for the performer according to Mongolian singers. The performer must tauten his muscles and swell his cheeks. Different sounds are obtained by varying the air pressure across the vocal folds, the volume of the mouth cavity, and tongue placement. In this way, variable pitch harmonics are produced to form the melody. The fundamental is produced in the back of the throat, passing through the mouth, and exciting throught the slightly parted lips and to a lesser extent through the nose.

Research can be done in many ways: by means of obervation of native performers after on or more visits to the country concerned, or by means of practising instruments and vocal training aimed at a better understanding of the musical structure employed by the population being studied. My own research does not belong to either of these two categories since I have never been to Monglia and I have never learned the KHOOMEI style (Overtone singing) from a Mongolian teacher. What I am going to describe for you here is the result of my own experiments which will enable anyone to produce two simultaneous sounds similar to Mongolian and Tuvin overtone singing.

DEFINITION

The manner in which the Mongolian and Tuvin word is transcribed is by no means not uniform: HO-MI, HÖ-MI (Vargyas, 1968), KHOMEI, KHÖÖMII  (Bosson, 1964: 11), CHÖÖMEJ (Aksenov 1973: 12), CHÖÖMIJ (Vietze 1969: 15-16), XÖÖMIJ (Hamayon 1973; Tran Quang Hai 1980: 162).

French researchers have used other terms to describe this peculiar vocal technique such as CHANT DIPHONIQUE or BIPHONIQUE (Leipp 1971), Tran Quang Hai 1974, Gilles Leothaud 1989, VOIX GUIMBARDE, VOIX DEDOUBLEE (Helffer 1973, Hamayon 1973), and CHANT DIPHONIQUE SOLO (Marcel-Dubois 1979). Several terms exist in English such as SPLIT-TONE SINGING, THROAT SINGING, OVERTONE SINGING, and HARMONIC SINGING. In German, it is called ZWEISTIMMIGEN SOLOGESANG. In Italian, it is called CANTO DIFONICO ou CANTO DIPLOFONICO .

For convenience, I have employed the term “OVERTONE SINGING” to describe a style of singing performed by a single person producing simultaneously a continuous drone and another sound at a higher pitch issueing from a series of partials or harmonics resembling the sound of the flute.

HOW DID I COME TO THE OVERTONE SINGING

In 1970, at the Department of Ethnomusicology (Musee de l’Homme), Prof. Roberte Hamayon let me listen to her recordings made in Mongolia in 1967 and 1969. I was surprised by the extraordinary and unique nature of this vocal technique.

For several months, I carried out bibliographical research into articles concerned with this style of singing with the aim of obtaining information on the practice of overtone singing, but received little satisfaction.

Explanations of a merely theoretical and sometimes ambiguous nature did nothing so much as to create and increase the confusion with which my research was surrounded. In spite of my complete ignorance of the training methods for overtone singing practised by the Mongolians, the Tuvins and other Siberian peoples, I was not in the least discouraged by thé negative results at the beginning of my studies after even several months of effort.

I worked entirely alone groping my way through the dark for two whole years, listening frequently to the recordings made by Roberte Hamayon stored at the Sound Archives of the Department of Ethnomusicology of the Musee de l’Homme. My efforts were however to no avail. Despite my knowledge of Jew’s Harp technique, the initial work was both difficult and discouraging.

I also tried to whistle while producing a low sound as a drone. However, checking on a sonagraph showing that this was not similar to the Mongolian Xöömij technique. At the end of 1972, I got to the state that I was still a long way from my goal.

Then, one day in November 1973, in order to calm my nerves in the appalling traffic congestion of Paris, I happened to make my vocal folds vibrate in the pharynx with my mouth half open and while reciting the alphabet. When I arrived at the letter L , and the tip of my tongue was about to touch the top of the palate, I suddenly heard a pure harmonic tone, clear and powerful. I repeated the operation several times and each time, I obtained the same result; I then tried to modify the position of the tongue in relation to the roof of the mouth while maintaining the low fundamental. A series of partials resonated in disorder in my ears.

At the beginning, I got the harmonics of a perfect chord. Slowly, after a week of intensive training, by changing the fundamental tone upwards and downwards, I discovered by myself the mystery of the overtone singing style which appeared to be near to that practised by the Mongolians and the Tuvins.

ABOUT MY OVERTONE TRAINING METHOD

After two months of “research” and numberless experiments of all kinds, I succeeded in creating a short overtone melody. Here is my “recipe” to help anyone to get this first step of overtone singing.

1. Intensify the vocal production with the throat voice

2. Pronounce the 2 vowels I  and U linked together and repeat it several times in one breath.

3. Make a nasal sound and tip of the tongue in a down position

4. In this way, it is possible to obtain both the drone and the upper harmonic line in descending and ascending order.

This is the first technique what I call “technique of one mouth cavity”. this one is easy to do and anyone can produce the effect of 2 voices in one throat after one minute of practice.

The second “recipe” will help you to produce clear overtones in the Mongolian and Tuvin styles. I call it “technique of two mouth cavities”

1. Emit a throat sound of the vowel E`  as long as you can.

2. Pronounce the letter L . Maintain the position with the tip of the tougue touching the roof of the palate. In this position, the mouth is divided into 2 cavities, one at the back and one at the front.

3. Say “LAANG” for the first exercice, and say “LONG ” for the second excercice. When you succeed in making the harmonics come out of the mouth, you keep the tip of the tongue to the palate while you sing , and at the same time you modify the mouth cavity by saying from A to O and from O to A several times in one breath.

4. Make a nasal sound

5. In this way, you can produce clearly thé drone and a series of harmonics in the Mongolian style.

For the beginners, the harmonics of the perfect chord (C, E, G,C) are easy to obtain. However, a considerable amount of hard work is necessary especially to obtain a pentatonic anhemitonic scale. Each person has his favourite note or pitch which enables him to produce a wide range of partials. This favourite fundamental varies according to the tonal quality of the singer’s voice.

NEW EXPERIMENTS ABOUT OVERTONE SINGING

Other experiments which I have been carrying out indicate that it is possible to obtain two simultaneous sounds in three different ways:

1. In the first method, the tongue is either flat or slightly curved without actually at any stage touching the roof of the mouth, and only the mouth and the lips move. Through such varieties of the mouth cavity, this time divided into a single cavity, it is possible to hear the partials but faintly and the highest harmonics cannot reach beyond 1200Hz.

2. In the second method, the basic technique described above is used. However, instead of keeping the mouth half open, it is kept almost shut with the lips pulled back and very tight. To make the partials audible, the position of the lips si varied at the same time as that of the tongue. The partials are very clear and distinctive, butthe technique is rather exhausting. The highest harmonics arrive at the zone of 2600 Hz.

3. In the third method, thé tongue si down, and the teeth bite the tongue while singing the vowels U and I with the contraction of  muscles at the abdomen and the throat. The hightest harmonics can be heard at thed zone of 4200Hz

Other new experiments I have tried to show that I can maintain thé same selective harmonic level which is used as a drone while changing the pitch of fundamentals (e.g. C, F, G, C). I have succeeded in creating the fundamental line and the harmonic line in the opposite direction. In other words, I arrive to sing the fundamental line in ascending order, and at the same time, I create the harmonic line in descending order. This harmonic effect is quite unusual and exceptional.

In 1989, Dr. Hugo Zemp and I made a film called “THE SONG OF HARMONICS” showing X-ray and spectrographical pictures in real time ans synchronous sound about the overtone singing practised in different countries. This film produced by the CNRS – Audiovisual and thé French Society for Ethnomusicology, obtained 2 prizes (Grand Prize and Best Music Prize) at the International Festival of Visual Anthropological Film in Estonia in October 1990, a prize (Special Prize for Research) at the International Festival of Scientific Film in Palaiseau (France) in November 1990, and a Grand Prize of the 2nd International Festival of Scientific Film in Montreal (Canada) in 1991.

In Western contemporary music, groups of singers have also succeeded in emitting two voices at the same time, and vocal pieces have been created in the context of avant garde music and of electro-acoustical music. David Hykes with his Harmonic Choir, created in New York in 1975, use the overtones to link with the cosmic universe in his compositions. Demetrio Stratos (1945-1979) used the overtones to create the relationship between voice and subconscious. In my compositions for improvized music, I recommend the investigation of overtones to enrich the world of sound. Other overtone singers like Michael Vetter, Christian Bollmann, Michael Reimann from Germany, Roberto Laneri from Italy, Rollin Rachele from the Netherlands, Josephine Truman from Australia, Les Voix Diphoniques , Thomas Clements, Iegor Reznikoff, Tamia  from France have also used thé overtones in their works.

Overtone singing is also practised by a number of ethnic groups (Oirat, Khakass, Gorno-Altai, Bashkir, Tuvin, Kalmuk) of the republics of Russia bordering on Mongolia. In Rajasthan (India), in Taiwan among the Bunun ethnic group, in Tibet among the monks belonging to the Gyuto and Gyume monasteries, in South Africa among the Xhosa population, the practice of overtone singing style is known throughout recordings.

I hope that after this short introduction to the overtone world, you will have an idea concerning the existence of the overtones in different areas in the world, the possibility of obtaining the know how of singing overtones.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Bibliographie

 

AKSENOV, A.N. 1973: “Tuvin Folk Music”, Journal of the Society for Asian    Music 4(2):7-18, New York.

HAMAYON, R. 1980: “Mongol Music”, New Grove’s Dictionary of Music         and Musicians 12: 482-485, Stanley Sadie (éd), MacMillan Publishers,Londres.

LANERI, R. 1983: “Vocal Techniques of Overtone Production”,NPCA   Quarterly Journal 12(2-3): 26-30.

LEIPP, E. 1971: “Considération acoustique sur le chant diphonique”, Bulletin du Groupe d’Acoustique Musicale 58: 1-10, Paris..

LEOTHAUD, G. 1989: “Considérations acoustiques et musicales sur le chant diphonique”, Le chant diphonique, dossier n° 1: 17-43, Institut de la Voix, Limoges.

TRAN QUANG HAI & GUILOU, D. 1980: “Original Research and Acoustical Analysis in Connection with the Xöömij Style of Biphonic Singing”, Musical Voices of Asia : 162-173, The Japan Foundation (éd), Heibonsha Ltd, Tokyo.

TRAN QUANG HAI & ZEMP,Hugo. 1991: “Recherches expérimentales sur le chant diphonique”, Cahiers de Musiques traditionnelles : VOIX      vol.4: 27-68, Ateliers d’ethnomusicologie /AIMP, Genève.

TRAN QUANG HAI, 1975: “Technique de la voix chantée mongole: xöömij”,    Bulletin du CEMO (14 & 15): 32-36, Paris.

TRAN QUANG HAI, 1983: “Note à propos du chant diphonique mongol”, Catalogue de l’exposition Mongolie-Mongolie, Musée de l’Homme (éd), Paris.

TRAN QUANG HAI, 1989: “Réalisation du chant diphonique”, dossier n°1 Le Chant diphonique : 15-16, Institut de la Voix, Limoges.

TRAN QUANG HAI, 1990: “Les Musiques vocales”, L’Esprit des Voix, C.Alès (éd), La Pensée Sauvage: 43-52, Grenoble.

TRAN QUANG HAI, 1991: “New Experimental About the Overtone Singing Style”, (Nouvelles Expérimentations sur le chant diphonique), Nouvelles Voies de la Voix, 1ère partie, Bulletin d’adiophonologie 7(5&6): 607-618, Besançon.

TRAN QUANG HAI, 1995: ” Le chant diphonique: description, historique, styles, aspect acoustique et spectral”, EM, ANnuario degli Archivi di Etnomusicologia dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, 2:123-150, Rome.

TRAN QUANG HAI, 1995: “Survey of overtone singing style”, EVTA   (European Voice Teachers Association, Dokumentation 1994             (actes du congrès): 49-62, Detmold.

 

                                       DISCOGRAPHY

TUVA

Tuva: Voices from the Center of Asia ,Smithsonian Folkways CD SF 40017, Washington, USA, 1990.

Tuva: Voices from the Land of the Eagles , Pan Records, PAN 2005 CD, Leiden Hollande, 1991.

Tuva- Echoes from the Spirit World  , Pan Records, PAN 2013CD, Leiden, Hollande, 1992.

Musiques Traditionnelles d’Asie centrale/ Chants harmoniques Touvas , Silex Y 225222, Paris, France, 1995.

Shu-de /  Kongurei/ Voices from Tuva , New Tone NT6745, (ed) Robi Droli, San Germano, Italie, 1996.

MONGOLIA

Mongolie: Musique et Chants de tradition populaire , GREM G 7511, Paris, France, 1986.

Mongolie : Musique vocale et instrumentale ,Maison des Cultures du Monde,W260009, collection INEDIT, Paris, France, 1989.

Mongolian Music, Hungaroton, HCD 18013-14, collection UNESCO, Budapest, Hongrie, 1990.

White Moon, traditional and popular music from Mongolia , Pan Records, PAN 2010CD, Leiden, Hollande, 1992.

Folk Music from Mongolia / Karakorum , Hamburgisches Museum für Völkerkunde, Hambourg, Allemagne, 1993.

Vocal & Instrumental of Mongolia , Topic, World Series TSCD909, Londres, Grande Bretagne, 1994.

Jargalant Altai/-Xöömii and other vocal and instrumental music from Mongolia , Pan Records PAN 2050CD, Ethnic Series, Leiden, Hollande, 1996

SIBERIA

Uzlyau :Guttural singing of the Peoples of the Sayan, Altai and Ural Mountains , Pan Records PAN 2019CD, Leiden, Hollande, 1993.

Chant épiques et diphoniques :Asie centrale, Sibérie, vol 1, Maison des Cultures du Monde, W 260067, Paris, France, 1996.

TIBET

The Gyuto Monks: Tibetan Tantric  Choir , Windham Hill Records WD-2001, Stanford, Californie, USA, 1987.

The Gyuto Monks: Freedom Chants from the Roof of the World , RYKODISC RCD 20113, Salem, Maryland, USA, 1989.

Tibet: The Heart of Dharma/ Buddha’s Teachings and the Music They Inspired ,Ellipsis Arts 4050, New York, USA, 1996.

EMMANUEL DESLOUIS: Entretien avec Tran Quang Hai, ethnomusicologue / Touva: un chant au centre de l’Asie centrale

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Entretien avec Tran Quang Hai, ethnomusicologue

Touva : un chant au centre de l’Asie centrale

lundi 23 mai 2005 par Emmanuel Deslouis

Ethnomusicologue, multi-instrumentiste, Tran Quang Hai, nous fait découvrir un des plus étonnants types de chant du monde : le chant de gorges des Touvas.

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Tran Quang Hai devant un spectre de chant diphonique
© E. Deslouis

Eurasie : Qui sont les touvas ?

Tran Quang Hai : Ce sont des nomades d’origine turco-mongole qui vivent au centre de l’Asie centrale dans la république de Touva. Un minuscule territoire de 300 000 habitants (200 000 touvas et 100 000 Russes). Leur territoire est « emmuré » entre des montagnes : Sayan au nord et à l’est, l’Altaï au sud et à l’ouest.

Eurasie : Cela les a-t-il préservé des autres peuples ?

Tran Quang Hai : Pas vraiment ! Au IIe siècle av. J.C., les Huns ont foulé leur sol. Au début de l’ère chrétienne, les tribus touva subissaient l’influence politique des Janbiman, puis celle des Gogann. Du VI au VIIe siècle, leur territoire faisait partie d’un kaganat türke, puis ougrien les deux siècles suivants. Du IX au XIIe siècle, Touva fut dominé par un ancien état kirghize. Avant de tomber sous le joug de seigneurs mongols jusqu’au XVIe. Les deux siècles suivants, il fut rattaché aux états Attynkhan et Dzungar. Du XVIII jusqu’au début du XXe siècle, il passa sous la coupe de l’empire chinois des Mandchous…

Eurasie : Enfin !

Tran Quang Hai : Et ce n’est pas fini ! Touva a même été un état indépendant de 1921 à 1944, sous la protection de l’URSS, avant d’être absorbé dans l’Union jusqu’en 1991. Date à laquelle elle est devenue une république russe.

Eurasie : Quelle histoire !

Tran Quang Hai : Comme vous dîtes ! Ce fut un véritable carrefour de cultures, de religions et de peuples. Et pourtant, il en a émergé des éléments culturels uniques, comme le chant de gorge aussi appelé chant diphonique.

Eurasie : Quand a-t-on vu apparaître les premiers chanteurs de gorge à Touva ?

Tran Quang Hai : Les premiers chanteurs connus sont apparus au milieu du XIXe siècle. Mais le développement du chant diphonique ne date que des années 1930. En 1934, des chercheurs russes ont enregistré des disques 78 tours de ce type de chant, ce qui a permis à un musicologue Aksenov de l’étudier en profondeur et de publier en 1964, soit 30 ans plus tard, le premier article scientifique de qualité sur le chant diphonique.

Eurasie : Qu’appelez-vous le chant diphonique ?

Tran Quang Hai : C’est un chant qui se caractérise par l’émission de deux sons simultanément : l’un est appelé le son fondamental ou bourdon, l’autre est appelé le son harmonique. Le premier son est tenu à la même hauteur durant tout le chant, tandis que le second peut varier pour créer une mélodie. Du point de vue du son, on retrouve des similitudes avec une personne qui joue de la guimbarde : avec un son grave constant et une mélodie plus aigue.

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Le spectre de la voix
Voici le spectre d’un chant diphonique. On distingue clairement le son fondamental et l’harmonique (les deux lignes bleues).

Eurasie : Ce chant crée t-il des harmoniques ?

Tran Quang Hai : Non. En fait, c’est le mariage de toutes les harmoniques qui produit le timbre de notre voix. Mais on n’entend qu’un seul son. Dans le cas du chant diphonique, c’est une technique qui permet de dissocier clairement deux sons. Le fameux fondamental et un groupe de sons harmoniques qu’on appelle le formant.

Eurasie : Est-ce compliqué de produire ce type de sons ?

Tran Quang Hai : Reproduire ces sons n’est pas vraiment difficile. Mais les maîtriser et en faire un chant de qualité nécessite des décennies de travail !

Eurasie : Pourriez-vous nous décrire ces techniques ?

Tran Quang Hai : J’ai découvert plusieurs méthodes. La première consiste à laisser la langue à plat et à ne bouger que la bouche et les lèvres. En prononçant comme collées entre elles les deux voyelles U et I, comme si l’on disait OUI. On parvient à entendre une faible mélodie harmonique.

Eurasie : la seconde méthode permet-elle de produire des harmoniques plus distinctes ?

Tran Quang Hai : Oui. Il faut tout d’abord chanter avec la voix de gorge la syllabe OU. Puis prononcer la lettre L. Dès que la pointe de la langue touche le palais, il faut la conserver dans cette position. Ensuite, il faut prononcer la voyelle U, avec la langue toujours collée au palais. Essayer de nasaliser les sons, c’est à dire les prononcer comme en parlant du nez. Et prononcer les sons U et I de manière liée puis alternée. Grâce à cette méthode, on obtient le bourdon et les harmoniques. En variant la position des lèvres ou de la langue, on arrive à moduler la mélodie.

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Tran Quang Hai lors d’un stage de chant diphonique
© tran quang hai

Eurasie : Comment avez-vous réussi à identifier le rôle de la bouche et de la langue dans ce chant ?

Tran Quang Hai : En fait, j’ai joué le cobaye. Je me suis soumis aux rayons X tout en chantant, ce qui a permis d’étudier scientifiquement cette technique. En me lançant en premier dans ce domaine expérimental, j’ai permis de « démocratiser » le chant de gorge.

Eurasie : Cela vous a-t-il rapproché des chanteurs de la Touva ?

Tran Quang Hai : Oui. En 1981-1982, nous avons organisé à Touva des rencontres de chanteurs de Sibérie. Et le premier festival de chant diphonique a été organisé à Touva en 1991. Et suprême honneur, en 1995, j’ai été invité comme président du jury du festival de chant de gorges. C’est une reconnaissance de mon travail de chanteur, de compositeur et de chercheur dans le domaine du chant diphonique.

Eurasie : Le chant diphonique fait-il des émules ?

Tran Quang Hai : Depuis que j’ai été président du jury, il y a eu un déferlement de groupes de Touva. Maintenant, même les femmes sont autorisées à chanter. Les problèmes économiques de ce pays n’y sont pas étrangers, si cela peut leur permettre de s’en sortir économiquement. Il y a 30 ans, il n’y avait qu’une dizaine de chanteurs diphoniques. Aujourd’hui, il y en a des milliers ! Cela explose car il y a de la demande en Occident, on peut remplir des salles avec des groupes Touva.

Eurasie : Ce chant est-il figé ou évolue t-il ?

Tran Quang Hai : Il y a de la compétition donc il évolue. Aujourd’hui les chanteurs ont développé de nouvelles techniques de chant, il y a une véritable émulation. D’ailleurs, de jeunes chanteurs utilisent le chant diphonique dans la musique pop, dans le hip hop, et même certains groupes de hard rock.

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Le DVD « Le chant diphonique »

Eurasie : Existe t-il un tel chant dans d’autres parties du monde ?

Tran Quang Hai : Oui. Même si on trouve le plus grand nombre de chanteurs diphoniques autour de la chaîne de l’Altaï dans les populations de Mongols, Touvas, Khakhash, Bachkirs. Ainsi, on en trouve au Rajastan en Inde, chez Xhosas en Afrique du Sud. Ces derniers ont copié le bruit que fait un coléoptère placé devant la bouche. Il y a aussi les moines tibétains des monastères Gyütö et Gyüme. Ils utilisaient une technique particulièrement violente pour se casser les cordes vocales et obtenir cette voix caverneuse qui les caractérise : ils mangeaient de la neige et se faisaient vomir, plusieurs heures par jour. À ce régime, les cordes vocales se gonflaient, s’enflammaient avant d’être cassées à vie.

Eurasie : Comment s’initier à ce domaine de chant ?

Tran Quang Hai : En suivant des cours ou des stages. Je peux aussi vous conseiller de vous inspirer de mon DVD « Le chant diphonique » édité par le CRDP de La Réunion, où je détaille les techniques de chants, et où l’on voit des chanteurs diphoniques du groupe Huun Huur Tu, faire une démonstration de ce chant.

Propos recueillis par Emmanuel Deslouis

Emmanuel Deslouis

http://www.eurasie.net/webzine/spip.php?article642