Throat Singing : its origin and Mechanisms


Throat Singing
It’s origin and Mechanisms

 

Musical art of the Tuvans, people inhabiting the western Sayans in the Upper Enisey, is notable for its big originality.

The Tuvan singing presents a special interest. The peculiarity of the art of the Tuvan musicians lies in the fact that the singer simultaneously extracts by voice, two or even three sounds. The solo two/three-voice singing emerges thanks to the simultaneous sounding of the fundamental which has a gutteral timbre colouring and its upper overtones which are caught and amplified by the head resonator. For all this the fundamental performs the function of the bass pedal and the upper subsounds also carefully draw a crystal pure melody on natural overtones in a high register. Sometimes a special additional subsound joins the lower sound. In such cases this produces the effect of the solo three-voice singing.

There exist a number of styles of the Tuvan throat-singing, sometimes a singer can perform several styles. The styles differ by the pitch of the sound extraction and timbre peculiarities of the phonation connected with it. Each style has its own distinctive expressive properties.

The highest, brightest style is ‘sygyt’ in which the highest register of the voice is used. The head subsounds have a singing ‘glass’ timbre shade.

Songs in the ‘khoomei’ style sound somewhat softer. The timbres in the style are slightly muffled.

Singing in the ‘borbannadyr’ style attracts by its velvet sound. The bass pedal in the middle register has an additional subsound affecting the quint overtone over an octave, as a result of that, there appears a peculiar three-voice singing.

Usually the performing of the melody with corresponding words foregoes an inclusion of the head subsounds on the bass pedal. There are a lot of different songs that can be performed in each style.

In a number of cases, the throat singing can be accompanied by an instrument, either the stringed pizzicato – doshpuluur or the stringed bow – igil, byzaanchy.

In every-day life the throat singing songs are usually performed while a herder, watching a flock of sheep, is having a rest, the throat-singing in the mountains can be heard far away. According to a singer he is sending greetings with his song to his people who are staying in a yurt far away from the pasture.

From: Liner notes for the LP  “Pesni I Instrumentalie Melodii Tuvi”
Melodiya D030773-74, 1969
Recorded by Vyacheslav Shchurov.
(Translation from Russian, supplied by
 Bernard Kleikamp, Pan Records).
http://www.khoomei-shaman.com/throat-singing_e.html

 

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