Throat singing refers to several vocal practices found in different cultures around the world.The most distinctive feature of such vocal practices is to be associated to some type of guttural voice, that contrasts with the most common types of voices employed in singing, which are usually represented by chest (modal) and head (light, or falsetto) registers. Also, throat singing is often described as producing the sensation of more than one pitch at a time, i.e., the listener perceives two or more distinct musical notes, while the singer is producing a single vocalization.
Throat singing, therefore, consists of a wide range of singing techniques that originally belong to particular cultures and seem to share some sounding characteristics that make them especially noticeable by other cultures and users of mainstream singing styles.The term originates from the translation of the Tuvan/Mongolian word Xhöömei/Xhöömi, that literally means throat, guttural. Ethnic groups from Russia, Mongolia, Japan, South Africa, Canada, Italy, China and India, among others, accept and normally employ the term throat singing to describe their special way of producing voice and song.
The term throat singing is obviously not precise, because any singing technique involves the sound generation in the "throat", i.e., the voice produced at the level of the larynx, which includes the vocal folds and other structures.Therefore it would be, in principle, admissible to refer to classical operatic singing or pop singing as "throat singing" for instance. However, the term throat is not adopted by the official terminology of anatomy (Terminologia Anatomica) and is not technically associated with most of the singing techniques. Many authors, performers, coaches and listeners associate throat singing to overtone singing. Throat singing and overtone singing are certainly not synonyms, contrary to what is innacurately indicated by many dictionaries (e.g. , in the definition by Britannica) but, in some cases, both aspects may be clearly present, such as in the khargyraa technique from Tuva, with a very deep, tense voice, and rich overtone enhancements and embellishments.
Furthermore, "singing with the throat" may be regarded as a demeaning expression to some singers, because it may imply that the singer is using a high level of effort, resulting in a rather forced or non-suitable voice. The word "throaty" is usually associated to a rough, raspy, breathy or hoarse voice. In spite of being a term frequently used in the literature starting in the 1960's, some contemporary scholars tend to avoid the use of throat singing as a general term.
There is a consistent and enthusiastic international reception for concerts and workshops given by musical groups belonging to the several cultures that incorporate throat singing . Besides the traditional ethnic performances, throat singing is also cultivated and explored by numerous musicians belonging to contemporary, rock, new-age, pop and independent movements. Throat singing listening and emition is experimentally employed in music therapy for Huntington's disease, for instance.The most relevant contemporary and rock musician using throat singing techniques in the 20th century was the italian-greek artist Demetrio Stratos.
Throat singing techniques may be classified under (1) an ethnomusicological approach: considering the various cultural aspects, the association to rituals, religious practices, storytelling, labor songs, vocal games, and other contexts; (2) a musical approach: considering their artistic use, the basic acoustical principles, and the physiological and mechanical procedures to learn, train and produce them.
The most commonly referred types of throat singing techniques, present in musicological and ethnomusicological texts, are generally associated with ancient cultures. Some of them, as the Khöömei from Mongolia, Tuva and China, and the Canto Tenore from Sardinia, are aknowledged by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage.
In musically related terms, throat singing refers among others, to the following specific techniques:
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The human voice consists of sound made by a human being using the vocal tract, including talking, singing, laughing, crying, screaming, shouting, or yelling. The human voice frequency is specifically a part of human sound production in which the vocal folds are the primary sound source.
An overtone is any frequency greater than the fundamental frequency of a sound. In other words, overtones are all pitches higher than the lowest pitch within an individual sound; the fundamental is the lowest pitch. While the fundamental is usually heard most prominently, overtones are actually present in any pitch except a true sine wave. The relative volume or amplitude of various overtone partials is one of the key identifying features of timbre, or the individual characteristic of a sound.
Overtone singing – also known as overtone chanting, harmonic singing, polyphonic overtone singing, and diphonic singing – is a set of singing techniques in which the vocalist manipulates the resonances of the vocal tract, in order to arouse the perception of additional, separate notes beyond the fundamental frequency being produced.
Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice. A person who sings is called a singer or vocalist. Singers perform music that can be sung with or without accompaniment by musical instruments. Singing is often done in an ensemble of musicians, such as a choir of singers or a band of instrumentalists. Singers may perform as soloists or accompanied by anything from a single instrument up to a symphony orchestra or big band. Different singing styles include art music such as opera and Chinese opera, Indian music and religious music styles such as gospel, traditional music styles, world music, jazz, blues, ghazal and popular music styles such as pop, rock and electronic dance music.
The Tuvans are a Turkic indigenous people of Siberia who live in Russia (Tuva), Mongolia, and China. They speak Tuvan, a Siberian Turkic language. They are also regarded in Mongolia as one of the Uriankhai peoples.
Paul Jerrod Pena was an American singer, songwriter and guitarist of Cape Verdean descent.
Huun-Huur-Tu are a music group from Tuva, a Russian federative republic situated on the Mongolia–Russia border. Their music includes throat singing, in which the singers sing both a note and its overtones, thus producing two or three notes simultaneously. The overtone may sound like a flute, whistle or bird, but is solely a product of the human voice.
Sainkho Namtchylak is a singer originally from Tuva, an autonomous republic in the Russian Federation just north of Mongolia. She is known for her Tuvan throat singing or Khöömei.
Tuva or Tyva, officially the Tyva Republic, is a federal subject of Russia.
Tyva Kyzy is an all-female folk ensemble performing Tuvan throat-singing, under the direction of Choduraa Tumat. It is the first and only women's group in Tuva that performs all styles of Tuvan throat-singing.
The angular spectrum method is a technique for modeling the propagation of a wave field. This technique involves expanding a complex wave field into a summation of infinite number of plane waves. Its mathematical origins lie in the field of Fourier optics but it has been applied extensively in the field of ultrasound. The technique can predict an acoustic pressure field distribution over a plane, based upon knowledge of the pressure field distribution at a parallel plane. Predictions in both the forward and backward propagation directions are possible.
The vestibular fold is one of two thick folds of mucous membrane, each enclosing a narrow band of fibrous tissue, the vestibular ligament, which is attached in front to the angle of the thyroid cartilage immediately below the attachment of the epiglottis, and behind to the antero-lateral surface of the arytenoid cartilage, a short distance above the vocal process.
Tuvan throat singing, which main technique is known as khoomei, includes a type of overtone singing practiced by people in Tuva, Mongolia, and Siberia. In 2009, it was included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO. The term hömey / kömey means throat and larynx in different Turkic languages. That could be borrowed from Mongolian khooloi, which means throat as well, driven from Proto-Mongolian word *koɣul-aj.
Timbral listening is the process of actively listening to the timbral characteristics of sound.
Donald Duck talk, formally called buccal speech, is an alaryngeal form of vocalization which uses the inner cheek to produce sound rather than the larynx. The speech is most closely associated with the Disney cartoon character Donald Duck whose voice was created by Clarence Nash, who performed it from 1934 to 1984.
Josephine Antoinette Estill, known as Jo Estill, was an American singer, singing voice specialist and voice researcher. Estill is best known for her research and the development of Estill Voice Training, a programme for developing vocal skills based on deconstructing the process of vocal production into control of specific structures in the vocal mechanism.
Estill Voice Training is a programme for developing vocal skills based on analysing the process of vocal production into control of specific structures in the vocal mechanism. By acquiring the ability to consciously move each structure the potential for controlled change of voice quality is increased.
Anna-Maria Hefele is a German overtone singer. Hefele is from Grafing near Munich.
Okna Tsahan Zam is a Kalmyk Mongol folk singer, known for his throat singing and as a performer of the Kalmyk national epic Jangar.