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Tuvan Throat Singing - Essay Example

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Tuvan Throat Singing

Tuvan throat singing is done by individuals to mimic the sounds of nature, rivers and animals. One of the most important ways Tuvans could connect with nature was through music. Traditionally Tuvan music leaves open spaces in which nature can come in and add itself to the conversations.
Shamans traditionally used music to call upon spirits, ancestors and connect with natural surrounds. Shepherds used music to call their herds and imitate galloping horses. Certain songs were performed for enjoyment and other music created while working.
Tuvan singing, also known as Overtone or "throat" singing is unique to this region of Tuva and Mongolia. Simply put it is the harmonized sounds that they are able to produce from deep within their throats. Tuvan singers simultaneously use two or even three voices extracted from one singer.
Overtone singing uses low, suspended grumbles with guttural timbre colouring coupled with its upper overtones that sound like high-pitched whistles. These overtones are caught and amplified by the head resonator. In some cases a special additional sub sound joins the lower sound producing the effect of solo three-voice singing. These diaphonics, emitting two or more overtones together, are used to evoke spirits or imitate sounds found in nature.
There exist a number of Tuvan overtone-singing styles. ...
The styles differ by pitch and timbre. Each style has its own distinctive expressive properties.
Khoomei means all throat-singing and encompasses all styles. It can refer to the pressure one feels when throat-singing and also to chest resonance. This is not apparent when listening to recordings but only obvious when listening in person.
Not only is khoomei a generic name but it is also a particular style. It is a soft-sounding style, with clear and diffused-sounding harmonics. The timbres are slightly muffled and there are two or more notes clearly audible.
Kargyraa is a style the features intense croaking tones, very rich in harmonics. They are usually performed low in the singer's range. There are two major styles of Kargyraa, mountain (dag) and Steppe (xovu).
Kargyraa is unique in that nothing feels like singing it. The description used is "a mouthful of sound". This style uses dual sound sources, using both the vocal and ventricular folds in the larynx.
This style is the one Tuvan style that is most closely linked to vowel sounds. The mouth varies from a nearly closed "O" to an open one. However unlike most other singing there is no correlation between the vowel and the pitch.
Mountain kargyraa is usually lower in pitch than Steppe. It can often include nasal effects. It features a strong low-chest resonance and not a lot of throat tension.
Steppe Kangyraa is the opposite and features more throat tension and less chest resonance. It is usually sung at higher pitches and has a raspier sound.
Sygyt is the highest and brightest style which uses the highest register of the voice. This can be used to perform complex and distinct melodies, with a tone similar to a flute. The flute or shoor was originally played by the shaman to attract spirits for ...Show more


Tuvan throat singing and Swiss yodelling are two forms of extreme vocalization. However the origins and vocal technique of these two distinct singing methods are quite different. The differences and few similarities show how two such distinct singing styles evolved from two very different cultures.
Author : kennethkunze
Tuvan Throat Singing essay example
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