Music / Singing

Overtone singing

On Sunday, I found a video on the internet, which two men sang the Dutch National Anthem, in overtones!  I was blown away by is, it’s so fascinating to hear the high whistling tones appear over the low base note.


Of course, now I wanted more. I started surfing YouTube, looking for more examples and tutorials. I found a couple, in one of which a man demonstrates seven techniques of overtone singing, some using naturally sung base notes, some using throat singing (using the false vocal folds). In one technique, he even uses his lips to add a third note to the mix!


Now I wanted to learn. Today I had some time, and I tried overtone singing myself… and succeeded! Of course I don’t yet produce the quite loud overtones of the professionals, but the whistle tones are there, and I can play with them a little already.


If you want to try it for yourself: push the tip of your tongue against the top of your mouth, like saying “ul”, and sing a medium to low tone. The hard part is starting to hear the tones if your ears are not yet used to picking them out.

I’ve just been singing one tone for almost an hour, and my neighbours are probably quite annoyed by now. However, it has a meditative quality to do this, I feel refreshed, awake, supple and relaxed. This is so cool!

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