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: OVERTONE SINGING- Presentation

OVERTONE SINGING is a technique that allows the production of two tones at the same time: a low-pitched fundamental tone, which is generally composed of the first three harmonics and a high-pitched partial or harmonic.

This technique allows the selection of one tone from a sound and the amplification of it. This phenomenon is shown in the following picture produced from a spectrogram (see Overtone Analyzer on, which is also used to support my Singing Classes:

Each natural sound is composed of several tones of different frequencies, starting from a low-pitched one and rising up to very high-pitched tones. These harmonics build the natural scale of tones, which describe an infinite mathematical series. The frequencies in this series are calculated by multiplying the frequency of the basic tone with whole numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, …).

Musicians usually work with the first 16 partials only, as they represent the tones of our musical system. In therapy, all frequencies can be used.

An example based on C is shown in the following table:

Harmonic Note Interval Solfege Frequency
16th C Octave Do 2048 Hz
15th B Major Seventh Si 1920 Hz
14th Bb* Minor Seventh* Sib* 1792 Hz
13th A* Sixth* La* 1664 Hz
12th G Perfect Fifth Sol 1636 Hz
11th F#* Augmented Fourth* Fa#* 1408 Hz
10th E Major Third Mi 1280 Hz
9th D Major Second Re 1152 Hz
8th C Octave Do 1024 Hz
7th Bb* Minor Seventh* Sib* 896 Hz
6th G Perfect Fifth Sol 768 Hz
5th E Major Third Mi 640 Hz
4th C Octave Do 512 Hz
3rd G Perfect Fifth Sol 384 Hz
2nd C Octave Do 256 Hz
1st C Unison Do 128 Hz

* These frequencies are slightly inferior to those of the even tempered scale, which was created by dividing an octave into 12 equal parts.

Overtone singing exists in several different styles, the most well known of which are:

- Khöömei
- Sygyt
- Karguira

"Sygyt" is the richest and most harmonic of these styles. Sygyt means "to whistle" and uses continuing tension of the jaw and larynx muscles, the tongue, the diaphragm and the abdominal belt. Practicing this style is equal to a kind of sound or voice yoga.

My singing style is based on the Sygyt technique, which I am teaching as well. Further information to the singing classes is available here.