WIKIPEDIA : Theodore Levin (ethnomusicologist)

Theodore Levin (ethnomusicologist)
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Theodore Levin is professor of music at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. He is an ethnomusicologist, earning his undergraduate degree at Amherst College and obtaining his Ph.D. from Princeton University. Levin has focused his research on the people of Central Asia, including a recent research trip to the Altai Mountains to study Tuvan forms of music. Dr. Levin began studying Central Asian forms of music in 1974. Since then, he has written 2 books, including 100,000 Fools of God: Musical Travels in Central Asia (published by Indiana University Press in 1999). He chronicled his journey to Tuva in his most recent book, Where Rivers and Mountains Sing (published by Indiana University Press in 2006).

100,000 Fools of God: Musical Travels in Central Asia- Levin’s first book, this chronicles his return to Central Asia. Levin records information about the peasants; such as the stories they kept alive through music, the actual music itself, how they dealt with Soviet rule, and even the shaman healers that use music to heal the sick. This book has a wealth of information pertaining to Central Asia folk customs and the evolving post-soviet culture.

Where Rivers and Mountains Sing- This is Levin’s second book that takes the reader once again on a journey through Central Asia. Levin begins the volume by chronicling his experiences with a Tuvan throat-singing group. He vividly explains and details the Tuvan people’s ideas about nature and animals, and how their music reproduces the sounds and actions of those animals. The idea of tradition is also brought up frequently, especially in the case of the throat singers. The world is embracing them, and Levin details the effects of the popularity on the performers and the traditions.

Theodore Levin: The Hundred Thousand Fools of God, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana (USA), 1999, ISBN 0-253-21310-X
Theodore Levin (with Valentina Süzükei): Where Rivers and Mountains Sing: Sound, Music and Nomadism in Tuva and Beyond, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana (USA), 2006, ISBN 0-253-34715-7

External links

Smithsonian Folkways: Bukhara: Musical Crossroads of Asia

Authority control Edit this at Wikidata

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EthnomusicologistsAmerican music educatorsAmerican writers about musicAmerican travel writers20th-century American novelists21st-century American novelistsAmerican male novelistsDartmouth College facultyAmherst College alumniPrinceton University alumniLiving people20th-century American male writers21st-century American male writers20th-century American non-fiction writers21st-century American non-fiction writersAmerican male non-fiction writers

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This page was last edited on 15 October 2018, at 13:39 (UTC).

KELLY SEAMAN: TED LEVIN’s curriculum vitae

Curriculum Vitae

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On the Silk Road with Professor Ted Levin
The Silk Road, the ancient network of trade routes linking Asia with Europe, winds its way through Dartmouth this winter, thanks to Theodore Levin, chair and professor of music and the Parents Distinguished Research Professor in the Humanities.
levinTed Levin (Photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)
Academic and impresario: Levin, an expert ethnomusicologist who has produced sound and video recordings for the Smithsonian, identifies himself as both. He is also the former executive director of Cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project, which was created to promote the study of the cultural riches of the Silk Road’s people and places. “I like doing the two together, both scholarship and musical production. The combination is good for my teaching-it brings the world into the classroom,” he says.

Levin’s syllabus for his winter term course “The Silk Road” includes guest lecturers from Dartmouth’s departments of anthropology, geography, history, religion, theater, and Asian and Middle Eastern languages and literatures (DAMELL). The course, says Levin, considers the Silk Road and its cultural legacy from a profoundly interdisciplinary perspective.

An activist as well: A consultant and advisor to both the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia and the Soros Foundations’ Open Society Institute, Levin champions the role music and musicians can have in preserving and revitalizing traditional cultures. He continues to be instrumental in bringing musical artists to Dartmouth, including Brooklyn Rider, a string quartet that grew out of the Silk Road Project and that often collaborates with “world music” musicians. Among them is Japanese shakuhachi virtuoso and composer Kojiro Umezaki, a 1993 graduate of Dartmouth’s M.A. program in digital musics. Brooklyn Rider and Umezaki are artists-in-residence at the College in February, and premiered a Dartmouth-commissioned piece by Umezaki.

silk roadStudents in Levin’s course “The Silk Road” remove bandhani cloth from indigo dye. Master dyer Joan Morris (foreground) of the theater department guided the students through this ancient Indian method of textile patterning. “They are getting, literally, a hands-on experience of the sort of goods traded along the Silk Road,” she says. From left: Elizabeth Kemp ’11(hidden), Evelyn Fisher ’11, Emma Frankel ’12, and Samantha Kaplan ’09. (Photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)

Digital revolution: The impact of the digital revolution on the world’s music, says Levin, is on two fronts. First, the Internet is transforming accessibility; listeners now have access to music from anywhere in the world. Equally important, musicians can have access to an enormous potential audience. Second, digital tools empower creative work in sound, “giving access to musical creativity,” Levin observes, “without the need for arduous training. Dartmouth’s music department is poised at the cutting edge of these changes. We’re forging links not just with digital movements in the humanities, but also with engineering, computer science, psychology, and cognitive neuroscience.”


ACADEMIA : Tuvan Throat Singing, a series of articles

Tuvan Throat Singing


C’era una volta il fiume Höömey: leggendarie origini del canto armonico tuvino-mongolo. In: Costantini, V. & Kappler, M. (eds.), Sûzişât-i mü’ellefe. Contaminazioni e spigolature turcologiche. Scritti in onore di Giampiero Bellingeri. Crocetta del Montello (TV): Terra Ferma. 313-317, 2010.


by Elisabetta Ragagnin


Folklore, Tuvan Throat Singing, Siberian Turkic languages

Монгол дахь хѳѳмийн ѳвлүүлэлт / La transmission du khöömii en Mongolie / The Transmission of Khöömii in Mongolia
2018. « Mongol dakhi khöömiin övluulelt » (La transmission du khöömii en Mongolie), Chinggis Khaan Sudlal 27, Ulaanbaatar : Université Chinggis Khaan, p. 141-146.


by Johanni Curtet


Anthropology of Music, Ethnomusicology, Historical Ethnomusicology, Mongolian Studies

Voyage en Diphonie / Journey in Diphonia
English: Since 2010, the Mongolian Traditional Art of Khöömii (throat singing) has been inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, and the research of Johanni Curtet and his spouse,… more


by Johanni Curtet


Visual Anthropology, Ethnomusicology, Film Music And Sound, Film Analysis

Archaic Oirat substratum of the “circa-Altai musical Kulturkreis” in Tuva / Архаичный ойратский субстрат среднеалтайского культурного круга в Туве
Worldwide fame for Tuvan music is now immovable. The vocal phenomenon xöömei or Tuvan throat-singing, in particular, attracts music fans around the world. On the other hand, so called “overtone-singing” or “throat-singing,” the vocal… more


by Masahiko Todoriki


Tuvan Throat Singing, Tuvan music, Tuvan history

An Anthology of Mongolian Khöömii – Монгол Хөөмийн Сонгомол
An additional 12 videos playlist to the record An Anthology of Mongolian Khöömii Монгол Хөөмийн Сонгомол цомгийн нэмэлт видео Audiovisual recording : Johanni Curtet, 2015. Editing : Jean-François Castell, Les Films du Rocher, 2016. Дуу,… more


by Johanni Curtet


Visual Anthropology, Ethnomusicology, Mongolian Studies, Traditional Music

3 questions à J. Curtet, Sh. Nomindari et un musicien du groupe Khusugtun autour de l’Anthologie du khöömii mongol
Conférence en ligne (enregistrement audio). 8 décembre 2016: avec Pierre Bois et Nomindari Shagdarsuren, « 3 questions à J. Curtet, Sh. Nomindari et un musicien de Khusugtun autour de l’Anthologie du khöömii mongol», panel “Inscriptions… more

by Johanni Curtet and +1


Ethnomusicology, Cultural Heritage, Ethnography, Mongolian Studies

An Anthology of Mongolian Khöömii / Une Anthologie du khöömii mongol / Монгол Хөөмийн Сонгомол
Double CD / Хос цомог Livret 47 p. / 47 p. Booklet / 47 хуудас товхимол Français / English / Монгол English: Through 43 tracks, including 28 previously unreleased, this double disc gathers the essentials of Mongolian khöömii, from early… more


by Johanni Curtet and +1


Ethnomusicology, Film Music And Sound, Fieldwork in Anthropology, Historical Ethnomusicology

Khömmei Vocal Techniques in a Study of the Bard Tradition in Mongolia/Istanbul Technical University


by Volkan Çağlayan


Anthropology of Music, Tibeto-Mongolian Buddhism, Tuvan Throat Singing, Anthropology of Music and Sound

History, Memory, and Landscape in Post-Soviet Tyva’s Xöömei Scenes
Presented in the Department of Music and Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies at the University of Pittsburgh (2015) This lecture, which flows from ten years of dissertation research, explores a theory of musical sensibility… more

by Robert O Beahrs


Ecology, Post-Soviet Studies, Collective Memory, Russia

Post-Soviet Tuvan Throat-Singing (Xöömei) and the Circulation of Nomadic Sensibility
Guttural singing practices in the Sayan-Altai region of south-central Siberia have been historically framed as possessing “nomadic” qualities linked with pastoral population groups indigenous to the region. As these singing practices were… more

by Robert O Beahrs


Embodiment, Sound studies, Ecology, Post-Soviet Studies

Khömmei Vocal Techniques in a Study of the Bard Tradition in Mongolia (Full Paper)
This article aims to explain and exemplify the bard’s identity and the functions of khömmei –a special vocal technique sometimes called overtone singing or throat-singing among nomadic, hunter-herder communities of Mongolia, Tuva and… more


by Volkan Çağlayan


Historical Ethnomusicology, Mongolian Studies, Religious Syncretism, Tibeto-Mongolian Buddhism

Music for trumpet has seen a great expansion over the past fifty years. The importance of this development to the trumpet and music world cannot be overstated. The purpose of this study is to explain the process of commissioning,… more


by Philippe Brunet


Music, Collaboration, Contemporary Music, Trumpet

Contemporary ethnosocial processes in Tuva
“The New Research of Tuva” is delighted to invite you to join the special edition #2, 2016 (to be released on June, 2016). This edition will be dedicated to “Contemporary ethnosocial processes in Tuva”. Doctor of Philosophy, professor Yu…. more


by Chimiza Lamazhaa


Ethnography, Central Asian Studies, Central Asia, Tuvan Throat Singing

Tuvinovedenie: novye gorizonty [Tuvinology: the new horizons]
В данном сборнике подведены некоторые итоги работы электронного журнала «Новые исследования Тувы», главным редактором которого является автор книги. Особенность данной работы заключается в том, что Ч.К. Ламажаа предлагает свой взгляд на… more


by Chimiza Lamazhaa


Indigenous Peoples, Tuvan Throat Singing, Tuvan, Tuva Central Asia

Review of Kuznetsova, U. K., 2008, The Dictionary of Tuvan Culture: Angloiazychnyi slovar’ tuvinskoi kul’tury. Kyzyl: Tyvinskii Gosudarstvennyi Universitet. In Sibirica: Interdisciplinary Journal of Siberian Studies. 10(1):100-102.


by Alexander D King


Cultural Studies, Cross-Cultural Studies, Siberia, Cross-Cultural Communication

Los cantores diafónicos de Tuva.
Sometiendo a prueba los límites de su capacidad vocal, los cantores diplofónicos crean sonidos inigualables. Mantiene dos notas a la vez o sintonizan con una cascada


by Michael Edgerton


Acoustics, Music, Musicology, Ethnomusicology

Die Obertonsänger von Tuwa
Sie loten die Grenzbereiche der stimmlichen Fähigkeiten aus: Obertonsänger erzeugen Klänge, die weder der Sprechsprache noch dem Gesang gleichen. Sie singen sogar mehrstimmig und bringen ihren Gesang in Einklang mit Naturgeräuschen.


by Michael Edgerton


Music, Musicology, Ethnomusicology, Ethnography

La transmission du höömij, un art du timbre vocal: ethnomusicologie et histoire du chant diphonique mongol (texte intégral/full text)


by Johanni Curtet


Anthropology of Music, Ethnomusicology, Learning and Teaching, Historical Ethnomusicology

Johanni CURTET : La transmission du höömij, un art du timbre vocal : ethnomusicologie et histoire du chant diphonique mongol
Résumé de thèse.
PhD abstract.

by Johanni Curtet


Anthropology of Music, Ethnomusicology, Cultural Heritage, Historical Ethnomusicology

De l’art du timbre vocal: au cœur du khöömii en Mongolie
Émission “Carnet de Voyage” présentée par Edouard Fouré Caul-Futy sur France Musique, diffusé le 31 mai 2015. Disponible en podcast sur le site de l’émission. “Ce soir, nous partons aux confins de l’asie centrale, dans cette partie de… more

by Johanni Curtet

Ethnomusicology, Historical Ethnomu



by Turna Ezgi Toros


Tuvan Throat Singing, Yoruks (The Nomads) of West Anatolian

Randy-Raine Reusch
A chapter of work-in-progress on Randy Raine-Reusch, Canadian composer for/player of Asian instruments. See links under “Files” tab….


by Michael Heffley


Music, Improvisation, Chinese Music, Free Improvisation

Roomful of Teeth performance program
Dumbarton Oaks celebrates the completion of its new Fellowship House with a concert by the Grammy Award-winning Roomful of Teeth, including Caroline Shaw, this year’s inaugural Early-Career Musician-in-Residence. Sunday, October 5 and… more


by Jan Ziolkowski


Interdisciplinarity, Contemporary Art, Poetry, Composition (Music)

Dumbarton Oaks Fêtes New Programs and Spaces
Today is a special day. I decided not to have the formality of a ribbon-cutting or dedication ceremony, but instead to celebrate the positive change of new cultural programming and of a new building by insisting upon perfect fall weather… more


by Jan Ziolkowski


Musical Composition, Interdisciplinarity, Innovation statistics, Landscape Architecture

Tuva Cumhuriyeti


by Ekrem Arıkoğlu


Tuvan Throat Singing, Tuvan Language, Tuvan Shamanism, Tuva Central Asia

Tuva Müziği


by Ekrem Arıkoğlu


Tuvan Throat Singing

Theodore LEVIN et Valentina SÜZÜKEJ: Where Rivers and Mountains Sing. Sound, Music, and Nomadism in Tuva and Beyond. Bloomington & Indianapolis: …
Intitulé The Hundred Thousand Fools of God (1996), le premier livre de Theodore Levin est rapidement devenu une référence pour tout chercheur travaillant sur les musiques d'Asie centrale. Aboutissement de plus de vingt années de… more

by Frederic Leotar


Folklore, Ethnomusicology, Ethnography, Central Asian Studies

Sainkho Namchylak
Jarrod Cagwin is a serious percussion voice (most of what he plays here sounds like a shaman’s frame drum) on the New York world/improvised/experimental music scene, by way of his American heartland home state of Iowa.. Those roots swell… more


by Michael Heffley


Religion, Buddhism, Parapsychology, Music

Anett C. Oelschlägel 2012: Die Tyva, ein Turkvolk in Südsibirien. URL: (letzter Zugriff: 05.12.2012)


:Anna Liesowska & Derek Lambie : Secrets of throat singing revealed by scientific research into the unusual sounds

Secrets of throat singing revealed by scientific research into the unusual sounds
By Anna Liesowska & Derek Lambie
22 December 2014

Unique physiology of people in Altai mountain region means only they can perform the melodies that date back centuries.
secret 1

Shor female shaman performs the rite. Picture: Maxim Kiselyov

It is a unique and distinctive form of singing only found in one small part of the world. Now scientific research has finally discovered why the unusual sounds of throat singing have never spread out from the isolated steppes of the Altai and Sayan mountains.

Simply put, the people of Tuva and southern Siberia have different vocal cords to the rest of the planet and are the only ones with the capability to master the art.

Experts from the Institute of Philology, at the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, have found that Turks’ vocal cords are slightly wider and the larynx is not as extended, allowing them to make the unique sounds required.

Throat singing produces a unique pitch and sound that comes from deep within the throat and it is said to date back centuries.

inside_Throat singing-Tuva-Choduraa Tumat-tuvaonline.jpg SECRET 2

Throat singing secrets
inside_altai_boy_playing.jpg SECRET 3
Throat singing secrets

Tuvan singer Choduraa Tumat. Altai boy playing khomus. Pictures: Tuva Online, Altai Komus

According to a March 2006 edition of Newsweek magazine, throat singing is described as coming from a ‘human bagpipe, a person who could sing a sustained low note while humming an eerie whistle-like melody’.

The article added: ‘For good measure, toss in a thrumming rhythm similar to that of a jaw harp, but produced vocally by the same person, at the same time.’

It is thought that it originated from Mongolian men who utilised the wide open landscape to make the sounds carry a great distance. Indeed, singers often travel far into the countryside looking for the right river or mountainside in which to create the proper environment.

Over time it now looks as if the way the singing was performed altered the physiology of the throats of people living in the Altai region.

Two residents of the Tashtagolsky district, in Kemerovo, took part in the Institute of Philogy research in Novosibirsk using modern methods to study the physiology of their speech.

Both TV journalist Raisa Sanzhenakova and culture worker Maria Idigesheva, who is head of the Taglyk Shor public organisation, are excellent native speakers of Turkic Shor. The language is spoken by only about 2,800 people in the Kemerovo province in south central Siberia, with many of its roots borrowed from Mongolian.

The experiment was filmed and a documentary on the results will be broadcast in January on local television.

However, one of the main conclusions is that the different throats of the people in the region help them to make the distinctive sounds in a way that people in Europe, for instance, would be unable to.
inside_shors_girls_must SECRET 4
Throat singing secrets
inside_maria_idigisheva.jpg SECRET 5.jpg
Throat singing secrets

Shor music group ‘Ot Ene’. Maria Idigesheva, head of the Taglyk Shor public organisation. Pictures:, Maria Idigesheva

Raisa Sanzhenakova said: ‘For three days we talked with Novosibirsk scientists. Our speech using the Shor language was recorded with special equipment and was examined for the articular parameters of speech.

‘Digital radiography and magnetic resonance imaging studied our vocal apparatus and brain.’

The research took place in the laboratory of experimental phonetic studies, which was established in the late 1960s and is the only one of its kinds in Russia.

Since its creation, researchers have described the phonetics and phonology of more than 40 languages, dialects and sub-dialects.