How to Throat Sing
Also known as overtone singing or harmonic singing, throat singing manipulates your vocal chords to create melody. Famous in many Asiatic and some Inuit cultures, throat singing creates the illusion that you are singing more than one pitch at the same time, though you are actually singing only one frequency. When you do it successfully you will produce a whistling sound, or overtone, on top of your singing voice.
1Relax your jaw and lips. Your mouth should be slightly open with roughly a centimeter between your upper and lower teeth.
2Make an “R” or “L” sound with the tip of your tongue. Your tongue should almost touch the roof of your mouth. Don’t worry if it brushes it occasionally, just get comfortable with the position.
3Sing a comfortably low “base” note. Sing and hold a note, just one note, with your tongue in place. You will be playing with this note to create your overtones. Sing from your chest, getting as deep as you can.
- Think of saying “oo,” (like the sound in the word “cool”) with the deepest voice you can.
4Move the body of your tongue back and forth. Keeping the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Think of it as shifting between an “R” and an “L” sound with your tongue.
5Slowly change the shape of your lips to adjust the sound. Think of moving your mouth from an “E” sound to a “U” sound (“as if saying “see you” without the “s”). This changes the shape of your lips and the “resonance” of your mouth (how sound bounces around inside).
- Do this slowly.
6Bring it all together to throat sing. Everyone’s mouth is a little different and there is no perfect formula for tongue position, mouth opening, or volume. Start with your basic “oooo” note, and then:
- Place your tongue near the roof of your mouth in a “r” position.
- Move your lips slowly between the “E” and “U” vowel sounds.
- Slowly curl your tongue back and away from the your lips.
- When you hear your overtones, stop moving your mouth and hold the tone.
Improving your Sound
1Practice with some background noise. These will hide your normal vocal tones and make your high-pitched “whistling” tones louder. Try practicing in the shower, while you drive, or while the TV is on in the back
- Don’t worry if you cannot hear the overtones at first. It is difficult to hear yourself singing overtones when you first begin, even if you are making them properly, because of the the resonance in your head.
2Sing with a loud, bright voice. When they are first starting out, most people don’t give enough power and energy behind their voice, To get the “ooooo” sound right, imagine you are trying to sing as someone squeezes your throat. Your voice will need to loud and forceful, and this will help you create overtones.
- After you master throat singing technique you can lower your volume and vocal power to something more comfortable.
3Focus on singing from your upper chest. There is a difference between your “chest voice” and you “head voice.” With you head voice, you usually sing at a higher pitch, and you can feel the sound coming from your throat. A chest voice feels “resonant,” and you can feel the vibrations along your upper chest.
4Practice changing notes. Once you can comfortably make sing with overtones, you can learn to make melodies by moving your lips and adjusting your base note. Open and close them like you were transitioning from an “E” sound to a “U” sound (“eeeeee &rarr: you).
5Listen to real life examples. Throat singing is found in cultures from Alaska to Mongolia and South Africa. The Smithsonian museum has an incredible collection of videos from these cultures, as well as some tutorials for burgeoning throat singers.
QuestionHow can I sing less nasally and more throatily?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerBlow your nose before a performance, use bigger breaths, and sing from the gut.
QuestionHow bad can I injure my voice while practicing throat singing? Can I injure it permanently?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt is not possible to “permanently” damage your vocal chords by just using them. But if you’ve ever sung or talked for long periods of time, your throat will start to get a little sore. If you notice that it is starting to become uncomfortable to talk or sing, take a break and, if you so desire, have some hot tea with honey to help soothe your throat.
QuestionI believe you are describing (somewhat) the sygyt style of throat singing, but how do I produce the khoomei and kargyraa sounds?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI learned the basic kargyraa sound by making the “creaking door sound” (that I was told to make when learning fry screams) and adding air and some deeper vocal notes to it slowly. This only worked for me when I was very well hydrated and warmed up, but this was much easier to learn than the sygyt style.
Can you answer these readers’ questions?
- Clear your throat by coughing of drinking a glass of water before you begin.
- If you’re sick and have a sore thoat/phlegm, you should probably wait to practice singing until you’re well again.
- Do not over-strain yourself when trying to find which muscles to use, it can hurt quite a bit!
Upload a picture for other readers to see.
In other languages: