Khoomei or throat singing

  1. Home
  2. /Travel tips
  3. /Arts and culture
  4. /Khoomei or throat singing

Khoomei or throat singing

The “khoomei” or throat singing is an ancestral overtone singing that consists in reproducing natural sounds like the flow of water, the breath of wind, the echo of the mountains, the rumble of thunder, the singing of birds, etc. An overtone singing is characterised by a vocal technique that allows to make simultaneously several sounds with a single vocal organ, combining different voices and different ways to place the tongue or the lips.

The singer uses his/her throat to give out a continuous deep sound, and, at the same time, using his/her tongue to control the breathed out air, he/she manages to modulate the resonance in more high-pitched harmonics. This singing can be related to the mouth harp, this small instrument that also produces several different sounds: drone, singing, and counterpoint.

A khoomei singer must know the different organs very well to use them with precision: pharynx, vocal cords, oral cavity, tongue, lips, and nasal cavity. Good khoomei singers can modify their own frequency by adapting the volume of the oral cavity, the opening of the mouth, and the position of the lips.

Overtone singings have been sung for a long time in many cultures across the world, especially in Asia, by Mongolians, Tuvas, Bachkirs, Altai people, and Tibetan people, but also in Italy by Sardinian people, in India by Rajasthan people, or in South Africa by Xhosa people.

Some have noticed that a third sound could be produced with Tuvan techniques, but it’s still impossible to know if this third sound can be controlled. This third sound seems more to look like the mouth harp’s counterpoint.

So, khoomei is nothing but an overtone singing. But it’s divided into six categories: khamrin khoomii (nasal khoomei), bagalzuuriin khoomii (glottal khoomei), tseejnii khondiin khoomii (chest cavity khoomei), uruulin khoomii (labial khoomei), khosmoljin or turlegt khoomii (khoomei combined with long song), tagnain khoomi (palatal khoomei). The difference lies in the technique used.

Khoomei is said to come from the area of Khovd, in the Altai range, western Mongolia. The four most famous khoomei singers of Mongolia are Suindui Jajaa, Tserendorj, Ganbold, and Odsuren, and they all come from Khovd. Besides Ganbold worked as sound operator on the original soundtrack of the famous movie “Queen Mandukhai the wise”. But khoomei also extended to other areas sometimes really far from Khovd.

Khoomei, and more generally all types of overtone singing, is also supposed to have therapeutic virtues. Experiments led by doctors and musicians have often shown that there was a connection between mental or physical health and music. When it’s used for therapeutic purposes, khoomei’s main goal is to bring back concentration and sanity. Some shamanic experiences and Tibetan singings are very close to this goal too.

For example, this type of singing is said to have real effects on stammer, blocks in the throat, confidence in one’s voice, inhibition, respiratory problems, anxiety, tiredness, childbirth pain, etc. but no study confirms the efficacy of the practice.

And moreover, these effects are said to affects, not only humans, but also animals!

https://www.mongolia-trips.com/travel-tips/arts-culture/khoomei-throat-singing

Mongolia | Throat Singer movie directed by Joe Harper

Mongolia | Throat Singer movie directed by Joe Harper

15,346 views•Jun 12, 20196804ShareSaveOYUNA 155 subscribers For the 15th anniversary of the OYUNA brand, our thoughts turned to the brand’s origins and aspirations to showcase Mongolia as not only the producer of the world’s best cashmere, but as a hub of dynamic creatives. The OYUNA team took a trip to Mongolia to spend time with some of these inspiring individuals, documenting their lives in a series of short films and images. Singer Nyamjantsan Galsanjamts fb/nuudelchid Filmed by Joe Harper Joeharperphoto.co.uk Edited by Callum Pepper Callumpepper.com Creative Direction Oyuna Tserendorj Location Mongolia 20 minutes outside Ulaanbaatar About OYUNA The OYUNA brand embodies the deep connection between the designer, the land she comes from and her commitment to sharing the values and cashmere of Mongolia with the world. Oyuna Tserendorj believes in the essence of things, experiences and what it is to be human, for her creativity is intrinsic to that, and a condition that is at the very heart of it. A soulful quest for the essential, OYUNA tells the story of our experience through the few precious objects we own, reflecting the nomadic values of Mongolia. Meticulously sourced Mongolian cashmere, one of the most treasured fibres in the world, sits alongside the finest cotton and silk, and is at the heart of OYUNA; ultra-soft and warm, with a rich heritage of providing protection in the world’s most inhospitable terrains. A cycle of continual innovation, Oyuna pushes the boundaries of cashmere design in bold new unexpected directions, providing cashmere constructions, to live in. Website: https://oyuna.com/​ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/oyunalondon/​ Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/oyunalondon/​ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OYUNA/