Walcott, Ronald: The Chöömij of Mongolia A Spectral Analysis of Overtone Singing.

The Chöömij of Mongolia A Spectral Analysis of Overtone Singing.

  • Source: Selected Reports in Ethnomusicology . 1974, Vol. 2 Issue 1, p54-60. 7p.
  • Author(s): Walcott, Ronald
  • Abstract: This report is a preliminary study of the Mongolian style of singing known as chöömij. It begins by assembling the physical vocabulary of this singing style, and compares its mechanism with that of the Jew’s harp. It proceeds to a consideration of the ictus in isolation in order to show a progression toward a “normal” sustained chöömij sound. The normal chöömij is described in terms of its formants and their relation to possible physiological counterparts. Finally, it is inferred that, if correctly interpreted, the melographic data might be successfully linked with concepts and data from other disciplines, thereby significantly widening the implications these may have in explaining musical phenomena.


Lindestad PA1, Södersten M, Merker B, Granqvist S.: Voice Source Characteristics in Mongolian “Throat Singing” Studied with High-Speed Imaging Technique, Acoustic Spectra, and Inverse Filtering

Lindestad PA1, Södersten M, Merker B, Granqvist S.

Voice Source Characteristics in Mongolian “Throat Singing” Studied with High-Speed Imaging Technique, Acoustic Spectra, and Inverse Filtering

Lindestad PA : Karolinska Institute, Department of Logopedics and Phoniatrics, Huddinge University Hospital, Sweden. per-ake.lindestad@logphon.hs.sll.se


Mongolian “throat singing” can be performed in different modes. In Mongolia, the bass-type is called Kargyraa. The voice source in bass-type throat singing was studied in one male singer. The subject alternated between modal voice and the throat singing mode. Vocal fold vibrations were observed with high-speed photography, using a computerized recording system. The spectral characteristics of the sound signal were analyzed. Kymographic image data were compared to the sound signal and flow inverse filtering data from the same singer were obtained on a separate occasion. It was found that the vocal folds vibrated at the same frequency throughout both modes of singing. During throat singing the ventricular folds vibrated with complete but short closures at half the frequency of the true vocal folds, covering every second vocal fold closure. Kymographic data confirmed the findings. The spectrum contained added subharmonics compared to modal voice. In the inverse filtered signal the amplitude of every second airflow pulse was considerably lowered. The ventricular folds appeared to modulate the sound by reducing the glottal flow of every other vocal fold vibratory cycle.



Ken-Ichi Sakakibara,Leonardo Fuks,Hiroshi Imagawa, Niro Tayama : Growl voice in and pop styles

Proceedings of the International Symposium on Musical Acoustics, March 31st to April 3rd 2004 (ISMA2004), Nara, Japan

Ken-Ichi Sakakibara , Leonardo Fuks , HiroshiImagawa , Niro Tayama
NTT Communication Science Laboratories, NTT Corporation, Japan
Department of Otolaryngology, The University of Tokyo, Japan
School of Music, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Department of Speech Physiology, The University of Tokyo, Japan
International Medical Center of Japan, Japan
kis@brl.ntt.co.jp leofuks@serv.com.ufrj.br
imagawa@m.u-tokyo.ac.jp ntayama@imcj.hosp.go.jp

Growl voice in ethnic and pop styles

Article (PDF Available) · May 2 with 356 Reads

Cite this publication





  • Department of Speech Physiology, The University of Tokyo, Japan
    International Medical Center of Japan, Japan
    Department of Otolaryngology, The University of Tokyo, Japan
Among the so-called extended vocal techniques, vocal growl is a rather common effect in some ethnic (e.g. the Xhosa people in South Africa) and pop styles (e.g. Jazz, Louis Armstrong-type) of music. Growl usually consists of simultaneous vibrations of the vocal folds and supra-glottal structures of the larynx, either in harmonic or sub-harmonic co-oscillation. This paper examines growl mechanism using vide-ofluoroscopy and high-speed imaging, and its acousit-cal characteristics by spectral analysis and model simu-lation. In growl, the larynx position is usually high and aryepiglottic folds vibrate. The aryepiglottic constriction is associated to a unique shape of the vocal tract, includ-ing the larynx tube, and characterizes growl.

1. Introduction

The term growl is originally referred to as low-pitched
sounds uttered by animals, such as dogs, or similar
sounds by humans, and therefore is mainly described
by auditory-perceptual impression. Growl is widely ob-
served in singing as well as in shouting and aroused
The growl phonation has been also referred to as the
phonation observed in some singing styles, such as the
jazz singing style of Louis Armstrong 1and Cab Cal-
loway, [2, 3]. Many jazz, blues, and gospel singers often
use growl in a similar manner. Besides such pop musics
from North America, growl styles are widely found in
pop music of other areas: in Brazil, samba singers, par-
ticularly in carnival lead voices, pop star Elza Soares, and
country singing duoBruno& Marrone; in Japan, Enka (a
popular emotive style) singers, such as Harumi Miyako,
employ it frequently. Some singers use growl extensively
through a song, while others use it as a vocal effect for
expressive emphasis.
In ethnic music, one of the most prominent use of
growl is found in umngqokolo, which is a vocal tradition
of the Xhosa people in South Africa [11]. In Japanese
theatre, Noh percussionist’s voice, Kakegoe, may present
growl at the beginning of phonation.
Growl may have perceptual similarities with the
rough or harsh voice. In terms of phonetics, growl
is sometimes described as the voiced aryepiglottic trill
[3]. However, there is no clear evidence of its produc-
tion mechanism, such as physiological observation of the
aryepglottic vibration.
In throat singing (Tyvan khoomei and Mongolian
khoomij), ventricular and vocal fold vibration was ob-
served for the two different laryngeal voices (drone and
kargyraa) [4, 9]. In drone, the basic voice in throat
singing with a whistle-like high overtone, the ventricular
fold vibration is at the same frequency as the vocal fold
vibration. In kargyraa, which usually sounds one octave
(or more) lower than the modal register, the ventricular
folds vibrate at when the vocal folds vibrate at .
Moreover, some singers can do triple-periodic kargyraa
in which the ventricular folds vibrate at .
In this paper, the phonation mode with ventricular and vocal fold
vibration is called VVM (vocal-ventricular mode) [4]. In
growl, there is no clear evidence of the ventricular fold



Impro i efterklangsrum på DTU, DENMARK

Impro i efterklangsrum på DTU, DENMARK

Ajoutée le 27 juin 2019

It is an interesting experience even thoughthe reverberation room is not designed for beautiful acoustics but to be able to meausure transmission loss of building elements (absorbtion of different materials). It is situated in the Technical University of Denmark, in Lyngby, north of Copenhagen. The surfaces are hard (concrete), and the cones on the floor and walls work as difusers which spread the sound waves and allow an experience of a room much bigger than it actually is.
Under- og overtonesang i et usædvanligt akustisk rum. Flemming Hinnerskov og Skye Løfvander. Se mere på http://www.kortlink.dk/yf8c

My friend Flemming and I were kindly allowed to do recordings, videos, and photos for an article and along the way we caught the moment to do a few vocal improvisations.
We are not throat singers, so you may ask what tempted us to do basso profundo/vocal fry/strohbass.
One of the factors is obviously the dimensions of the room. We didn’t bring a measure tape but knew that its volume is 240 cubic meters, meaning that each side and the height is between 5 and 8 meters.
Using the wave formula this allows us to find some of the prominent resonances.
f x λ = v , where f is the frequency, lambda is the wave length, and the constant v is the speed of sound in air:

f(8 m) = 343 m/s : 8 m = 42,875 Hz (s^-1)
f(5 m) = 343 m/s : 5 m = 68,6 Hz
This roughly corresponds to the interval G1:C2 (‘scientific pitch notation’).
… and it is the tonal depths that Flemming and I for some reason where inspired to delve into.


LEONARDO FUKS : Computer-aided musical analysis of extended vocal techniques for compositional applications

Computer-aided musical analysis of extended vocal techniques for compositional applications
Leonardo  Fuks
leonardo fuks

Leonardo Fuks

To read the whole article , please click on the link below:





M. Castellengo and N. Henrich Bernardoniba: Interplay between harmonics and formants in singing : when vowels become music

Interplay between harmonics and formants in singing : when vowelsbecome music

M. Castellengo and N. Henrich Bernardoniba
LAM/d’Alembert, 11 rue de Lourmel, 75015 Paris, FrancebGIPSA-lab, 11 rue des Math ́ematiques, 38402 Grenoble, France

Nathalie Henrich-Bernardoni

In human speech, the production of vowels consists in strengthening some specific areas of the harmonic spectrum, known as formants, by adjusting vocal-tract acoustical resonances with articulators such as tongue, lips, velum, jaw, and larynx. In singing, a compromise is often sought between the frequency of harmonics and resonance frequencies, sometimes at the expense of vowel perception. In some vocal cultures, this link between harmonic frequency and resonance frequency is skilfully adjusted. A melody is generated independently of the tonal melody related to vocal-fold vibrations.
This is the case of harmonic singing, overtone singing or Xhoomij, practiced in Central Asia, but also of singing by Xhosa women in South Africa. In this paper, the adjustmentsbetween harmonics and formants are explored on a wide range of commercial singing recordings and experimental recordings in laboratory. Three main strategies are described from both acoustical and musical point of view. In a first case, the spectral melody is produced by a play on the first formant (F1). The first harmonic frequency is often kept constant and at low values due to period doubling induced by a ventricular vibration. In a second case, the spectral melody is produced by a play on the second formant (F2), with a higher frequency of the first harmonic. Complex spectral melody can also be developed by a vocal game on the first two formants. In particular, we will illustrate and discuss the cases where the two first formants evolve while remaining in an octave ratio (F2 = 2F1).1Introduction When producing vowels in speech and singing, the fluid-structure interaction between air expelled from the lungs and moving walls induces vocal-folds vibration. This vibration generates a harmonic acoustic source, which propagates through the vocal tract (laryngeal and pharyngeal cavities, mouth and nasal cavities). The vocal-tract area function from glottis to lips is controlled by the speech articulators (tongue, lips, jaw, velum, larynx), which contributes to the adjustment of vocal-tract resonances (Ri). The resonances shape the harmonic voiced sound spectrum, in boosting acoustical energy in frequency bands designated in acoustics by the term formants (Fi). The frequency ratio between the first two formants F1 and F2 is perceptually coded into vowels.C7C6C5C4C3Hz10020030040050080010002000150025003000ii200 HzF2()56789101265 Hz567891012F1Figure 1: Mean values of formant frequencies F1 (blue) andF2 (red) on a musical scale. On left panel, the vowels have been grouped for which the two formants vary conjointly.Several singing techniques illustrate harmonic-resonance adjustments. Possible interactions depending on sung pitch are shown in Figure 1, which presents the mean values of the two first formant frequencies for a male speaking voice. The vowel location on the diagram is only indicative. It depends on individual peculiarities and the chosen language. Besides, values are given for male speech, as the songs studied here are mainly produced by male singers. The first formant F1 ranges from 300 Hz (/i/) to 800 Hz (/a/), which corresponds on a musical scale to E4-G5. It covers the high range in male voices, the medium and high range in female voices. In western classical singing, a tuning between the vocal-folds vibratory frequency (f0 = H1) and vocal-tract first-resonance frequency (R1) is sometimes mandatory to allow a loud and comfortable voice production, such as in the case of soprano high range [1, 2, 3] or, more generally when the sung pitch gets close to R1 [3]. To find a good balance between resonance adjustments and clarity of vowels constitutes a great part of the classical singer’s training. Such singers have to be able to sing a text on a wide range of pitches. In traditional Croatian folk singing [4], in Bulgarian women’s singing [5] or in Broadway Musicals [6], a systematic tuning is observed between the second harmonic (H2=2f0) and R1 for those vowels which do not have a too low first-resonance frequency. This practice gives power and clarity to the voice. It is produced by means of vowels /o/ /ɔ/ /ɛ/ /a/ in a limited pitch range: 220 to 320 Hz for male singers, 350-500 Hz for female singers (see Figure 2).Figure 2: Illustration on a musical scale of vowels and pitches for which a tuning R1:2f0 is possible. The blue notes present the musical pitches.The second formant F2 ranges from 600 Hz for vowel /u/ to 2400 Hz for vowel /i/ within the musical range E5-E7 ( seeFigure 1). Glottal fundamental frequency may come close to resonance frequency only for low-F2 vowels such as /u/ and /o/. In most cases, F2 lies well above f0, and it globally contributes to the voice quality. F2:f0 tunings have been observed in the soprano high range [2]. But most F2:Hi (i>1) tunings observed in the literature are reported for techniques of harmonic singing, which we shall now address. The literature will first be briefly reviewed. The tuning strategies will then be discussed on the basis of a wide range of commercial recordings. These observations will be supplemented by a case study of a Mongolian singer by means of simultaneous acoustical recordings and ultrasound observations of tongue motion. 2Harmonic singing : the state of the art A spectral melody and low-pitch tone – In the singing techniques mentioned above, a melody is produced by varying the vocal-folds vibratory frequency and the resonances are tuned depending on vowel and sound quality. Roles are reversed in harmonic singing.


DiscographyCD “Inédit Mongolie” – Auvidis, W 260009 (1989), tracks: 4 (X1); 5 (X2; X7);

6 (X3).CD “Voices from the center of Asia” – Smithsonian Folkways, SF 400017 (1990), tracks: 1 (K5);

4 (X5); 9 (K11); 14 (K10; X6);

18 (K4). CD “Les voix du monde”, CNRS-Harmonia mundi, CMX 374 1010.12 (1996),

CD-II-37 (K3). CD “The Heart of Dharma”, Ellipsis Arts (1996), track 2 (K3).

Dave Dargie demonstration tape, track A-1 (F).

Alash Ensemble – Singers : Bady Dorzhu-Ondar (K6; K7; K8);

Kongar-ool Ondar (X4).

Bayarbaatar Davaasuren, (2013), Gipsa-Lab (K9).

Data from H. Smith (1967), lama from the Gyutu Monastery near Dalhousie, recorded in 1964 (K2).

BIBLIOGRAPHY References[1]E. Joliveau, J. Smith and J. Wolfe, “Vocal tract resonances in singing: The soprano voice”, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 116 (4), 2434-2439 (2004)[2]M. Garnier, N. Henrich, J. Smith, J. Wolfe, « Vocal tract adjustments in the high soprano range, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 127 (6), 3771-3780 (2010)[3]N. Henrich, J. Smith, and J. Wolfe, “Vocal tract resonances in singing: Strategies used by sopranos, altos, tenors, and baritones”, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 129 (2), 1024-1035 (2011)[4]P. Boersma and G. Kovavic, “ Spectral characteristics of three syles of Croatian folk singing”, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 119 (3), 1805-1816 (2006)[5]N. Henrich, M. Kiek, J. Smith, and J. Wolfe, “Resonance strategies in Bulgarian women’s singing”, Logopedics Phoniatrics Vocology 32, 171-177 (2007)[6]T. Bourne, M. Garnier, “Physiological and acoustic characteristics of the female music theater voice”, J. Acoust. Soc. Am.131 (2), 1586-1594 (2012)[7]M. Garcia jr, “Mémoire sur la voix humaine; réimpression augmentée de quelques observations nouvelles sur les sons simultanés”, p.24, Paris: Duverger (1840)[8]H. Smith, K.N. Stevens and R.S. Tomlinson, “On an unusual mode of chanting by certain Tibetan lamas”, J. Acoust. Soc. Am.41 (5), 1262-1264 (1967) [9]G. Bloothooft, E. Bringmann, M. Van Cappellen, J.B. Van Luippen, et al. “Acoustics and perception of overtone singing” J. Acoust. Soc. Am.92 (4), 1827-1836 (1992)[10]F. Klingholz, “Overtone singing: productive mechanisms and acoustic data”, J. of Voice 7 (2), 118-122 (1993)[11]H. K. Schutte, D.G. Miller and J.G. Sveč, “Measurement of formant frequencies and bandwith in singing”, J. of Voice 9 (3), 290-296 (1995)[12]L. Dmitriev, B. Chernov and V. Maslow, “Functioning of the Voice Mechanism in Double Voice Touvinian Singing”, Folia Phoniatrica 36, 193-197 (1983)[13]L. Fuks, B. Hammmarberg and J. Sundberg, “A self-sustained vocal-ventricular phonation mode: acoustical, aerodynamic and glottographic evidences”, TMH-QPSR3, 49-59 (1998) [14]J. G. Sveč, H. K. Schutte and D. G. Miller, “A subharmonic vibratory pattern in normal vocal folds”, J. of Speech and Hearing Research39, 135-143 (1996)[15]L. Bailly, N. Henrich and X. Perlorson, “Vocal fold and ventricular vocal fold vibration in period-doubling phonation: physiological description and aerodynamic modeling”, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 127 (5), 3212-3222 (2010)[16]A.N. Askenov, “Tuvin folk music”, Asian Music4 (2), 7- 18 (1973)[17]D. Dargie, “Xhosa music: its techniques and instruments, with a collection of songs”, Cape Town: David Philip[18]H. Zemp and T. Q. Hai, “Recherches expérimentales sur le chant diphonique”, Cahiers d’ethnomusicologie4, 27-68 (1991)[19]T. C. Levin and M. E. Edgerton, “The Throat Singers of Tuva”, Scientific American 218 (3), 70-77(1999) and related video files (X-rays) [20]J. Curtet, “La transmission du höömij, un art du timbre vocal : ethnomusicology et histoire du chant diphonique mongol”, Thèse de doctorat, Université de Rennes 2. [21]M. Kob, “Analysis and modeling of overtone singing in the sygyt style”, Applied acoustics65 (12), 1249-1259 (2004)[22]C. Tsai, Y. Shau and T. Hsiao, “False vocal fold surface waves during Sygyt singing: A hypothesis”, Proc. ICVBP, (2004)[23]S. Adachi and M. Yamada, “An acoustical study of sound production in biphonic singing, Xöömij”, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 105 (5), 2920-2932 (1999)[24]K.-I. Sakakibara, H. Imagawa, T. Konishi, K. Kondo et al, “Vocal fold and false vocal fold vibrations in throat singing and synthesis of Khöömei”, Proc. ICMC,(2001)[25]P. Lindestad, M. Södersten, B. Merker and S. Granqvist, “Voice source characteristcs in Mongolian “throat singing” studied with high-speed imaging technique, acoustic spectra, and inverse filtering”, J. of voice15 (1), 78-85 (2001)[26]P. Cosi and G. Tisato, “On the magic of overtone singing”,Voce, Parlato. Studi in onore di Franco Ferrero, 83-100 (2003)[27]T. Hueber, G. Chollet, B. Denby, M. Stone, “Acquisition of ultrasound, video and acoustic speech data for a silent-speech interface application”, Proc. of ISSP, 365-369 (2008)[28]H. Zemp and T.Q. Hai, “Le chant des harmoniques”, film 16 mm, Paris: Musée de l’Homme and CNRS-AV http://videotheque.cnrs.fr/doc=606


The full article can be read  by clicking the link below


Sehnsucht nach dem Frühlinge (Mozart) – Anna-Maria Hefele

Sehnsucht nach dem Frühlinge (Mozart) – Anna-Maria Hefele

Ajoutée le 27 avr. 2017

MRT- Aufnahmen: Prof. Dr. med. Bernhard Richter & Dr.-Ing. Michael Burdumy http://www.mh-freiburg.de/fim Anna-Maria Hefele: Gesang, Obertongesang, Harfe | http://www.anna-maria-hefele.com/ Thomas Radlwimmer: Video | http://www.radlwimmer.at/ Musik: “Sehnsucht nach dem Frühlinge” von Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart What you see in this dynamic MRI-recording is the tongue movement in the vocal tract while doing overtone singing and normal singing. The positions of the tongue forms the resoncance cavities which delete all not-wanted overtones in the sound of the voice at a certain point in time, and then amplify a single overtone that is left, which can be heard as a seperate note above the fundamental. The MRI recordings were made by Prof. Dr. Bernhard Richter, Prof. Dr. Matthias Echternach and Dr.- Ing. Michael Burdumy in the University Medical Center Freiburg, Institute for Musician’s Medicine. http://www.mh-freiburg.de/fim – thank you so much for the kind permission to use the MRI-footage in order to share this fascinating singing-insight with the world! The team of doctors in Freiburg developed a highly specialized equipment for recording and and also filtering sound in the MRI-machine. This recording is made while using a pre-produced playback on headphones in the really loud MRI-machine while lying on the back. A lot of more of very interesting MRI- and endoscopy- recordings of various singers and vocalists (classical singers, overtone singers, yodellers, beatboxers….) will be published on a DVD about end of April 2017 @ Helbling. TITLE: “Die Stimme: Einblicke in die physiologischen Vorgänge biem Singen und Sprechen” ENGLISH: “The Voice: Physiological Insights in Singing and Speaking” If you want to get INFORMED ABOUT THE RELEASE of this extraordinary DVD please SIGN UP to this mailing list: http://eepurl.com/cAYDyj in order to keep UPDATED about my activities please like my FB-page: https://www.facebook.com/amoberton and sign up for my NEWSLETTER here: http://bit.ly/1TdxQty This video is under copyright. Please feel free to repost and embedd the video while using its original YouTube-Link: https://youtu.be/d6cyHGOht58. No download & re-uploading on other websites, social networks or channels. If you want to get a license for the video or parts of it please contact me (via http://anna-maria-hefele.com/contact….) AND the copyright owners of the MRI-footage at the Institute for Musicians Medicine Freiburg (http://www.mh-freiburg.de/fim). Thanks for showing respect to the creative artist of your choice!!!