MARK VAN TONGEREN’s Book “OVERTONE SINGING”, 2nd revised edition on sale

Mark van Tongeren21 hrs ·

When I began to delve into overtone singing around 1989 I was stunned to find out a few things:

1) how easy it was to sing a few overtones – and many more overtones as I kept on practising

2) how little there was to be found in all kinds of literature outside ethnomusicology, like books about the voice and vocal techniques, about sound and timbre, about perception and cognition of sound and music psychology

3) how often the few sources that did mention it presented it as something very esoteric, very diffciult, very hard to learn, etc. etc.

After my thesis on Tuvan throat singing (Xoomei in Tuva: New Developments, New dimensions, 1994) I decided to write a book about all kinds of overtone singing. When it came out in 2002 (revised edition, 2004), much of the above points 1) 2) and 3) still rang true.

I strongly believed that the principle of vocal harmonics should be part of any kind of basic sound education, whether focusing on the voice, on acoustics or hearing or music psychology, and that overtone singing was the most powerful way to get this method across. My book was well received, but difficult to obtain (read: to distribute) and overall I think I could say it failed to have the impact I thought such a book should have on educating at least professionals in music, sound and voice about this still-obscure vocal technique. Throughout the years, until now, I do get positive feedback from people who read it. I am now working on a revised and expanded edition).

Still, Overtone Singing: Physics and Metaphysics of Harmonics in East and West is the only book covering a very wide range of aspects of Overtone Singing, from singing and listening and contemplative aspects to old and new traditions. The CD that comes with the book is the most complete anthology of recordings available and includes several useful technical demonstrations of different techniques. A must-have for any serious overtone singer.

For those who cannot wait 1-2 years for the new edition to come out, I have good news. The second edition is on sale now, half the original price plus postage, available directly from Fusica, shipped from The Netherlands or Taiwan.

Click the link for information on how to order.

MARK VAN TONGEREN ‘s appreciation , 2019

Mark Van Tongeren & Tran Quang Hai

I learned of Hai’s work on overtone singing in the early 1990s. When I got to know him personally, I was astounded and (I will admit) a bit intimidated by his unbridled energy. He loves to share what he does, and he is in fact overflowing with enthusiasm: for overtone singing, for Vietnamese music, for playing the Jew’s harp and spoons, for ethnomusicology, for his constant travels as a performer and teacher

The most prolific researcher in the field of overtone singing is a man with many faces. His name is Tran Quang Hai and you can call him (and all options are correct): Vietnamese or French; a professional musician or a professional musicologist; an instrumentalist or a singer; an improviser or a composer; a traditional, a popular or an experimental musician (all three will do); an expert in Vietnamese traditional musics and an astute chronicler of its year-to-year development in the past decades

Mark Van Tongeren in his article “MARK VAN TONGEREN: Catching up with Tran Quang Hai”, 2019

Gerrit Bloothooft, Eldrid Bringmann, Marieke van Cappellen, Jolanda B. van Luipen, and Koen P. ThomassenView Affiliations: Acoustics and perception of overtone singing

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of AmericaFacebookTwitterSUBMIT YOUR ARTICLE


Prev Next Published Online: 04 June 1998 Accepted: June 1992

Acoustics and perception of overtone singing

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 92, 1827 (1992); Gerrit Bloothooft, Eldrid Bringmann, Marieke van Cappellen, Jolanda B. van Luipen, and Koen P. ThomassenView Affiliations


Overtone singing, a technique of Asian origin, is a special type of voice production resulting in a very pronounced, high and separate tone that can be heard over a more or less constant drone. An acoustic analysis is presented of the phenomenon and the results are described in terms of the classical theory of speech production. The overtone sound may be interpreted as the result of an interaction of closely spaced formants. For the lower overtones, these may be the first and second formant, separated from the lower harmonics by a nasal pole‐zero pair, as the result of a nasalized articulation shifting from /c/ to /a/, or, as an alternative, the second formant alone, separated from the first formant by the nasal pole‐zero pair, again as the result of a nasalized articulation around /c/. For overtones with a frequency higher than 800 Hz, the overtone sound can be explained as a combination of the second and third formant as the result of a careful, retroflex, and rounded articulation from /c/, via schwa /E/ to /y/ and /i/ for the highest overtones. The results indicate a firm and relatively long closure of the glottis during overtone phonation. The corresponding short open duration of the glottis introduces a glottal formant that may enhance the amplitude of the intended overtone. Perception experiments showed that listeners categorized the overtone sounds differently from normally sung vowels, which possibly has its basis in an independent perception of the small bandwidth of the resonance underlying the overtone. Their verbal judgments were in agreement with the presented phonetic‐acoustic explanation.

Gerrit Bloothooft, Guus de Krom, Susan Jansen, Allard van der Heijden: Electroglottogram recordings during overtone singing


Electroglottogram recordings during overtone singing

Gerrit Bloothooft, Guus de Krom, Susan Jansen, Allard van der Heijden

Research Institute for Language and Speech (OTS)
Utrecht University
Trans 10, 3512 JK Utrecht, The Netherlands


Overtone singing involves careful articulation, resulting in a closely spaced formant pair (F1/F2 or F2/F3) that enhances the amplitude of the intended overtone considerably. Apart from this articulatory explanation it is likely that the glottal sound source plays an important role during overtone singing, but this has never been explicitly investigated so far. To this end we have made electroglottograms (EGG) from an experienced singer from the Tuva Republic and from a Dutch teacher of overtone singing. Khargira and sygyt techniques and some variants were recorded, for the authentic singer during songs, and for the Dutch singer as systematic scales of overtones. Whereas normally sung vowels showed standard shapes of the EGG, the shape of the EGG deviated considerably during overtone singing, for both singers. Instead of a single full wave per period, the EGG showed modulations during a period with higher frequency components. We will present an analysis of these modulations in relation to the frequency of the amplified overtone. A comparison is made between the two singers and the different and comparable overtone singing techniques they recognized.


Dr Gerrit Bloothooft
Research Institute for Language and Speech (OTS)
Utrecht University
Trans 10, 3512 JK Utrecht, The Netherlands
Phone: +31.30.536042
Fax: +31.30.536000

UNIVERSITEIT UTRECHT: overtone singing

overtone singingtuva overtone singing 1tuva overtone singing 2tuva overtone singing 3tuva overtone singing 4
 overtone singing
This is a demonstration of overtone singing. Overtone singing is an articulatory technique in which a certain overtone is amplified. You will hear a whistle over the drone of the fundamental and lower harmonics.
The first fragment demonstrates a technique which is especially used in the Western countries. The tongue is very slowly moved from the position of the vowel /O/ to the position of the vowel /i:/, resulting in a special scale of overtones. The fundamental remains the same in all cases! The careful somewhat retroflex articulation brings the second and third formant together, which amplifies the nearby overtone. The overtones 5-16 can be heard. To produce the overtones 3-5, one has to make a nasal sound and articulate from /o:/ to /a:/. The overtone is then amplified by the first formant, while the nasal anti-resonance creates the acoustic distinction between the amplified overtone and the lowest harmonics.
In the subsequent demonstrations, we hear song fragments containing overtone singing, from the Tuva Republic in Mongolia. The technique is not essentially different from the Western technique, but glottal adducation is much higher (almost pressed singing). The Tuva people know a number of techniques, which are related to the fundamental frequency. In these fragments you will hear Sygyt which is typically produced with a pitch of 150-200 Hz. An other technique is Kargyra, with a characteristic low pitch of less than 60 Hz. More information:
Bloothooft, G., Bringmann, E., van Cappellen, M., van Luipen, J.M., and Thomassen, K.P. (1992). Acoustics and perception of overtone singing, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 92, 1827-1836. Levin, Theodore C., and Edgerton, Michael E. (1999). The Throat Singers of Tuva, Scientific American, Sept.1999. [19 Jul 2001] with sound clips!

listen to demonstration listen
technical details technical
text/transcript text/transcript

overtone singing
Keeping a constant pitch of about 130 Hz, a professional Western performer sings a scale of the overtones 4 to 16. The narrow-band spectrogram shows the amplification of the successive overtones. The lowest overtones are amplified by the first formant, the stepwise increasing resonance is the combination of second and third formant. Higher formants are also visible.

File size505246 bytesFormataiffKeywordsovertone throat singing

tuva overtone singing 1
A Tuva singer demonstrates his “throat singing” or overtone singing, in which individual overtones are amplified. These overtones are clearly visible in the spectrogram.

File size363058 bytesFormataiffKeywordsovertone throat singing

tuva overtone singing 2
A Tuva singer demonstrates his “throat singing” or overtone singing, in which individual overtones are amplified. These overtones are clearly visible in the spectrogram.

File size329092 bytesFormataiffKeywordsovertone throat singing

tuva overtone singing 3
A Tuva singer demonstrates his “throat singing” or overtone singing, in which individual overtones are amplified. These overtones are clearly visible in the spectrogram.

File size398652 bytesFormataiffKeywordsovertone throat singing

tuva overtone singing 4
A Tuva singer demonstrates his “throat singing” or overtone singing, in which individual overtones are amplified. These overtones are clearly visible in the spectrogram.

File size407606 bytesFormataiffKeywordsovertone throat singing

聲音瑜珈 Weekly Voice Yoga by Mark Van TONGEREN in TAIPEI, TAIWAN , every thursday from 6 to 27 February 2020



聲音瑜珈 Weekly Voice Yoga sessions

Public · Hosted by Mark van TongerenInterestedGoing…Share

Voice Yoga is an integral approach to body & movement, breath, sound & silence. It is taught weekly in Taipei by Mark van Tongeren.

In Voice Yoga’s dynamic group process, students go beyond their own habits and expectations. Often, something larger than ourselves emerges: a flow of hidden creative potential. We work with all kinds of sounds without meaning, without emphasizing a beautiful voice. They help us to get beyond common subject-object and mind-body dualities, and bring our unconscious selves and irrational emotions to the surface. The group process becomes a mirror for the self and allows us to ‘see’ ourselves more clearly, to hear what’s living deep inside.

Designed and taught by Mark van Tongeren, a Dutch sound explorer with a deep interest in the synergy of arts, sciences and contemplative traditions. Mark has 25+ years of experience in theatre, music and dance productions and holds a PhD from Leiden University’s Academy of Creative of Performing Arts.

Voice Yoga consists of exercises that give pride of place to the voice as a central, creative force in our lives. Human existence depends in important ways on our speaking, listening, sounding and singing abilities. The class promotes awareness of the many roles of the voice in our daily lives. It expands our creative vocabulary, without necessarily talking about music, the singing voice or any musical style. The point is not so much to learn any specific new technique: we play with the voice in a lot of different ways and listen with fresh ears to the hidden potential of our voices.

In Voice Yoga, sound, silence and resonance become a mirror for the self. The sounds produced by ourselves, allows us to ‘see’ ourselves more clearly, to hear what’s living deep inside us. In ever-growing cycles of creating and perceiving we learn about music and sound, about ourselves and about the environment.

We usually start with silence, breath and body movements to turn away from our busy mind into the body and to the sensations we actually experience. We let the voice come out of a natural breath flow. We listen to and follow its natural resonances. We do not try to sing in an artful way, but to experience how body-mind-voice are intimately connected, and how voice and resonance can serve as a bridge to overcome the dualistic notion of body <> mind.

From then on, all kinds of styles and genres of vocalising and musicking may happen, some structured, some wild, some giving insight in your voice, some therapeutic. Exercises are based on yoga, musical and theatrical techniques, vipassana meditation and our innate love to play like children.

The idea behind Voice Yoga is comparable to yoga and tai-chi: the effect of the exercises is gradual. We believe that only with repeated classes you can really learn to connect the energies of voice & sound with the whole of your body and mind. You slowly become more and more familiar with your voice and its powers; you will begin to hear and feel things you did not hear and feel before. That’s why we suggest you to sign up for four classes a time after your trial class.

In a Voice Yoga Review of 2014 you can read some more.

For those seeking to enrich their voices, let off steam and unlock their hidden creative potential.
For singers and those who are afraid to sing.
For actors, musicians and other artists and professionals who work with sound.
Perhaps more than anyone else, people who want to experience and learn about the therapeutical effects of sound seem to benefit from Voice Yoga.

The class is slowly transitioning to a Mandarin class, as Mark improves his skills. Expect some English too (and don’t mind too much about the talking anyway – the sounds will speak to you).

Every class lasts 2 hours. The price is 400 NT$ for a single class, and 1500 NT$ for four classes (375 NT$ per class). Student, 65+ and disadvantaged discount of 25% (300NT$/one class ; 1125 NT$/four classes).
You do not have to attend four classes in a row but like you to use up your credit in about two months, three months at most; we’ll just tick off your presence four times and then you can sign up again for four times.

Feel free to join the Voice Yoga class any time. It is best to send a message on FB every time you want to come to the Voice Yoga Group, once you are a member (after your fist visit, usually).

You can also write to mark at fusica dot nl or send a text-message to 09 10 48 27 49.

Canjune Training Centre
4th Floor, number 3 , Lane 151, Fuxing South Road, Section 2, (this is about 20 meters from the corner of FuXing South Road). Ring the bell, go up the stairs and take the elevator to 4F.
Nearest MRT: Technology Building (10 min. walk).

真正多聲帶~不可思議的泛音唱法 Truly Multi-Voice-Incredible Overtones

真正多聲帶~不可思議的泛音唱法 Truly Multi-Voice-Incredible Overtones

748 vues•15 sept. 2019 15 1 Partager Enregistrersmbigsun洪春景 20,3 k abonnés 週六(9/14)下午2:00~4:00 「聲音瑜珈」在音樂館,即興、泛音詠唱界的傳奇人物 ~Mark Van Tongeren (馬克·范·湯格鄰 ),帶著滿場的聽眾以自己的聲音, 初步親身體驗瑜珈修練。 歡迎一起來參與! 主講: Mark Van Tongeren馬克.范.湯格鄰,荷蘭籍聲音探索家。 對藝術、科學與耐人尋味的音樂傳統有深入的研究。 馬克在劇場、音樂、與舞蹈製作有25年的經歷,為荷蘭萊登大學表演藝術博士。

(Mark Van Tongeren), with his audience in the audience, to experience the yoga practice firsthand. Come and join us! Speaker
Deep research on art, science and intriguing music traditions. Mark has 25 years of experience in theatre, music, and dance production, and is a PhD in Performing Arts at Leiden University in the Netherlands.