Throat singing

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Throat singing refers to several vocal practices found in different cultures around the world.[1][2][3][4] The most distinctive feature of such vocal practices is to be associated to some type of guttural voice, that contrasts with the most common types of voices employed in singing, which are usually represented by chest (modal) and head (light, or falsetto) registers. Also, throat singing is often described as producing the sensation of more than one pitch at a time, i.e., the listener perceives two or more distinct musical notes, while the singer is producing a single vocalization.

Throat singing, therefore, consists of a wide range of singing techniques that originally belong to particular cultures and seem to share some sounding characteristics that make them especially noticeable by other cultures and users of mainstream singing styles.[5][6][7][8][9] The term originates from the translation of the Tuvan/Mongolian word Xhöömei/Xhöömi, that literally means throat, guttural.[10] Ethnic groups from Russia, Mongolia, Japan, South Africa, Canada, Italy, China and India, among others, accept and normally employ the term throat singing to describe their special way of producing voice and song.

The term throat singing is obviously not precise, because any singing technique involves the sound generation in the "throat", i.e., the voice produced at the level of the larynx, which includes the vocal folds and other structures.[7][11][12][9] Therefore it would be, in principle, admissible to refer to classical operatic singing or pop singing as "throat singing" for instance. However, the term throat is not adopted by the official terminology of anatomy (Terminologia Anatomica) and is not technically associated with most of the singing techniques. Many authors, performers, coaches and listeners associate throat singing to overtone singing. Throat singing and overtone singing are certainly not synonyms, contrary to what is innacurately indicated by many dictionaires (e.g. , in the definition by Britannica) but, in some cases, both aspects may be clearly present, such as in the khargyraa technique from Tuva, with a very deep, tense voice, and rich overtone enhancements and embelishments.

Furthermore, "singing with the throat" may be regarded as a demeaning expression to some singers, because it may imply that the singer is using a high level of effort, resulting in a rather forced or non-suitable voice. The word "throaty" is usually associated to a rough, raspy, breathy or hoarse voice. In spite of being a term frequently used in the literature starting in the 1960's, some contemporary scholars tend to avoid the use of throat singing as a general term.

There is a consistent and enthusiastic international reception for concerts and workshops given by musical groups belonging to the several cultures that incorporate throat singing [1][2]. Besides the traditional ethnic performances, throat singing is also cultivated and explored by numerous musicians belonging to contemporary, rock, new-age, pop and independent movements. Throat singing listening and emition is experimentally employed in music therapy for Huntington's disease, for instance.[13] The most relevant contemporary and rock musician using throat singing techniques in the 20th century was the italian-greek artist Demetrio Stratos.[14]

Types of throat singing[edit]

Throat singing techniques may be classified under (1) an ethnomusicological approach: considering the various cultural aspects, the association to rituals, religious practices, storytelling, labor songs, vocal games, and other contexts; (2) a musical approach: considering their artistic use, the basic acoustical principles, and the physiological and mechanical procedures to learn, train and produce them.

The most commonly referred types of throat singing techniques, present in musicological and ethnomusicological texts, are generally associated with ancient cultures. Some of them, as the Khöömei from Mongolia, Tuva and China, and the Canto Tenore from Sardinia, are aknowledged by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage.

  • Tuvan throat singing, a form of singing, comprising several techniques, practiced in the Republic of Tuva, belonging to the Russian federation.[15][16][17][1]
  • Mongolian throat singing, a form of singing, comprising several techniques, practiced in Mongolia and in China[18][2][3][4].
  • Buddhist chant, found in some monasteries in India (Tibetan exiled communities) and Tibet, sometimes involving vocal-ventricular phonation, i.e., combined vibrations of the (true) vocal folds and the (false) ventricular folds, achieving very low pitches.[19][2][20]
  • Inuit throat singing, the kind of duet as an entertaining contest, practiced by the aboriginal Inuit cultures in Canada (formerly called Eskimos) and other territories in the Arctic Circle[21]
  • Rekuhkara, formerly practiced by the Ainu ethnic group of Hokkaidō Island, Japan[22]
  • Canto a tenore, or Sardinian throat singing, found in the Italian island [23][5]

In musically related terms, throat singing refers among others, to the following specific techniques:

  • Overtone singing, also known as overtone chanting, or harmonic singing. This is the singing style more commonly associated with throat singing.[24][25][26][27][28]
  • Undertone singing[29] i.e., techniques that comprise subharmonics, generated by the combined vibrations of parts of the singing apparatus at a certain frequency and frequencies that correspond to integer divisions of such frequency, such as 1:2, 1:3, and 1:4 ratios.[8]
  • Diplophonic voice, i.e., techniques that consist of parts of the singing apparatus vibrating at non-integer ratios, are usually regarded as associated with pathological processes - see diplophonia.[30]
  • Growling voice - consists of a technique of growling, which employs structures of the vocal apparatus located above the larynx, vibrating at the same time as the vocal folds, particularly the aryepiglottic folds.[31]
  • Vocal Fry,[32] a technique associated to vocal fry register.

Audio examples[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Aksenov, A. N. (1973). "Tuvin Folk Music". Asian Music. 4 (2): 7–18. doi:10.2307/833827. JSTOR 833827.
  2. ^ a b c Lindestad, P. A.; Södersten, M.; Merker, B.; Granqvist, S. (2001). "Voice source characteristics in Mongolian "throat singing" studied with high-speed imaging technique, acoustic spectra, and inverse filtering". Journal of Voice: Official Journal of the Voice Foundation. 15 (1): 78–85. doi:10.1016/S0892-1997(01)00008-X. ISSN 0892-1997. PMID 12269637.
  3. ^ Kob, Malte; Henrich, Nathalie; Herzel, Hanspeter; Howard, David; Tokuda, Isao; Wolfe, Joe (2011-09-01). "Analysing and Understanding the Singing Voice: Recent Progress and Open Questions". Current Bioinformatics. 6 (3): 362–374. doi:10.2174/157489311796904709. ISSN 1574-8936.
  4. ^ Sundberg, Johan (2015). Die Wissenschaft von der Singstimme. Wissner-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-89639-959-5. OCLC 1001652162.
  5. ^ Story, Brad (2019-04-11), Welch, Graham F.; Howard, David M.; Nix, John (eds.), "The Vocal Tract in Singing", The Oxford Handbook of Singing, Oxford University Press, pp. 144–166, doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199660773.013.012, ISBN 978-0-19-966077-3, retrieved 2021-10-01
  6. ^ Mergell, Patrick; Herzel, Hanspeter (1997). "Modelling biphonation — The role of the vocal tract". Speech Communication. 22 (2–3): 141–154. doi:10.1016/S0167-6393(97)00016-2.
  7. ^ a b Lindblom, B. E.; Sundberg, J. E. (1971). "Acoustical consequences of lip, tongue, jaw, and larynx movement". The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 50 (4): 1166–1179. doi:10.1121/1.1912750. ISSN 0001-4966. PMID 5117649.
  8. ^ a b Fuks, L, B Hammarberg, J Sundberg (1998). "A self-sustained vocal-ventricular phonation mode: acoustical, aerodynamic and glottographic evidences". KTH TMH-QPSR: 49–59.
  9. ^ a b Edmondson, Jerold A.; Esling, John H. (2006). "The valves of the throat and their functioning in tone, vocal register and stress: laryngoscopic case studies". Phonology. 23 (2): 157–191. doi:10.1017/S095267570600087X. ISSN 0952-6757. S2CID 62531440.
  10. ^ Walcott, Ronald (1974). "The Chöömij of Mongolia: A Spectral Analysis of Overtone Singing". SELECTED REPORTS IN Ethnomusicology. Volume II, No. 1 1974. |volume= has extra text (help)
  11. ^ Story, B. H.; Titze, I. R.; Hoffman, E. A. (1996). "Vocal tract area functions from magnetic resonance imaging". The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 100 (1): 537–554. doi:10.1121/1.415960. ISSN 0001-4966. PMID 8675847.
  12. ^ Johan, Sundberg (2007). Röstlära : fakta om rösten i tal och sång. Johan Sundberg. ISBN 978-91-633-0485-9. OCLC 862100792.CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  13. ^ Therova, Sona; Motyckova, Eva (2018). "Holistic musictherapy in huntington´s disease". Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry. 89 (Suppl 1): A83.
  14. ^ El Haouli, Janete (2020). Demetrio Stratos: In Search of Voice-Music. Janete El Haouli. ASIN B088QQXDSD.
  15. ^ Grawunder, Sven (2009). On the physiology of voice production in South-Siberian throat singing : analysis of acoustic and electrophysiological evidences. Berlin: Frank & Timme. ISBN 978-3-86596-995-8. OCLC 844248903.
  16. ^ Levin, Theodore (2019). Where rivers and mountains sing : sound, music, and nomadism in tuva and beyond. Valentina Süzükei. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-04502-7. OCLC 1125296084.
  17. ^ Levin, T. C.; Edgerton, M. E. (1999). "The throat singers of Tuva". Scientific American. 281 (3): 80–87. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0999-80. ISSN 0036-8733. PMID 10467751.
  18. ^ Adachi, S.; Yamada, M. (1999). "An acoustical study of sound production in biphonic singing, Xöömij". The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 105 (5): 2920–2932. doi:10.1121/1.426905. ISSN 0001-4966. PMID 10335641.
  19. ^ Smith, Huston; Stevens, Kenneth N.; Tomlinson, Raymond S. (1967). "On an Unusual Mode of Chanting by Certain Tibetan Lamas". The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 41 (5): 1262–1264. doi:10.1121/1.1910466. ISSN 0001-4966.
  20. ^ Pillot, Claire (1997). "Les voix du monde. Une anthologie des expressions vocales". Cahiers de musiques traditionnelles. 10: 333. doi:10.2307/40240285. ISSN 1015-5775. JSTOR 40240285.
  21. ^ Nattiez, Jean-Jacques (1999). "Inuit Throat-Games and Siberian Throat Singing: A Comparative, Historical, and Semiological Approach". Ethnomusicology. 43 (3): 399–418. doi:10.2307/852555. JSTOR 852555.
  22. ^ Nattiez, Jean-Jacques (1983). "The Rekkukara of the Ainu (Japan) and the Katajjaq of the Inuit (Canada): A Comparison". The World of Music. 25 (2): 33–44. ISSN 0043-8774. JSTOR 43560906.
  23. ^ Mercurio, Paolo (2013). Introduzione alla musica sarda : de musica sardiniae, praefatio. Narcissus. ISBN 978-88-6885-013-5. OCLC 955227257.
  24. ^ Kob, Malte (2004). "Analysis and modelling of overtone singing in the sygyt style". Applied Acoustics. 65 (12): 1249–1259. doi:10.1016/j.apacoust.2004.04.010.
  25. ^ Bergevin, Christopher; Narayan, Chandan; Williams, Joy; Mhatre, Natasha; Steeves, Jennifer KE; Bernstein, Joshua GW; Story, Brad (2020-02-17). "Overtone focusing in biphonic tuvan throat singing". eLife. 9: e50476. doi:10.7554/eLife.50476. ISSN 2050-084X. PMC 7064340. PMID 32048990.
  26. ^ Bloothooft, G.; Bringmann, E.; van Cappellen, M.; van Luipen, J. B.; Thomassen, K. P. (1992). "Acoustics and perception of overtone singing". The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 92 (4 Pt 1): 1827–1836. doi:10.1121/1.403839. ISSN 0001-4966. PMID 1401528.
  27. ^ Grawunder, Sven (2003). Comparison of voice production types of western overtone singing and South Siberian throat singing (ICPhS Barcelona ed.). Barcelona: UAB. pp. 1699–1702. ISBN 1-876346-48-5.
  28. ^ Klingholtz, F (1993). "Overtone singing: productive mechanisms and acoustic data". Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 7: 188-122.
  29. ^ Švec, Jan G.; Schutte, Harm K.; Miller, Donald G. (February 1996). "A Subharmonic Vibratory Pattern in Normal Vocal Folds". Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. 39 (1): 135–143. doi:10.1044/jshr.3901.135. ISSN 1092-4388. PMID 8820705.
  30. ^ Herzel, Hanspeter; Reuter, Robert (1996). "Biphonation in voice signals". AIP Conference Proceedings. Mystic, Connecticut (USA): AIP. 375: 644–657. doi:10.1063/1.51002.
  31. ^ Sakakibara, K-I, Fuks L, Imagawa H (2004). Growl Voice in Ethnic and Pop Styles. Nara, Japan: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Musical Acoustics, ISMA 2004. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.477.4267.
  32. ^ Lindsey, Geoff (2019), "Chapter 27 Vocal Fry", English After RP, Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp. 95–96, doi:10.1007/978-3-030-04357-5_28, ISBN 978-3-030-04356-8, retrieved 2021-10-01