Tuvan Throat Singers Essay Research Paper Throat

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Tuvan Throat Singers Essay, Research Paper Throat singing is a unique method of singing, or vocal art in which a singer can simultaneously sing, creating two, sometimes three or four notes. This miraculous method of singing is exercised by a number of Asian tribes, and a rich tradition survives in Tuva. Located deep in Siberia surrounded by grasslands, forests and mountains, the presence of humans is rare, in fact the whole population numbers only 150,000. The people who occupy this land, seem to be one with nature, and have a deep heritage tied to the land. The Tuvan throat singers come from a nomadic herding culture in which men would spend hours even days alone on horseback with only their animals and nature to call on for company. It was through this loneliness and place

in nature that throat singing was developed. It is a form of stylized storytelling where the music represents sounds of nature: running streams or birds for example. The act of throat singing is highly personal to the Tuvans, as they believe it connects them closer to the spirit of nature. Throat singing is typically practiced by men because of a taboo placed against female throat singing, based on a belief that it caused infertility. In more recent times some younger women are beginning to practice throat singing. Referred to as Khoomei by the Tuvan natives, its origin still a bit of a mystery, its purpose was to reproduce the sounds of nature. Throat singing usually consists of one low, sustained fundamental pitch (comparing to the drone of a bagpipe) and a second pitch is much

higher and more harmonic (similar to a flute or whistle type sound). This second, higher pitch is manipulated to represent the sounds of nature, and alters in pitch unlike the lower tone which stays relatively the same throughout a song. So one human voice is creating two or three separate tones at one time. People in western culture found this hard to believe; one person creating two separate tones, how can this be done. Through much research and study on Tuvan throat singing an answer was obtained. Throat singers manipulate their vocal chords in such a way to create the separate sounds. Researchers in New York City went so far as to use a “fiber optic endoscope placed through the nose and throat to see what the throat singers actually did.” Researchers found that singers

used false vocal chords (in the throat) “and the aryepiglottic folds” as well as their tongue to create different chambers in which separate sounds were produced. More easily put, the singers curl their tongues up to their palates, thus creating the separate chambers in their mouths. These separate chambers are necessary for the creation of the multiple sounds. The sounds created vary sometimes nothing more than a buzzing, others clear and crisp resembling a flute. Each sound created having its own place in one song or another. Through time styles of throat singing have evolved and developed. Performances include a mixture of styles, much more so than in the past. Although not set in stone there is said to be five major styles of throat singing. These include Khoomei,

Kargyraa, Sygyt, Borbangnadyr, and Ezengileer. The first three styles are more recognized than the last two though. The first method listed is Khoomei, which I had mentioned earlier as the name the Tuvans call throat singing. It is also though a particular style of throat singing. Khoomei is a softer sounding method. The higher notes (harmonics) are clear but quite soft and diffused, they are above a fundamental (lower) pitch. In this style two or more notes are clearly audible. It is also often said that Khoomei is one of the easiest and most basic methods of throat singing there is to learn. Khoomei style singing is also the example presented to us in class as the example of throat singing given earlier in the year. The second style, Kargyraa, is usually performed quite low in