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Does Khoomei actually translate to the throat or the singing? It appears that 'throat singing' is the term westerners bestowed on the form much like 'didgeridoo' is the western word for 'yidaki'. Harmonic singing' refers only to the harmonics, 'harmonic chanting' only refers to the chanting option, 'overtone singing' ignores undertones... I know it's a bit of a mouthful but perhaps it'd be more accurate to call our form of singing 'lips, tongue, nose and throat singing'. '

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... or only polyphonic singing? are 'lips, tongue, nose and throat singing' not only different techniques and aspects of polyphonic singing?
I agree that polyphonic singing is as apt as any term, and I have used it. I'm aware that polyphonic singing is also used to describe group singing in the Georgian region, as well as Sardinia.
I think we all know David Hykes statement about the term overtone singing. He had written about it here in this group a longer comment. I love "harmonic" as an item because you can use it to desribe the scales of which overtone you are singing. I am not sure at the moment: is an undertone a harmonic too? I think so but I am autodidact. I love harmonic as an idiom because mostly we all want to be in harmony and in a choir you have to be to chime in with all other singers. Overtone singing, throatsinging is a reduction of a technique and a phenomenon ... polyphonic singing is more in my mind but i am looking forward what our others friends think and feel about it.
Absolutely. That's one of the many exciting things about it. There are so many applications and techniques, all a little bit different and so broad as to feature masters of different specialties. There is also the shamanic component. I know you can't really call it 'lips, tongue, nose and throat singing'. I also like the term 'harmonics' and use it frequently. 'Polyphonics' is probably accurate. I think we may well live to see some special discoveries about our wonderful form of singing.
Hello,at least you should call it polyphonic SOLO singing ,but still (in my oppinion) it's no good to use a term that is well introduced to differentiate certain amounts of independance in the movements of DIFFERENT voices in group singing.As i learned in University, it's already hard enough to propperly define polyphonic (group)-singing,so let's not make thinks more confused.An undertone is only theoretically there ,you won't hear and it in reality.What you have in Kargyraa is a second source of sound producing (i can't recall the name of the apparatus now) ,but from this sound again the overtones or more scientifically the" partials "are manipulated plus the normal voice which is there too.So if you manage to finetune the harmonics of both the normal voice and the extra sound ,you can have 4 sounds at the same time as you can hear on the sampler "Deep in the Heart of Tuva" on track 2 (Aldyn Ool Sevek
doing Mountain Kargyraa if i remember correctly).
I would keep the term overtone singing for all forms,because it marks the well the intended work with partials or overtones you find in the different traditions and throatsinging if you refer to inner asian traditions specifically,because at least in Tuva it's the common name for all the different styles together.
Okay, let's revive this Franken-thread...

Nomenclature has always been a companion in my life as a scholar. I grew up multilingual, speaking both English and German, which is rather confusing sometimes as they are both similar in etymology, but radically different in some ways, and then there are exceptions to the rules....

As westerners, I have been told, we appear to have a strange obsession with the precise naming of things. Just look at how we name animal and plant species... ornithorhynchus anatinus, Platypus...

Of course there are always ambiguous terms in circulation, and some simplified expressions may eventually become popular enough to push the 'original' words into obscurity until they finally become 'archaic'. As an example: 'horseless carriage' was replaced by 'motorcar' and 'automobile', but only 'auto' (as in auto repair) and 'car' actually survived, and even though 'car' means something else originally, it replaced the more precise term.

It seems some words are being constantly redefined. There seem to be certain families of words which describe similar things or events but are distinguished by add-ons or pre- and suffixes. As an example: 'storm' which is a violent disturbance of the atmosphere with strong winds. Then there are hail storms, rain storms, fire storms, snow storms, sand storms etc., etc. What I don't understand is why it is necessary to disambiguate this by using the term 'wind storm' to distinguish a rainless storm with nothing but wind from all sub-types. I believe this is as redundant as saying "water river" or "air wind" or "CD disc". I could go on....

So similarly, the Tuvans call all their special singing "Khoomei", with sub-techniques and styles named individually, and it's all difficult to separate and distinguish by even using the names THEY have for it. So we Westerners go about and try to classify all this by giving it our own names, and we can't agree on what to call what.

Coming from different language roots, I like 'overtone singing' as it sounds eclectic and interesting. I agree that anyone who learns more about it will find the term inadequate as discussed above, but 'harmonic singing' doesn't quite cut it either. Nor does 'overtone chanting' or 'throat singing' because they seem to describe certain aspects, facets of a larger whole. By the way, the Northern Canadian natives practice katajjaq, a duet-style musical improvisation that they themselves describe as "throat games" rather than singing. It is really not a song per se, but rather a back-and-forth of sounds and syllables between two "players" who stand face to face and take turns humming and growling rhythmically, trying to mimic and mirror each other until either one "screws up", ending the 'song' usually in laughter. It appears that 'throat singing' is something us whites invented as a term.

What I find interesting here is that we try to distinguish a special vocal technique by using confusing terminology. All singing uses the throat, really, without your throat you can't sing. I suggest to consider how much different thing would be if the first white man had called it 'chest singing' or 'diaphragm singing', both of which are equally as wrong as 'throat singing', technically.

'Polyphonic voice modulation' is probably to complicated and may also give someone the impression the artist is using an effects pedal to sing through...

'Harmonic overtone singing' is what I use when I explain it to lay people, even if I am speaking about Tuvan or Western styles respectively. Constricted or not, THAT is what makes it the same for me.

When I sing overtones, I shape my throat to color the sound, I shape my mouth cavity with my tongue and lips, and I may use the nasal port to add resonance. Whether I constrict my throat to achieve a Tuvan style vocal or don't to sound "Western" doesn't matter... to me it's NOT all about the throaty sounds, and also not just about the overtones. When on my own just humming and singing I often do a "sloppy" version of WO with a distinctive fundamental and flowing, subtle overtones and almost no constriction. It's not focused on melody or sounding technically correct in any way, just playing around with all the "knobs".

In conclusion, I call this "multi-tonal solo vocalisation".
Thank you Dan - that was a lyrical and logical response.

Dan Zimmermann said:
Okay, let's revive this Franken-thread...

Nomenclature has always been a companion in my life as a scholar. I grew up multilingual, speaking both English and German, which is rather confusing sometimes as they are both similar in etymology, but radically different in some ways, and then there are exceptions to the rules....

As westerners, I have been told, we appear to have a strange obsession with the precise naming of things. Just look at how we name animal and plant species... ornithorhynchus anatinus, Platypus...

Of course there are always ambiguous terms in circulation, and some simplified expressions may eventually become popular enough to push the 'original' words into obscurity until they finally become 'archaic'. As an example: 'horseless carriage' was replaced by 'motorcar' and 'automobile', but only 'auto' (as in auto repair) and 'car' actually survived, and even though 'car' means something else originally, it replaced the more precise term.

It seems some words are being constantly redefined. There seem to be certain families of words which describe similar things or events but are distinguished by add-ons or pre- and suffixes. As an example: 'storm' which is a violent disturbance of the atmosphere with strong winds. Then there are hail storms, rain storms, fire storms, snow storms, sand storms etc., etc. What I don't understand is why it is necessary to disambiguate this by using the term 'wind storm' to distinguish a rainless storm with nothing but wind from all sub-types. I believe this is as redundant as saying "water river" or "air wind" or "CD disc". I could go on....

So similarly, the Tuvans call all their special singing "Khoomei", with sub-techniques and styles named individually, and it's all difficult to separate and distinguish by even using the names THEY have for it. So we Westerners go about and try to classify all this by giving it our own names, and we can't agree on what to call what.

Coming from different language roots, I like 'overtone singing' as it sounds eclectic and interesting. I agree that anyone who learns more about it will find the term inadequate as discussed above, but 'harmonic singing' doesn't quite cut it either. Nor does 'overtone chanting' or 'throat singing' because they seem to describe certain aspects, facets of a larger whole. By the way, the Northern Canadian natives practice katajjaq, a duet-style musical improvisation that they themselves describe as "throat games" rather than singing. It is really not a song per se, but rather a back-and-forth of sounds and syllables between two "players" who stand face to face and take turns humming and growling rhythmically, trying to mimic and mirror each other until either one "screws up", ending the 'song' usually in laughter. It appears that 'throat singing' is something us whites invented as a term.

What I find interesting here is that we try to distinguish a special vocal technique by using confusing terminology. All singing uses the throat, really, without your throat you can't sing. I suggest to consider how much different thing would be if the first white man had called it 'chest singing' or 'diaphragm singing', both of which are equally as wrong as 'throat singing', technically.

'Polyphonic voice modulation' is probably to complicated and may also give someone the impression the artist is using an effects pedal to sing through...

'Harmonic overtone singing' is what I use when I explain it to lay people, even if I am speaking about Tuvan or Western styles respectively. Constricted or not, THAT is what makes it the same for me.

When I sing overtones, I shape my throat to color the sound, I shape my mouth cavity with my tongue and lips, and I may use the nasal port to add resonance. Whether I constrict my throat to achieve a Tuvan style vocal or don't to sound "Western" doesn't matter... to me it's NOT all about the throaty sounds, and also not just about the overtones. When on my own just humming and singing I often do a "sloppy" version of WO with a distinctive fundamental and flowing, subtle overtones and almost no constriction. It's not focused on melody or sounding technically correct in any way, just playing around with all the "knobs".

In conclusion, I call this "multi-tonal solo vocalisation".
Well, thanks for the acknowledgement, Dean. In fact, this type of discussion is one of my favorites, discussing nomenclature and etymology.

Actually, I very much share the sentiment of wanting to name everything, and every variation should have its own distinct moniker, but that is someone else's life's work.

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