Overtone Music Network

a common space & database for harmonic overtones

Under this headline I should like to collect links and descriptions of spots which offer a speciel experience of life acoustics in the Nordic countries - Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark,  Åland, Greenland and Faroe Islands .
The logo refers to the 'Five Nordic Swans' a concept which saw daylight and was specially nourished immediately after WWII.
... and of course the swans also have their special contribtions to the world when it comes to sound!

All these acoustic 'power spots' can be found indicated with markers on the 'Sound and Resonance... Map' at the root group, the texts and some of the links are also visible there by clicking on the markers.

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...here is the image
Did you hear the whoopers?
And the sounds of strong wings?
Ready to take-off??
Vigelandsmuseet in Oslo has a remarkable acoustsics with a long reverb which was one of the main ingredients of the cd Love Is A Flow by one of the pioneers at the Scandinavian Overtone scene, danish-norwegian Birgitte Grimstad, who is the daughter of the famous danish opera singer Axel Schiøtz and consequently a sister of Bolette Schiøtz whose books and cd releases on and with overtone singing have played an important role for the danish overtone environment particularily.
You may find soundbytes of Birgitte Grimstads singing in Vigelandsmuseet at
North of Oslo in Hamar you find Hamardomen - a cathedral of steel and glass which has been raised over the ruins of the medieval cathedral. The hard surfaces of the glass in combination with the great open space gives Hamardomen unique acoustic qualities.

The anchoic chamber and the echoic chamber at Akustikvej (Acoustics Street!), The Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, north of Copenhagen.
This is the greatest acoustic contrast you can imagine in the same building: In the Anechoic Chamber the sound - like the name suggests - is dampened to a degree that it becomes a physical sensation - which you may register around your ears - of being in empty space. All the walls, the ceiling and even the floor of the 10x10x10 m space is covered with rockwool wedges. You walk on an extended steel net. It is really a challenge to sing here, but it is rewarding as the studio offers the most neutral rendering possible these days with reference Brüel & Kjaer microphones (danish state of the art engineering). The cd Subtle Summit which you can listen to on my profile page was recorded here, the photo showing a recording session with Ullarina accompanying Ashish' dhrupad singing on tanpura.
The advantage of having the neutral recording shows when you apply it to the auralizations of Odeon, the acoustic engineering company situated next door.
As a contrast to the Anechoic Chamber you may find the Echoic Chamber down the aisle (the right half of the photo). Even though it is only about 5x5x5 meters it has the sound of a cathedral because it is constructed with a deliberate focus on creating as many reflections and different lengths as possible by adding cones, dividing with bars etc. This is raw singing concrete and a peculiar experience because you cannot make the impression of the eye come accord with what you hear.

The Assistens Culture Center, Nørrebro, Copenhagen
Formerly a chapel situated at the grounds of a big cemetary relatively close to central Copenhagen the building now houses a culture center with a main focus on death. Fortunately the staff have an accepting attitude to life as well and many experimenting sound events have taken place here. The Danish Sound Association (Lydforeningen GONG) which has a special focus on overtone singing for many years has held its yearly general assembly followed by concerts in these beautiful acoustic frames. At this link you may find a YouTube video from the place featuring singer Hanne Siboni, jaw harp player Rasmus Hagedorn-Olsen and trumpetist Bjørn Ringkjøbing who is slso an excellent didge player.
Museumshallen i Krystalgade, central Copenhagen
An example of an acoustic pearl which is rarely allowed to reveal its beauty to the ears of the world. The museum hall originally was build to house the Zoological Museum in 1870. In the central hall were skeletons of giraffes, elephants etc. The museum moved in the mid-60'es and later was turned into administration office of the Copenhagen University. There has been periods years back where the main entrance was open during the day so that you could sneak in and sing in this marvelous acoustics - usually without getting disturbed. Later the access to the place was made considerably more diffcult (though not to prevent singers to use the place, I suppose), and even though it is possible to rent it for events it is exepnsive and troublesome, so it has become a forgotten acoustic temple.

Cisternerne Under Søndermarken/ The Underground Water Reservoirs underneath Søndermarken public park, Frederiksberg, Copenhagen.
As indicated we have gone underground, but really a celestial one! Tace has an important role in for the danish harmonic subculture where the overtones litteraly took momentum underground.
It was constructed as drinking water reservoir for Copenhagen in 1856 the three water tanks cover an area of 4400 m2 and held a volume of 16 million liters of water. Before it was established Copenhagen had been hit by several cholera epidemics, and this water supply was a major improvement in order to prevent that for the future. Originally they were open basins but for hygenic reasons they were covered in 1889. In the 1960's and 70's there were discussions which almost lead to establishing of swimming facilities but it died out and for almost 30 years they were virtually forgotten.
Meanwhile they had come under the custody of the Municipality of Frederiksberg which is a small 'island' inside Copenhagen, close to the center.
I had the honour to arrange the first cultural event where this danish acoustic Alhambra was opened to public in 1997. I invited the selftaught brilliant overtone singer Henrik Øhlers to gather an artistic team to set up a an event with overtone singing. He had a lucky hand involving singers Nikolaj Flor Rotne, Karl Arntz, Martin Hesselbjerg and his own wife at that time Sidsel. Furthermore I invited percussionist and didge-player Ilya Magnes and shakuhachi player Sven Åge Andersen. Somehow the word spread and by the opening night suddenly the crowd was too big to be seated at the white plastic garden chairs provided by the municipality which we had carried down in the dark. So we simply asked half of the crowd to wait up there till the first show was over and then we would repeat it... and almost everybody waited calmly for 1½ hours! The show got critical accalim in one of the major serious newspapers (Berlingske), so that was really stimulating. I can still hear the soothing tones of the 'wahlfisch' - a music instrument invented by Swiss Philip Läng, with a tone resembling a singing humpback whale.
Later I arranged a water concert and even David Hykes' voice has filled the vast space at a concert.
Most of my activity there has been with singer Hanne Siboni and the saxophone player Karsten Vogel. We have played half a dozen of concerts and recorded the cd Stained Glass Music in Cisternerne in 2004. You may hear three samples from this cd at my profile .
Meanwhile the reservoirs had become a museum for modern glass art. Visit the homepage www.cisternerne.dk

Tegners Museum, near Dronningmølle
... is a guarantee for full stimulation of all sense. The building is a museum constructed by the and for the danish 'vitalist' sculptorer Rudolph Tegner (1873-1950). It is a concrete building, almost an artist's bomb shelter. Some of his works are bombastic, some are almost etherical, some are huge - which is why they have the building anyway - some are small, most of what is inside is plaster but outside spread in a heather landscape of great beauty which is unusual for Denmark (the character of the landscape, not the beauty, that is!) there are bronzes, most of them dealing with mythological characters.
And the acoustics? You need to experience it! Subtle Voices -Ashish and I - have performed there, and at this link there is YouTube video by Hanne Siboni which gives a good impression both of the auditive and the visual atmosphere.
The cylindrical water tank which has a volume of 4500 cubic meters has a concave bottom - seen from the inside that is. So when you stand outside underneath the construction which is supported by columns it is vice versa: the shape is convex - so actually it is like being under a cupolla. The 'echo temple' which has become a famous site and tourist attraction has peculiar acoustic characteristics, one of them being a countable echo, where you may detect 20 distinct echoes in succession.
You may find photos at the bottom of this page.
Iceland offers unique listening experiences but if you are fan of reverberation you may become dissapointed, because most of the Icelandic rock ground consists of porous lava which doesn't give much echo.
What you as a sonic traveler should visit Iceland for is first and foremost the sounds of water which you may meet in most aspects all over the island, my personal favourite area is around Husavik with the Hraunfossar in the immediate vicinity. At some places, specially inland near the glaciers you may experience an outer silence with an overwhelming presence. Furthermore the termal baths spread over all Iceland offers a wonderful spectrum of opportunities experimenting with singing while your body is submerged in water which is highly recommendable.
Most of Icelands gross domestic product derrives from the fish industry. At this YouTube link danish overtone singer Søren Koldsen-Zederkof - member of the viking group 'Krauka' - has shared a video, where he is singing at an abandoned factory in Djupavik.
Swedish Lund is a stronghold for the overtone music with the headquarters of SONG (Scania Overtone Singing Association) and its omnimusical chairman Gösta Petersen. SONG has organized the Scandinavian Overtone Singing Festival in 2007 and 2009 with many international artists and an unimaginable atmosphere. The culmination of the festival 2009 was the saturday evening concert taking place in the basilica like concert hall of The University of Lund.
The regular open circle singing evenings take place at 'Klosterkirken' (the Convent Church), 2 minutes walk from the Central Station which has a direct connection to Copenhagen, one hour away. The church has beautiful acoustics which should be considered one of the main ingredients of these improvised sessions. The waiting hall at the station is also worth filling with sung tones.
Finally Lund has a beautiful cathedral which has been filled with overtone singing several times, mostly in the crypt with medieval graves. At this link you may listen to a MP3 from a project involving Anna Elwing, Lotta Folkesson, Hosoo and the local overtone ensemble Volare conducted by Gösta Petersen.
The most unexpected places may suddenly appear to be an acoustic temple. Here is Copenhagen Bussiness School whose sonic properties you can probably make an impression of from the photo alone. The principle behind the building is that simple concrete elements were used in order to reduce the costs.


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