Overtone Music Network

a common space & database for harmonic overtones

I usually write at my own blog at www.klang440.org, but since this is a very overtone-related post, I've copied it here as well.

Ever since I stopped singing, I’ve kept a little door open somewhere in the back of my heart. Sure enough, I don’t see myself singing in chamber choirs, oratorio choirs or project choirs, and I definitely don’t want to sing solo parts in front of large audiences any longer, but deep down I’ve remained convinced that singing is an important key to…well, to me.

And what do you know, my timpani (of all instruments) have shown me a way back to singing the way I want it. I was surfing the net doing some research into timpani overtones and the ‘missing fundamental’ effect when I came across this network for overtone singers. I was quite surprised by finding so many people interested in overtones, and even more surprised by the sound samples; sure, I’m familiar with Tibetan and Mongolian overtone chanting, but some of these samples were ‘normal’ western singers who glued overtones on top of their regular singing voice. And some of the members were talking about phonetics, science, my kind of interests.

And here the Maaike principle got into action: whenever I find something really interesting and possibly life-changing, I always find a good teacher close to home. Cool principle huh? It happened to me when I discovered Alexander technique, when I started playing percussion, and sure enough, it happened with overtone singing again. I attended a workshop by Borg Diem Groeneveld yesterday, and after five minutes, I knew that this is what I’ve been looking for: a mix of body work, music, intonation, phonetics and mindfulness, with a good dose of sensibility and pragmatism.

We did all kinds of bodywork awareness exercises, and when we first started to sing overtones, I couldn’t help thinking that I was back in phonetics 101, with all the gradual transitions from one vowel to another, and I loved it. A very special experience was singing along with a Tanpura, a kind of Indian lute. Rather than singing along, the art of tanpura singing lies in singing towards or even within the tanpura overtones. It’s hard to explain in words, but it’s very much about tuning in and becoming one with the instrument. Once that happens, it’s a very beautiful experience, it’s like your whole body starts to resonate along with the overtones.

So yeah, happy times, and even more happy times ahead, because I’ve enrolled for a four-year course in overtone singing.

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