Overtone Music Network

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The Complete Voice

Before symbolic language developed, there existed a high order of communication. This used gesture, facial expression, posture, and mimicry in movement and sound. Communication was slow but effective. Under these conditions human social behaviour and identity developed. As with much of evolution, behavior led and brain and body development followed.
As time went by and intelligence and the capacity for memory grew. It was found that communication could be accelerated and made more accurate if names were given to all things including each person. Rather than needing to imitate the sound and the movement of a wolf, snake, insect, or person, the name could be used. Information could then be passed through the generations and through the tribes. Selective pressure meant that the best communicators as individuals and as tribes had evolutionary advantages. Grammar and syntax developed and became so important that it left its mark in the genetics of all people. Other primates, animals and birds have the equivalent of words.
Several hundred thousand years ago, complete symbolic languages developed. Stories that had once taken hours to tell could be told in minutes. Adults became the great teachers and our children became the great learners, ensuring our capacity to survive and learn from all the experiences that life could offer. It had taken millions of years of slow and incremental evolution to develop the capacity for symbolic language and within a short space of time, it became universal.
Inside the brain, structures dedicated to understanding the ancient forms of communication were suddenly required to decode human sound. Recognition of meaning needed to be instantaneous for conversation to develop. Words and sentences had to flow rather than be slowed by deliberate remembering of words. Childhood ensured a total familiarity with the lexicon and grammar and syntax necessary for adult life.
Another revolution happened in parallel to symbolic language development. Thought harnessed language for an internal dialogue. Communication could be rehearsed. Ideas could be manipulated more easily. Problems could be identified and later, discussed with companions.

There were consequences of this rapid evolution and revolution. Human sound has 3 sources. The first is the voicebox consisting of the vocal chords which give accuracy to the pitch, and the false chords which give volume as well as protection to the vocal chords. The second system is the musical note contained within each syllable – the vowel. This note is determined by the volume of the space inside the mouth and the size of the lip aperture. A third system relates to the length of the throat space. The maximum length is found when vocalizing when yawning and is also linked to a maximum emotion sound. The shortest throat space makes the voice sound child-like.
In the ancient times before symbolic language, individuals were masters of all sound in both production and interpretation. After symbolic language, the part of the brain that had been analyzing human sound in for its musical character was required to decode the sound. Attention was directed away from the actual musicality of the sound and toward its meaning.
The ancient art of Harmonic or Overtone singing was lost. It was no longer an essential skill. The ability to be musical became less important than to be a great communicator. The overtones that were required to imitate animals, birds and each other were lost. Some cultures around the world today have chanced upon these ancient potentials and integrated them into their rituals, but for most people, these sounds are just weird noises. When they hear them they are listening for sound code and all they get is pure music. Even though the ear is designed by evolution to hear all human sound clearly, children deprived of any contact with overtones used as music will grow up unprepared to develop their capacity for the production or for the listening to sound that is the perfection of human noise.
This is a difficult concept for most to grasp because it is only accessible to those who have broken out of the regimentation that symbolic language enforces. The idea that human sound can be mastered is alien to most and irrelevant to many. Songs are sung without emotion embedded within. The sung or spoken notes bear no relevance to the music of the vowel (except in Asian languages which is why most Asians have perfect pitch).
Perhaps the greatest use of human harmonics in ancient times was in courtship. Song certainly played a major part in emotion and pair bonding. We still see vestiges of this in teens idolizing rock stars. It is the unskilled trying to find a genetic superior but settling for the best of a range of equally poor choices. Harmonic singers are denigrated to being the masters of weird, inappropriate, annoying, nonsense sound. How sad.

Peter Gleeson
on youtube thevoiceharmonic
thevoice@iinet.net.au
From Bendigo, Victoria, Australia

This content has been seen 73 times

Comment by Jens Mügge on April 23, 2010 at 1:52pm
Hi Peter,

I visisted your channel on YouTube and I am really impressed
by all your videos there. I hope you allows me that I added two
of your videos to my VODPOD collection

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