Face Music - Traditional Singing technique - Altai people




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P & C December 1998
- Face Music / Albi

- last update 03-2016


  • more information about Singing technique of the Turkish people in Altai - available in German


Singing technique:


Kai
is one of the oldest forms of overtone singing (throat-singing) using only the lowest and highest register.
Sikit means 'to whistle' and is the highest, brightest style of overtone singing, in which the highest register of the voice is used. (In the nature every sound has overtones, even the whistling of the wind has its harmonics).

Sygyt
means 'to whistle' and is the highest, brightest style of overtone singing, in which the highest register of the voice is used. (In the nature every sound has overtones, even the whistling of the wind has its harmonics).

Karkiraa
is the lowest sound a human voice can emanate. It must rise from the deepest part of the windpipe and resonate in the chest.

Koomoi
is another kind of overtone singing with two notes – the highest and the lowest – produced at the same time. A master of koomoi is even able to produce three tones at the same time.
Overtone singing can also be heard from Turkic-speaking tribes in disparate parts of central Asia. The Bashkir musicians from the Ural Mountains call their style of overtone singing uzlyau; the Khakass call it khai and the Tuvinians khoomei.
Up to date, overtone singing is a common feature of Siberian peoples as well as the Kazakhs and Mongolian tribes. Overtone or throat singing is a special technique in which a single vocalist produces two distinct tones simultaneously. One tone is a low, sustained fundamental pitch (a kind of drone) and the second is a series of flutelike harmonics, which resonate high above this drone. Who masters this singing technique may even make the overtone sound louder then the fundamental pitch, so the drone is not audible anymore. A different technique often used by overtone singers combines a normal glottal pitch with the low frequency, pulse-like vibration known as vocal fry. The Turkic tribes in the Altai use to sing their texts in such a low vocal fry register of about 25-20 Hz).


- map sketch Gorno-Altaisk

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