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Carole Pegg

[throat-singing, chant biphonique, chant diphonique, höömii]

A vocal style in which a single performer produces more than one clearly audible note simultaneously. In melodic overtone-singing styles, a drone is produced on the first harmonic or fundamental and a flute-like melody created from a series of upper harmonics or overtones. In non-melodic styles, overtones may occur because of the pitch of the fundamental drone combined with the vocal sounds being enunciated, for instance when Mongols sing the bass overtone-singing style harhiraa höömii or Tibetan dge lugs pa monks in Gyume and Gyütö monasteries chant using a profound bass in the chest register. Overtone-singing may also comprise a rich tapestry of harmonics without the presence of a drone.

Myths of origin vary. Tuvans believe that overtone-singing originates in lullabies sung by women dating back to the time when humans first inhabited the earth, or that it originates in the environment; Khalkha Mongols cite musical communications between natural phenomena and the effects of such sounds on humans. Both Tuvans and Mongols generally refute connections posited by Europeans of its relationship with Shamanism, Buddhism or the jew's harp. Given their beliefs about the spirits of nature, however, overtone-singing may traditionally have been linked to folk-religious practices....



Sally Sanford


Vocal technique of high-pitched sustained wailing or howling with a trilling aspect involving rapid movement of the tongue and uvula. Ululation is practised usually by women in many Arab, African, and Asian cultures. It is associated with celebrations such as weddings, and with grieving. It is used in worship in Eritrean and Ethiopian Orthodox churches. Ululation is also part of audience participation in music of the Shona in Zimbabwe. Western singers such as Joan La Barbera have incorporated ululation into their extended vocal techniques. See ...



Sally Sanford

Unvoiced vocalization technique involving a slight adduction of the vocal folds but not enough to create pitch, while still using the articulation of normal speech. Activity in the abductor muscles (the posterior cricoarytenoid) is increased in order to prevent vocal fold vibration. There is a smaller supralaryngeal aperture than in speech, creating constriction in the larynx.

Stage whispering is a louder form of whispering that has been a part of theatrical technique at least since the mid-19th century. Quiet whispering uses about twice the airflow rate of normal speech and loud whispering uses about three times the airflow. The activity in the thryopharyngeous muscles is two times greater in stage whispering than in quiet whispering, with even greater constriction in the supralaryngeal aperture. For many actors and singers, stage whispering, which is intended to be heard by the audience, can also involve some soft phonation.

Other types of unvoiced vocalization without pitch include gasping, panting, and sighing. Gasping involves a strong, sudden intake of breath through the mouth with sufficient adduction of the vocal folds so that the inhalation is audible. In panting, both inhalation and exhalation are audible during rapid, shallow, short breaths. Sighing is an audible exhalation with a slow, gentle release of the breath....