Listen to khoomii, or Throat Singing, and Discover More About This Unique Art of Mongolia

Listen to khoomii or Throat Singing mongolia

Khoomi, sometimes referred to as Tuvan Throat Singing, is a singing art performed by ethnic artists from the Mongolian city Tuva. It is also portrayed in other parts of Mongolia and Siberia too. This ancestral sound-producing directly from a person’s throat can generate different types of voices. This includes the sound of flowing water near a stream or the sound of rain in a forest. The artists typically use a range of different styles in which a vocalist generates more than one pitch simultaneously at the same time by applying certain harmonics of the fundamental pitch using upper vocal cords. Westerns usually referred to this kind of music as overtone-singing or high-pitched singing.

Pre-requisites And Essentials of Khoomi

The pre-requisites and essentials of khoomi or throat singing require activating different sets of muscles to manipulate the resonating chambers of the vocal cords and tract under certain pressure. The sustained and constant pressurized airflow must be in between the chest and stomach. As with melodramatic singing and generating that kind of voice directly from the throat, the skills and expertise require years of training to be a master.

Origin and Context:

Khoomi / throat-singing or overtone-singing started from the native locals and indigenous Turk and Mongol tribes of the Syan and Altai mountains of southern Siberia. Some historians also believe that this came from western Mongolia. These local tribes and communities are related to Inner Asian culture, which lies midway of the snowcapped mountains between Central Asia, East Asia and encompasses portions of these mountainous and geopolitical systems:  Mongolia, Russia (the republics China including autonomous regions of Tibet and Mongolia. The region consists of many migratory and local people who share the common cultural and musical practice of using harmonically rich vocal drones and timbres.

However, some scholars are not certain as to exactly when and where Khoomi or throat-singing was originated, but they are certain about one element that this singing pattern and technique style has been around for multiple centuries and is a main component and ingredient to both Tuvan and Mongolian culture.

Ethnomusicologists firmly believe that the evolution and occurrence of Khoomi or throat-singing in Mongolia and Tuva were largely affected by the regions and their geography. Most of Tuva (around 80%), located in south-eastern Siberia, which consists of mountains while Mongolia is a unique combination of grasslands and enormous mountainous areas.

Styles & 21st Century:

Singing styles and classifications change according to regions and areas. In western Mongolia, singing styles are recognized usually by the parts of the vocal cords that figure notably in the manipulation of timbre and pitch. For example, the Bait people point to the root of tongue style, and western distinguish it from labial, nasal part, glottal or throat, and chest or stomach styles. The westerns culture also uses a deep and non-melodic throat-singing style bass, and certain ethnomusicologists can merge a number of styles with lyrics. However, Tyvans often refers to singing patterns in relation to geography & landscape.

Tyvans developed throat-singing most prominently.

Apart from all the discussions above, Tyvans were the ones who have developed throat-singing most prominently. Though classificatory debates surrounds among Tyvans and Mongolians’ indigenous teachers, scholars, and performers as well as among Western academics, there are three broadly acknowledged styles of Tyvan throat-singing: khöömei, which also indicates a soft throat style with light harmonics above a generic vocal drone; sygyt, with a clear whistle-like sound or melody above vocal drones; and kargyraa, a low growling that is filled in undertones.

The Inner Asians

Khoomi or throat-singers usually called themselves on the Inner Asian, with its pegboard often carved in the symmetry of a horse’s head. As far as the female performance of throat-singing is concerned, female of this region was supposed to cause infertility or to bring misfortune on the performers’ menfolk for seven generations. However, after the 20th century, a number of female musicians and singers have started to sing challenge these generic norms and taboos.

Throat-singing has been taken up by musicians in neighboring countries.

Since the late 20th century, innovative musicians have mixed throat-singing and Khoomi with various instruments and other international cultural styles by establishing a place for the genre within the commercial kingdom of the musical universe. After the breakup of the USSR in 1992, Inner Asians have been able to travel more independently. As a result, throat-singing has been taken up by musicians in neighboring countries and areas such as Kyrgyzstan and the Russian republic of Buryatia. The West has developed its own theme, largely as part of a “New Style” of alternative beliefs about nature, the earth, healing, and spirituality.