Chanting and Overtone Singing
Level 1 (CQFW Level 4), 10 Credits.
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Any tone that we make with our voice contains a series of hidden tones that we don’t normally hear. Overtone chanting isolates these overtones to produce an often beautiful sound. This class explores many forms of chanting and teaches you the first stages of overtoning. No singing skills are required.
Topics under discussion include:
- What is chant? History of Western chant from Gregorian to Polyphony and beyond.
- Chanting in other cultures: Native American, Indic, Buddhist.
- Tones and overtones. Elementary description of the physics of sound.
- Pitch, intervals and the overtone series.
- Breathing for singing and chant. Practical exploration of different breathing patterns. How the breath vibrates the vocal folds.
- Vowels and formants. How the resonance chambers shape the sound. Class exploration of cardinal vowels and chanting practice.
- Styles of overtone chanting, from ‘throat singing’ to the ‘flute note’.
- Exploration of harmonic patterns using computer software.
- Practical class instruction for students to produce their own overtones.
Who is this course for?
Anyone who is interested in music and who would like to know more about chanting and overtone singing (also known as throat singing). If you think that the human voice can produce only one note at a time, this style of singing will both surprise and delight!
Learning and Teaching
Learning and teaching are undertaken by means of small group work. Methods include aural analysis (recorded musical examples) and presentation of material on video and/or DVD. Students receive verbal and PowerPoint instruction in all aspects of the course, and will be invited to contribute at every point. They also receive practical instruction in breathing and sound production. One of the principal aims of this method is to stimulate students into discussion and debate, and further exploration.
Coursework and Assessment
To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.
You will not have formal examinations but you may have class tasks and tests. You may be asked to write assignments, keep a course journal or put together a portfolio. Our assessments are flexible to suit the course and the student.
The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.
General bibliography (more detailed items, including electronic resources, will be discussed and provided in class):
Galgut, P: Humming Your Way to Happiness: An Introduction to Tuva and Overtone Singing from Around the World (Netherlands: O Book Publisher, 2005)
Ruiter, D de, and Vrolijk, V: Harmonic Overtones: Magical Vibrations in Voice and Music (Binkey Kok Publications, 2003)
Tongeren, MC van: Overtone Singing: Physics and Metaphysics of Harmonics in East and West, 2nd rev. edition (Eburon Academic Publishers, 2004)
Library and Computing Facilities
As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University library and computing facilities. You can find out more about these facilities on our website www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn under Student Information, or by ringing the Centre on
(029) 2087 0000.
Accessibility of Courses
Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and Dyslexia screening. Please contact the Centre on (029) 2087 0000 for an information leaflet.
A range of further information can be found on our web site www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn or in Choices. This includes the times and dates of courses and an explanation of accreditation and credit levels.