Still, still, still – for Overtone Singing and Keys

Still, still, still is an Austrian Christmas carol from the Salzburg region. It first appeared in print in 1865 in a collection of carols with the following text, which is no longer common today:

1. Sleep, sleep, sleep, my precious baby sleep!
Maria sings a lullaby sweet
And lays her true heart at your feet.
Sleep, sleep, sleep, my precious baby sleep!

2. Great, great, great, the love is more than great.
God has left his throne on high,
To walk the street, to come us nigh.
Great, great, great, the love is more than great.

3. Rise, rise, rise, all Adam’s children rise.
O, kneel at the feet of Jesus now,
Our sins to atone he did vow.
Rise, rise, rise, all Adam’s children rise.

4. We, we, we, ee all implore Thee:
Open for us heaven’s gate
Let your kingdom be our fate.
We, we, we, – we all implore Thee.

5. Rest, rest, rest, allow the Child to rest.
Saint Joseph snuffs the candle out,
Angels are guarding all about.
Rest, rest, rest, allow the Child to rest.

(Translation wikipedia)

Performers:
Michael Reimann – Keys
https://michaelreimann.de/
Wolfgang Saus – Overtone Singing
https://www.oberton.org/
Video – josephphackney pixabay
https://pixabay.com/

What a sound! – Young Ensemble Dreden, Olaf Katzer, Jan Heinke

Such sounds cast a spell over me. Those who know me know how much contemporary choral music touches me. And as an overtone singer, I have been trying to bring overtone awareness to choirs for almost four decades. I am all the happier when composers who know something about overtone singing write choral music.

Jan Heinke is an absolutely exceptional musician. We have been friends for many years now, and Jan never fails to impress me with his deeply reflective worldview. His music is unique in the world, his playing on the steel cello he built, his ultra low bass and the virtuosity of his overtone singing. The Junge Ensemble Dresden under the direction of Olaf Katzer is one of the top chamber choirs in Germany and one of the select ones dedicated to contemporary classical music at the highest level.

You find the CD here: https://jungesensembledresden.de/cd

CD „Licht über Licht“
Performer: Junges Ensemble Dresden
Artistic direction: Olaf Katzer
Soloist overtone singing: Jan Heinke
Total playing time: 61:30

Jan Heinke: http://www.janheinke.de/, http://www.stahlquartett.de/

“Es ist ein Ros entsprungen” – for Overtone Singing and Piano

Noten aus dem Speyerer Gesangbuch 1599 - Es ist ein Ros entsprungen“Es ist ein Ros entsprungen” is a Christmas carol from the Speyerer Gesangbuch 1599. Here as a version for piano (Michael Reimann) and overtone singing (Wolfgang Saus).

The challenge for overtone singers here is especially the intonation conflict of the natural overtone thirds with the equal-tempered ones of the piano. In this version, I have partially adjusted the overtones to match the equal-tempered tuning, resulting in “out of tune” fundamental tones. The alternative of intonating the harmonics in relation “out of tune” is found by some to be cleaner overall. An interesting experiment. Piano and overtones never fit together exactly because, except for the octave, none of the piano intervals correspond to the natural harmonic order. I think it sounds delightful nonetheless.

Free sheet music here.

Performers:
Michael Reimann – keys
https://michaelreimann.de/
Wolfgang Saus – overtone singing.
https://www.oberton.org/
Video – caelan, pixabay
https://pixabay.com/

Maria Walks Amid the Thorns (Maria durch ein Dornwald ging) – Overtone Singing

“Maria durch ein Dornwald ging” is a German Advent hymn from the 19th century. The melody possibly dates from the 16th century (wikipedia). It was first printed in 1850 in “Geistliche Volkslieder mit ihren ursprünglichen Weisen – gesammelt aus mündlicher Tradition und seltenen alten Gesangbüchern”, [August Haxthausen]. Paderborn 1850. https://sammlungen.ulb.uni-muenster.de/hd/content/pageview/1931586

For overtone singing, the challenge is the minor scale melody. Because the singable harmonic series is tuned in major, you have to change the fundamental several times to be able to sing the melody. Michael Reimann improvises his piano part according to the demands of overtone singing. He can do that because he himself sings outstanding overtones. We are so well attuned to each other that we were able to improvise this version freely and record it in one take.

If you want to sing it, you can find the free sheet music in my sheet music collection.

Performers:
Michael Reimann – keys
https://michaelreimann.de/
Wolfgang Saus – overtone singing
https://www.oberton.org
The video is from jrydertr, Pixabay.

Free: sing2 – A Practice Book for Polyphonic Overtone Singing for Female Voice, English Version

 

Mit großer Freude darf ich hier ein Buch zweier meiner Schülerinnen und Absolventinnen meiner Obertongesangsausbildung präsentieren: sing2 – Overtone Melodies for Women, von Beate Eckert und Barbara Lübben.

Mit steigender Tonhöhe nimmt die Anzahl singbarer Obertöne ab. Deshalb stellt polyphoner Obertongesang an Frauenstimmen hohe Ansprüche, denn hohe Stimmen müssen den Grundton häufiger wechseln als tiefe Stimmen, um bestimmte Melodietöne mit Obertönen zu erreichen (→ Komponieren mit Obertongesang). Barbara Lübben und Beate Eckert haben dieses Büchlein mit polyphonen Oberton-Übungen herausgebracht, dass sich speziell dieser Anforderungen annimmt und für Frauen den Einstieg in den polyphonen Obertongesang erleichtert. Aber auch Männerstimmen können die Melodien in ihre Lage transponieren.

Eine der Herausforderungen beim Erlernen von Grundtonwechseln beim Obertongesang besteht in der Koordination von Resonanz und Sington. Das Multitasking bei der Konzentration auf zwei Melodien führt anfangs häufig zu Verwechslungen der beiden Melodie erzeugenden Prinzipien beim Obertongesang. Während die Unterstimme wie gewohnt von den Stimmbändern erzeugt wird, wird die Obertonmelodie durch Formveränderung im Mund- und Rachenraum gebildet.

Sing2 verwendet bekannte Melodien für den Obertonpart, was die Konzentration auf zwei gleichzeitig gesungene Melodien erleichtert. Selbst wenn man mal die Orientierung verliert, was anfangs auf jeden Fall passieren wird, findet man in eine bekannte Melodie schneller wieder hinein.

Ich selbst habe viel Freude an den Übungen und verwende sie gerne in meinen Kursen für Fortgeschrittene.

Im November des Coronajahres 2020 erschien die kostenlose englische Ausgabe von sing2. Die beiden Autorinnen haben beschlossen, nicht nur diese Ausgabe kostenlos zur Verfügung zu stellen, sondern zusätzlich noch einen Download mit Sounddateien, in denen alle Stücke von den Autorinnen selber vorgesungen werden. Wer mag, findet auf ihrer Homepage einen Link für einen freiwilligen Beitrag, den ich natürlich allen nahelege, die an dem Büchlein Vergnügen oder einen Nutzen haben. Die deutsche Ausgabe könnte Ihr in gedruckter Form zusammen mit einer CD auf der Website kaufen.

https://www.polyphona.de/sing2-en.html

Arte-Documentation: The Call of the Mongolian Steppe

13 minutes
Available from 09/03/2020 to 09/03/2022

The important Mongolian musician Sengedorj Nanjid, who was interviewed in the film, passed away on 9.9.2020. On this occasion I am posting this film.

Sources

German version on Arte

Version française, Arte

Wolfgang Saus at the Freiburg Stimmforum

Radio Feature: Between two tones – The art of overtone singing

You first have to learn to hear overtones. With this program you can do that. Whoever learns it will change his entire listening experience. This is because completely new insights into the essence of sounds and realities are opened up.

Radio Feature by: Tanja Gronde. Broadcast from 09.05.2020 on BR Bayern 2 and BR Heimat.

More about the broadcast [BR Bayern2 and BR Heimat].

Watch now for free: The film “Space – Sound – Voice” by Minghao Xu

Minghao Xu’s 2009 film brings us close to the mystery of overtones, which seems to become the stranger the deeper you look into it. The film illuminates the phenomenon from the perspective of some of the greatest experts in the field of overtone singing, with some exciting and well-researched scientific and philosophical backgrounds. This documentary film portrays seven international musicians and tells the story of the director’s personal fascination with ‘overtone singing’ and the fractal geometry of sound. An amazing journey into a mysterious world of sound.

With

  • David Hykes
  • Wolfgang Saus
  • Christian Bollmann
  • Danny Wetzels
  • Hosoo & Transmongolia
  • Jill Purce
  • Mark van Tongeren

Director and producer: Minghao Xu
2009 Traumzeit publishing house, David Lindner

You can buy the DVD of the film with some extras in German/English here.

Minghao Xu about his film (quote from facebook):

My first production – a documentary about overtone singing – was published in 2010. Now after 10 years I am making it available for free on YouTube.

A big Thank You to Danny Wetzels who introduced me to overtone singing, who was and is a musical inspiration and a friend to me throughout the years.

Big Thank You to Wolfgang Saus who has a deep understanding of the human voice, who is brilliant in teaching how to hear and sing overtones and who supported me massively in creating this documentary.

Thank You to David Hykes who touched me as a singer as much as an inspirational being.

Thank You to Christian Bollmann, Hosoo Dangaa Khosbayar, Jill Purce and Mark van Tongeren – without your presence, knowledge, voice and contribution this project couldn’t have manifested. And Thank You to David Lindner for your help to publish this project through the Traumzeit Verlag.

 

Silent Night with Overtone Singing

“Silent Night, Holy Night”, the world’s most famous Christmas song, was sung for the first time on 24.12.1818, exactly 200 years ago. On Christmas Eve 1818 the Arnsdorf village school teacher and organist Franz Xaver Gruber (1787-1863) and the auxiliary priest Joseph Mohr (1792-1848) performed the Christmas carol for the first time in the Schifferkirche St. Nikola in Oberndorf near Salzburg, Austria. (Wikipedia)

For this version for overtone singing, the brilliant pianist Michael Reimann has improvised a piano movement on the electric piano. The notes for overtone singing are suitable for beginners. At one point, however, a small psychoacoustic trick is used, because one of the melody notes is not actually included in the overtone series. Who can find it?

Michael Reimann: https://www.michaelreimann.de/
Video: Ljubljana Christmas Market filmed from the castle.

BBC Documentary about Wolfgang Saus’ Overtones in the MRI Tube


At the moment you can download the German version of the BBC documentation, e.g. with Mediathekview, from the ZDF Mediathek: 4th Episode, Wonders of Anatomy – Medical Record X – Borderline Cases of Science.
Note: Video and link currently only work from Germany.


Surgeon Gabriel Weston has spent many years studying the functioning of the human body. In the series «Incredible Medicine: Dr Weston’s Casebook» she presents people from all over the world with the most unusual bodies and abilities.

One of them is the unique body control required for overtone singing (from 10:40 min.). In November 2016, a film team from BBC Science Production, Emma Hatherley (production, direction) and Alexis Smith (camera), produced a film at the Institute of Music Medicine at the University Hospital of Freiburg with Prof. Bernhard Richter and Wolfgang Saus.

Live images from the magnetic resonance tomograph show the complex motion sequences in the mouth and throat that are involved in overtone singing. Interviews explain the scientific background of the phenomenon.

Pictures of the Making-of

Links

→BBC Website