Carmina Slovenica – TOXIC PSALMS / Ultimate collective experience

Carmina Slovenica is an exceptional girl choir from Slovenia, or, as they themselves call their performances: Vocal Theater. With overwhelming choreographic charisma the teenagers present here an incredible diversity of vocal techniques and choral traditions from Estonian ancient spells in setting of Veljo Tormis up to overtone singing from Sarah Hopkins. Toxic Psalms of Karmina Šilec was premiered in 2013 in Berlin. Absolutely thrilling.

In addition to the above-featured performance TOXIC PSALMS Carmina Slovenica sing and dance / play extremely different programs, including overtone singing. Presumably, the ensemble is better known for its spectacular performance of Karl Jenkins’ Adiemus (no overtone singing):

The Italian jazz musician Albert Hera, who refers to himself as “Sound Teller”, is a specialist in experimental voice and choir improvisation in the style of circle singing. I really like this little video sample, that allready gained more than 10,000 views on Facebook (June 2015). He demonstrates a vocal range from gigantic 5 octaves in the few seconds, from A1 till G#6, higher than the top tone of the Queen of the night by Mozart, using undertone singing, overtone singing and whistle register, in addition to this a funny musical arrangement.

Source: Facebook – Albert Hera

Via Prophetiae (2001)

Voice and Tibetan bell

Based on biblical texts from the books of Jeremiah (Jer X) and Isaiah (is XXXV) of the Old Testament.

Duration 9’00”

22. October 2001 world premiere, Atelier 90 concert “search by circumstances III”, Hall KPJ (Prague Spring Club), Church St. Vavřinec, Prague; Kristýna Valouková – voice/bell



Fu Acune is the name of a new duo by Natasha Nikeprelevic and F.X. Randomiz. Electronic club music combined with vocal art. On the track mhmmhm Natasha Nikeprelevic uses her crystal clear overtone singing.

Dean Frenkel is one of my favorite overtone singers. His clear, sparkling cleanly homophonic overtones bring out the special effect of the natural intervals in harmony with classical instruments particularly impressively. In “Iridium” he sings the 5th harmonic, the natural major third, to the minor third in the instrumental part, which I like very much in this piece.

In my overtone singing Masterclasses (year groups) I teach my students to avoid this conflict and to skip the 5th and 10th harmonic in a minor setting, or to replace them with polyphonic fundamental tone changes. Because almost all, even professional overtone singers improvise on the overtone series simply uncontrolled up and down, without even realizing that the natural major third is in conflict with a minor accompaniment, which I mostly do not like. Especially if the keynote becomes unclean, which usually happens.

I don’t know whether Dean Frenkel sings this interval in the composition consciously and deliberately, but I suspect so. Because of the fact that he sings his keynote so clean, the special effect of the 86-cent hovering of an equal-tempered minor third to the natural major third unfolds to a pleasure for me.

The film by cinematographer Murray Fredericks, producer Michael Angus and editor Lindi Harrison belongs to the SALT project,, and shows in fast motion the miraculous change of Lake Eyre in Australia, which is rarely filled.

The music is from Dean Frenkel’s former group Aajinta – Dean Frenkel, Jason Day, Michelle John.

dp.O.Ton Projekt from Berlin, with a wonderful Daniel Pircher – overton singing, Stefanie John – campanula, Marc Miethe – didgeridoo.


“Towards the Light” was an encore at a concert that Natasha Nikeprelevic sang on the Silent Art Festival in 2008. The composition demonstrated how much music already is in a single tone.

“Ihr Kinderlein, kommet” im Satz für polyphonen Obertongesang in einer Neufassung mit Keyboard-Begleitung von Michael Reimann.
Als ich 1984 meine polyphonen Obertongesangsstil entwickelte war”Ihr Kinderlein, kommet” eines der ersten Lieder, die ich mit wechselnden Grundtönen sang.

Ich singe hier eine einfach zu lernende Fassung mit nur drei Grundtönen, die Du am schnellsten durch Mitsingen lernst. Die Noten dazu kannst Du Dir hier kostenlos herunterladen:


1. Ihr Kinderlein, kommet, o kommet doch all’!
Zur Krippe her kommet in Betlehems Stall
und seht, was in dieser hochheiligen Nacht
der Vater im Himmel für Freude uns macht.

2. O seht in der Krippe, im nächtlichen Stall,
seht hier bei des Lichtleins hellglänzendem Strahl,
den lieblichen Knaben, das himmlische Kind,
viel schöner und holder, als Engelein sind.

3. Da liegt es – das Kindlein – auf Heu und auf Stroh;
Maria und Josef betrachten es froh;
die redlichen Hirten knie’n betend davor,
hoch oben schwebt jubelnd der Engelein Chor.

4. Manch Hirtenkind trägt wohl mit freudigem Sinn
Milch, Butter und Honig nach Betlehem hin;
ein Körblein voll Früchte, das purpurrot glänzt,
ein schneeweißes Lämmchen mit Blumen bekränzt.

5. O betet: Du liebes, Du göttliches Kind
was leidest Du alles für unsere Sünd’!
Ach hier in der Krippe schon Armut und Not,
am Kreuze dort gar noch den bitteren Tod.

6. O beugt wie die Hirten anbetend die Knie,
erhebet die Hände und danket wie sie!
Stimmt freudig, ihr Kinder, wer wollt sich nicht freu’n,
stimmt freudig zum Jubel der Engel mit ein!

7. Was geben wir Kinder, was schenken wir Dir,
du Bestes und Liebstes der Kinder, dafür?
Nichts willst Du von Schätzen und Freuden der Welt –
ein Herz nur voll Unschuld allein Dir gefällt.

8. So nimm unsre Herzen zum Opfer denn hin;
wir geben sie gerne mit fröhlichem Sinn –
und mache sie heilig und selig wie Dein’s,
und mach sie auf ewig mit Deinem nur Eins.

Melodie:  Johann Abraham Peter Schulz 1794. Text: Christoph von Schmid 1798. Video: Falling snow by Matt SCC BY 3.0, Artikelbild: pixabay CC0.

Here is my overtone variation about the canon of Johann Pachelbel, in which I sing bass and soprano at the same time. It is an exercise for polyphonic overtone singing, which I once wrote for my students in the mid 1990s.

I have developed a series of preparatory exercises for my Masterclass students to build up the polyphonic singing skills step by step. It takes a whole weekend and a few weeks of practice. But if you want to try it out with the canon right away: Download the sheet music for free here.

It is a multitasking exercise that requires concentration. I sing two melodies contrapuntally. I lead the bass melody (ostinato) with my left hand and sing it first without overtone technique. Then I start the melody in the overtones and follow it with my right hand.

The left hand is linked to the right brain, where the perception of overtones is located. But it follows the basic melody, which is processed in the left brain. The right hand is controlled by the left hemisphere, but follows the overtones that are processed on the right side (see “How overtones work in the brain” and “Test: Are you an overtone or a fundamental listener?“).

In my experience, this crossover of hand control and auditory perception has an accelerating effect on learning and intonation gets better. If you occasionally swap hands, i. e. overtones on the left and fundamental tones on the right, this intensifies the training effect. But generally I recommend to practice the first version.

At the beginning you always have the problem that either the overtones don’t sound good or the keynote is completely out of tune. This is probably due to the fact that the brain can initially concentrate either on the clarity of the overtones or on the intonation of the fundamental tones. This multitasking is very similar to playing the piano, where the left hand plays the bass and the right hand the high part.

Try out which hand follows the overtones more easily and leave it in the comments. And whether you’re right or left-handed. I’d like to know if left-handed people are different.

Der Bootssteg – Reverb Chamber and Anechoic Chamber (1985/1986)

Alto solo, baritone overtone solo, choir a cappella, reverb chamber, anechoic room

World premiere of media production in 1986 on the occasion of the exhibition “Stealing Diamonds” parallel to the Venice Biennale.
Marie-Dagny Wennberg -- alto,
Wolfgang Saus -- baritone (western overtone singing),
Members of the Collegium Byzantinum Aix la Chapelle,
Günther Beckers -- Composition and Painting

  • Intro-Studio: Micki Meuser
  • 2nd part: Reverb chamber of the RWTH Aachen University (live interpretation of the melody by the choir between and on top of a “loop”)
  • Part 3: Anechoic chamber

The choral work comprises parts of a written score as well as passages of improvisation of choir and overtone singing consisting of melody fragments to and on top of a loop. Günther Beckers wrote the choral work in 1985/86. The work, together with the compositions of the Italian composer Roberto Laneri, is one of the earliest compositions for the double formant technique of Western overtone singing (as opposed to vowel overtone singing). Earlier works by Karlheinz Stockhausen, Folke Rabe and Anders Hilborg used vowel overtones from which the Western overtone singing technique developed later. With his unique combination of painting and overtone singing, Beckers was ahead of his time. The piece was created on the occasion of the exhibition “Stealing Diamonds”, parallel to the Venice Biennale, 1986.


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The Munich a cappella group Mundwerk sings Brother Jaques not only with voices in canon, but also with overtones. My student and master class graduate Oliver Zunker (now no longer with the group) sings together with his colleague Jens Ickert the canon exclusively with overtones. Oliver himself is an excellent overtone teacher, as you can hear. I think the whole choral arrangement is superb!

All tones of the melody are already contained in a single keynote (harmonic 6 to 13, cf. composing with overtones). So you can sing them on one fundamental note.

Here you can download the sheet music for free →

Sources & Links

Supersonus – Rosary Sonata 1 and Ritus

The European Resonance Ensemble

Anna-Maria Hefele, overtone singing
Eva-Maria Rusche, harpsichord
Anna-Liisa Eller, kannel
Wolf Janscha, jew´s harp
Marco Ambrosini, nyckelharpa, jew´s harp

New experimental overtone music of the group Supersonus – The European Resonance Ensemble (Resonance, not Renaissance) brings overtone singing into a whole new musical context, something between world music and experiment. The instruments are in fact from Renaissance times, but probably have hardly been heard in this combination. And overtone singing is quite new to this world of sound.

Anna-Maria Hefele is one of the most promising new overtone singing talents in Germany. Her Western overtone singing style derives from the contemporary Western music, and not from Central Asian styles. However, you can hear influences of Mongolian throat singing in her way of pressing the voice. Her approach to music is refreshing experimentally. She easily connects various musical instruments, dance and drama with her versatile vocal techniques.

Das berühmte katalanische Volkslied “El cant dels ocells“, durch Pablo Casals spektakulären Auftritt bei den United Nations 1971 im Alter von fast 95 Jahren zu einem Symbol des Friedens und der Freiheit geworden, wird hier interpretiert von The Quartet of Peace in einer berührenden Fassung mit Obertongesang. Das Quartett spielte in der Leipziger Thomaskirche (als Wirkungsstätte Johann Sebastian Bachs bekannt) ein Konzert zu Ehren vierer südafrikanischer Nobelpreisträger, wobei dieses Lied Nelson Mandela gewidmet ist.

Gareth Lubbe, aus Südafrika stammender Bratschist des Quartet of Peace und Professor für Bratsche an der Essener Folkwang-Hochschule, ist ein ausgezeichneter Obertonsänger und Vertreter des westlich-polyphonen Stils. 

Vox Clamantis

Filia Sion

  1. Ecce venit / Psalm 94
  2. Virgo prudentissima / Magnificat
  3. Gaudeamus
  4. Rex virginum
  5. Gloria
  6. Beata viscera
  7. Audi filia
  8. Prelustri elucentia
  9. Ave Maria
  10. O ignis spiritus
  11. Agnus Dei
  12. Exulta filia Sion
  13. O Maria
  14. Salve regina
  15. Ma navu

This highly recommended CD of the Estonian a cappella ensemble Vox Clamantis (directed by Jan-Eik Tulve) contains a piece with overtone singing: Beata viscera, a work by the French composer Pérotin from the 12th century. Vox Clamantis interprets this piece with an overtone improvisation. It was used for the soundtrack of the Oscar-winning movie “La grande bellezza” (The Great Beauty, 2013. Imdb) by Paolo Sorrentino.

Recorded September 2010
ECM New Series 2244

Order possibility: (affiliate link)

More about Vox Clamantis

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Der Kurs ist ausgebucht!

Die Masterclass ist ein Kurs nur für fortgeschrittene Obertonsänger, die ihr Können vertiefen und auf ein (höheres) professionelles Niveau heben wollen.

Fr.-Sa., 15.-17. Feb. 2019
Fr.-Sa., 15.-17. Mrz. 2019
Fr.-Sa., 12.-14. Apr. 2019
Fr.-Sa., 10.-12. Mai 2019

Jeweils Freitag 18 Uhr (Abendessen) bis Sonntag 12:30 Uhr.

Ort: Grafing bei München

Inhalte und Ziele

An vier aufeinander aufbauenden Wochenenden erwirbst Du diese Fertigkeiten:

  • Klare Obertöne, bühnenreif, sicher, mit weichem klassischem Stimmansatz ohne Anstrengung.
  • Mit Obertönen einen Konzertsaal füllen.
  • Tricks, schwierige mehrstimmige Stücke zu lernen.
  • Tricks, wie man schöne Stücke passend für die eigene Stimme schreibt.
  • Einführung in die Obertonarbeit mit Chören (Chorphonetik, Vokalobertöne).
  • Obertongesang in Therapien.

Natürlich kommen gemeinsame Improvisationen und Klangsessions nicht zu kurz. Obertonenthusiasten unter sich. Auf zu neuen Höhenflügen! Ich bin gespannt, wo wir landen.

Maximal 12 Teilnehmer.

Zielgruppe und Voraussetzungen

Der Meisterkurs richtet sich an fortgeschrittene Obertonsänger, die das ganze Potenzial ihrer Obertöne entfalten möchten und bereits Obertöne treffen und einfache Melodien singen können. Absolventen der meiner ObertongesangSausbildung (Jahresgruppe) und konzertierende oder unterrichtende Obertonsänger erfüllen in der Regel die Voraussetzungen. Fortgeschrittene, die nicht sicher sind, ob sie die Voraussetzungen haben, sowie Berufssänger und Gesangspädagogen, können mich gerne ansprechen:
Tel. +49 163 6237866.


1.320 € inkl. MwSt. (330 € pro Wochenende). 5% Rabatt bei Zahlung als Gesamtbetrag, 1.254 €. Wiederholer erhalten 40% Rabatt (792 €).

Unterkunft bitte selber buchen!

Falls Geld ein Hinderungsgrund ist, kannst Du Dich für ein Stipendium mit reduziertem Beitrag bewerben. Schicke mir dazu eine Mail mit Deiner Begründung für den Stipendienantrag.


Nach der Anmeldung erhälst Du eine Rechnung per E-Mail. Die Anmeldung verpflichtet zur vollständigen Zahlung aller vier Wochenend-Blöcke. Die Kursgebühr ist auch bei Nichtteilnahme an einem Seminarwochenende fällig, bzw. wird nicht erstattet. Sollte ich selbst ein Wochenende absagen müssen und keinen geeigneten Ersatzdozenten finden, entfällt die antteilige Seminargebühr, bzw. wird erstattet. Darüber hinausgehende Ansprüche (Unterkunft, Bahntickets) sind ausgeschlossen. Ich empfehle dringend, eine Seminarversicherung abzuschließen (z. B. ERV oder HanseMerkur).


Keine Anmeldung mehr möglich.

Doris Kirschhofer is a lecturer at the University of Sport Salzburg, produces acrobatics shows on a large scale and is a singer whose fine-ironic electro-alpine ethno-pop gets a very individual touch through her overtone and undertone singing.

Stuart Hinds, the master of polyphonic overtone singing, has recorded a beautiful interpretation of Johannes Brahms’ Lullaby and Goodnight. You can download a simpler version of it here in sheet music and practice it yourself.

Aaron Jensen


Uvavnuk Dreams – The Great Sea (2012)

SSAATTB + overtone singer soloist 6’00″

Premiere: 12.05.2013 — The Elmer Iseler Singers, conductor Lydia Adams

Guest overtone singer – Scott Peterson

Text by Uvavnuk – translation: Jane Hirshfield

Commissioned by The Toronto Arts Council

More about the composition on the composer’s website.

A documentary film about the diversity of human voice expression by Lena Giovanazzi and Daniel Büche: yodelling, overtone singing, buccal voice, laughter yoga, the sound repertoire of contemporary classical music, oesophagus voice, beatbox and animal sounds.


Christian Zehnder
Wolfgang Saus
Angela Mecking
Peter Krause
Michael Edward Edgerton
Angela Wingerath
Laryngeal Loss Choir León
Uwe Westphal
PerformanceChoir for Experimental Singing Berlin


Lena Giovanazzi
Daniel Büche

Festivals and Awards

  • Open Eyes Filmfest Marburg 2012, 1st place Audience Award
  • 36th Weiterstadt Film Festival, 2012
  • Festival Internacional de Cine de Puebla, Mexico, 2012
  • Kinofest Lünen, 23rd festival for German films
  • Soundtrack Cologne, Festival See the Sound, November 2012
  • Blue November MicroFilmFest, Seattle, November 2012, “Best Illumination” and “Best Vision”
  • Flensburger Kurzfilmtage, November 2012, Main Award Documentary Film
  • Filofest 2012, International Student Film and Video Festival Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Bamberger Kurzfilmtage, February 2013
  • Contrast, the Bayreuth Film Festival, February 2013
  • Landshut Short Film Festival, March 2013
  • Emmental Short Film Festival, 18-20 October 2013

“Ode to Joy”, overtone singing by Wolfgang Saus inside an MRI.

This spectacular dynamic MRI video shows how the tongue moves during overtone singing. The melody of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” is created by double resonances which are shaped by the tongue in the mouth and throat. Overtone singing is based on the combination of the second and third resonance frequencies of the vocal tract on a single frequency to increase the volume of a single overtone from the vocal sound.

The second resonance frequency is controlled by the base of the tongue along with the epiglottis. The third resonance frequency is regulated by the space under the tongue, which is larger than it appears in the video, because it also spreads to the side of the tongue frenulum, which covers the space in the image. Overtone singing requires constant fine tuning of the two resonance chambers.

It is not easy to sing in the very loud magnetic resonance tomograph and even record the sound. The noise level is so high that I had to wear hearing protection and couldn’t hear my own overtones. I had to sing by feeling. That the right melody came out is spectacular in itself. It shows that it is possible to develop a body feeling for the exact pitch of the resonances that also works without acoustic control through the ear.

The team in Freiburg has developed highly specialized equipment for recording and filtering. Of course the sound is not HiFi.

MRT footage with kind permission and a big thank you to:
University Hospital Freiburg
Clinic for Radiology – Medical Physics & Institute for Music Medicine
Prof. Dr. Bernhard Richter
Prof. Dr. Dr. Jürgen Hennig
Prof. Dr. Matthias Echternach
(c) 2015

The Latvian a cappella group Cosmos (2002 – 2009,2015…) is characterized by extraordinary sounds and own arrangements, including overtone singing, as here in “Sunrise” (Saullēkts). Their shows are also remarkable. More on their YouTube-channel.

Probably the world’s most famous birthday song has an interesting copyright history. It was written by the sisters Mildred J. Hill (1859-1916) and Patty Smith Hill (1868-1946) from Kentucky as a morning welcome song for the children of the “Louisville Experimental Kindergarten” with the original title “Good Morning to All”. Hardly anyone was aware that the music publisher Warner/Chappell Music demanded money for public performances (it was sometimes per second) and thus raised about
[ million a year. Unjustly, as it turned out now.

In September 2015, an American court ruled that the rights of the alleged owner had collected millions of dollars in royalties for decades without justification. According to EU copyright law, however, the protection lasts until 31.12.2016, 70 years after the death of the last deceased composer.

The court’s decision follows a complaint by filmmaker Jennifer Nelson from New York, who made a documentary film about the song and its origins in 2013. And Warner/Chappel charged her 00 license fee (or 0,000 fine).

Here is an amusing legal analysis of the complex international copyright around “Happy Birthday to You” by Prof. Dr. Thomas Hoeren (Münster) in German.

Today I made an interesting phone call with Gema and got the following information (by two employees): I am allowed to upload my recording of “Happy Birthday” to YouTube without charge. The community has been in litigation with YouTube for years. According to the viewpoint of Gema, it is not the uploaders but YouTube who are responsible for processing the Gema. If the situation remains as it is until 1.1.2017 – on that date the exploitation right expires even under EU law – then the song is free in this way also in Germany, if it is not censored by YouTube.


I look forward to your comment. Maybe you sing it yourself and post your version?

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The duo The Lady & The Cat with the overtone virtuoso Anna-Maria Hefele and the jazz guitar player Jan Henning bring here an interesting arrangement of the classic Over the Rainbow (The Wizard of Oz) by Harold Arlen (text E. Y. Harburg). Stuart Hinds’ polyphonic overtone arrangement from 2005 served as the basis for Hefele’s adapted version for female voice. I follow with excitement the development of my former student.

Stuart Hinds wrote this solo piece for our common dear friend, Honza (Jan) Šima, who unexpectedly passed away at a young age in the last year. Although the piece is very emotional, it is not intended as an expression of mourning. It will rather give room for memories and contemplation.

Jan was an enthusiastic and very good polyphonic overtone singer. He was a member of the European Overtonechoir and the Overtone Choir Spektrum, where we first met back in 2003.


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