Tag Archive for: Wolfgang Saus

Next Level Resonance Strategies – Singing Phonetics


Recording of the webinar “Voice Masters Live” by Philippe Hall from Singing Revealed on March 29, 2022.
Recording of the webinar Next Level Resonance Strategies in the Voice Masters Live series by Philippe Hall from Singing Revealed, on March 29, 2022.
Sprache: English


 

Next Level Resonance Strategies – Singing Phonetics

  • What are formants?
  • What are resonances?
  • Why are vowels dependent on pitch?
  • What is formant tuning?

Philippe Hall talks to Wolfgang Saus about vowels and their importance for resonance strategies.

Resonance is a cornerstone of any vocal technique. However, the relationship between vowels, resonances, formants, harmonics and pitch is a complex topic and often confusing.

Wolfgang Saus shows participants how to use a vowel resonance chart to see at a glance why some vowels work excellently at a particular pitch and others not at all. Participants learn how resonances can be controlled by tongue movements and how they can optimize their resonances by using the right vowel nuances. After the seminar, they will be able to deal confidently with the terms vowel, resonance and overtones.

“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.

“A ship is coming laden” (“Es kommt ein Schiff, geladen”) – Overtone Singing

“A ship is coming laden” (“Es kommt ein Schiff, geladen”) is one of the oldest Advent hymns in German. It was written before 1450. The oldest record of the melody is found in the Andernacher Gesangsbuch, Cologne 1608.

A rhythmic rarity in old hymns is the change from a 6/4 to a 4/4 meter in the middle of the song. The Dorian part of the first part of the song ends on the minor third, while the second part turns to Lydian from the new root and returns to the Dorian finalis at the end.

Keys with minor thirds make fundamental changes unavoidable in overtone singing, because the natural overtone series is tuned to major.

If you would like to sing the song, you can download the free sheet music here.

The recording is a spontaneous improvisation by pianist Michael Reimann, who later orchestrated his piano part, and overtone singer Wolfgang Saus. Spontaneous improvisation with changing fundamental tones requires quite some experience.This can be acquired by re-singing the free collection of sheet music.

Performers:
Michael Reimann – keys
https://www.oberton.org
The video is from Thomas Ritter, Pixabay:
https://pixabay.com/videos/glass-sphere-spherical-moon-winter-7380/

Singing with Dogs – Mini Wolf Duet 1

 

Sofie, my neighbor’s dog, loves it when I sing with her. She is rhythmic to the yodelling. We want to develop that now. Maybe she’ll learn overtone singing.

European Overtone Choir

28.02.19 – 22h – DLF Kultur Radio Broadcast about the Europa Obertonchor

The Deutschlandfunk Kultur broadcasts on Thursday, 28 February 2019 from 22h to 22h30 a radio feature about the European Overton Choir. The EOC is an experimental project choir that once a year from Easter Monday invites interested singers for a week to experiment with the potential and new sound possibilities of overtones in choral music. Works will be sung by notes as well as improvisations developed with new methods.

DLF Kultur, Thursday 28. Feb 2019, 22:00 h

European Overton Choir, next project week 22.-28. April 2019

A few weeks of cyborg

My Accident and Move 2018

Something private of mine today. I haven’t updated my website since spring. The reason: I had separated my left wrist from my joint in a bicycle accident in Belgium in spring and broke it several times, so that the hand had to be re-surgeryed twice. My helmet (I can only recommend it) was a lifesaver.

I couldn’t work on the computer for a few months and spent the summer in hospitals and recovering my bones. Now I have a titanium plate in my arm that holds everything together. I still can’t fully use my hand. But the prognosis is good that I can start playing the piano again in about a year.

Appropriately, the accident happened a few days after I had cancelled my apartment in Aachen and signed the lease for my current apartment in Bavaria.

FahrradsturzMove from Aachen to Hirschbach

The move to Bavaria took place successfully with many great helpers in August and September, and I now live in the countryside on a 2.5 hectare site that three of us want to transform into a permaculture garden starting next year. The address: Hirschbach 1, 91602 Dürrwangen, Germany.

After 24 years in Aachen, now suddenly the heart and ears open in the silence and beauty of nature and the surrounding forest. How I enjoy this silence and how I missed it, I notice only now, although I have already lived relatively quietly in Aachen. I expect the move to create a new relationship with time, also for my music.

I had a longing for grounding, in the truest sense of the word. A quarter of a century of professional work with overtones has activated my right brain hemisphere and expanded my perception (scientifically proven). Even as a child I had planted a jungle in my room. Now I am curious how the plants and home-grown food will react to my overtones.

The new tranquillity will give me time to publish more and to put my experiences and many scientific achievements on paper or on the website. If everything goes as planned, my blog will get a new start in December, with more instructions on overtone singing, more from my research and more fascinating experiences with sounds.

My new home

My new home, impressions September 2018.

Umzug mit vielen HelferInnen

The move was only possible with the support of many dear helpers, as I could neither lift nor pack.

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

Laughing woman holds her ears shut

A Melody Only Some Can Hear – Take the Hearing Test

This hearing test (it takes only 3:20 minutes) opens your hearing to a second listening level that is perceived by only about 5% of the musicians: The perception of overtones. This ability is essential for learning overtone singing. And it is a prerequisite for the practical implementation of singing phonetic and choral phonetics.

At the university hospital Heidelberg Dr. Peter Schneider and his working group found in 2004 that people perceive sounds differently, according to which half of the brain processes the sound. They developed the Heidelberg hearing test to find out whether someone perceives fundamental tones or overtones in a sound. →Here you can take the Heidelberg test

My hearing test is different. It tests whether someone recognizes more vowels or overtones in a sound. In the second part, it teaches how to shift the threshold between vowel and overtone perception in favor of overtones.

Saus’s Hearing Test

Listen to the first sound sample in a relaxed way. I sing a series of meaningless syllables on a single note. If you recognize a classic melody in it, then congratulations, you have a pronounced overtone hearing and belong to the 5% of people who have this perception spontaneously.

Sound sample 1

If you can’t hear the tune, don’t worry. At the end of the hearing test you will hear the overtones.

In the following sound examples, I will extract more and more sound information from the voice, which is interpreted by the brain as part of speech. Next, I sing the syllables by changing only the 2nd vocal formant. I hold the first one in a lower position, motionless. The syllables then only contain /ʉ/ sounds, the melody becomes clearer for some now.

Sound sample 2

If the tune’s clear now, congratulations. Here the melody is heard by 20-30%. Maybe you just suspect the melody and don’t know if you’re just imagining it. Trust the imagination. Your hearing picks up the melody. Only a filter in your consciousness says that the information is not important. Speech recognition is much more important.

I want to reveal the melody at this point: it is “Ode to Joy” by Ludwig van Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. In the next example I whistle it tonelessly. Thus your brain will learn better what to listen to. Listen to sound sample 3 and then to sound sample 2 afterwards.

Sound sample 3

Does it work better? If not, listen to the next sample.

In sound sample 4 I leave out the consonants. Now the Broca Centre, the brain region for speech recognition, has nothing left to do and passes the hearing attention on to other regions.

Sound sample 4

Now about 60-80% hear the melody clearly. If you don’t hear the melody here, you are probably classified as a fundamental listener in the Heidelberg test. This has nothing to do with musicality. You are in the company of some of the best flutists, percussionists and pianists.

In the next example I completely alienate the sound. I lower the third formant by two octaves with a special tongue position until it has the same frequency as the second. This results in a double resonance, which does not occur in the German language.

Sound sample 5

The technique is called overtone singing. The ear now lacks information from the familiar voice sound, and individual partial tones become so loud due to the double resonance that the brain separates the sounds and communicates them to the consciousness as two separate tones.

You will probably hear a flute-like melody together with the voice now. Overtone singing is an acoustic illusion. Because in reality you hear more than 70 partials. Physical reality and perception seldom coincide.

In the last example I walk the whole way backwards to the beginning. Try to keep the focus on the melody all the time. Listen to sound sample 6 more often, it trains the overtone hearing and makes you feel safer in the perception of the sound details.

Sound sample 6

Our reality is created within ourselves. And it can be changed.

Online Voice Conference 2016 – Download

In November 2016 Dorothea Sahlmüller interviewed 33 voice experts for an online voice conference (affiliate link). 33 video contributions illuminate the human voice from 33 highly exciting and sometimes unusual perspectives.

I was interviewed too. My video was even voted on number 2 of the best interviews :) You will learn some phenomena that you would not immediately associate with overtone singing. Among them a new hearing test that will fundamentally change your perception of sound, experiences with dolphins and overtone singing in the Red Sea and my emotional experiences with autistic children.

The congress package with all the videos and some extras can be downloaded from Dorothea’s website.
Affiliate link to the download package

Stimmkonferenz 2016 Dorothea Sahlmüller Kongresspaket


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