Learning Overtone Singing for Accessing the Higher Self

The following techniques are guidelines to help you get the feel and sound of the high, medium and low register overtones. Once you are familiar with the sounds and comfortable in creating the overtones, you will discover your own techniques and unique sounds to explore. These techniques should in no way strain the vocal cords. In fact, the quality of the voice and breathing capacity should improve with practice. Have fun with the techniques! Remember, no forcing or straining. The overtones come when you are deeply relaxed!

Higher Register: the harmonics sound similar to high whistling.

  • Tip of tongue behind the upper front teeth
    Make small movements with the lips and tongue to get the overtones vibrating.
  • EE as in “year”
    Listen especially during the transition between the “y” to “ee” sound, and then from “ee” to “rr” sounds.

The listening part is most important. Take note of how the sound changes with very slight movements in tongue position. Experiment with volume (low to high). The EE sound corresponds to the spiritual eye and crown centers. Pay attention to these areas as you practice.

It is also important to note that you are already creating harmonics with your voice. This is what makes your voice unique. The techniques you are learning are just ways to tune into and magnify certain notes or “partials.”

Mid Register: the harmonics sound like ethereal flutes.

  • OH as in OM
    Lips slightly round and tongue flat on bottom of mouth and slightly pulled towards back of throat. Visualize small grapefruit expanding the space in the mouth. The sound of OH corresponds to the root chakra (at base of spine), giving a sense of grounding and connection with Earth energies.
  • UU as in “you.”
    With slightly round lips, sing UU and then move the tongue slightly and slowly forward. Listen to the changes in harmonics. Repeat. Again, experiment with volume. The sound of UU corresponds to the throat area, the seat of creativity and expression.

Lower Register: The harmonics sound guttural (similar to Tibetan Buddhist chanting). The lower register can also sound like low notes of a flute or like someone blowing sideways on the opening of a bottle. The harmonics are produced in the back of the throat in general but can also be produced throughout the mouth with practice.

  • OH as in “OM”
    Relax the throat and open up the back of the throat and nasal passages. As you tone the sound of “OH” create a cavity in the mouth (visualize the grapefruit) and push air out through the mouth and nasal passage. This takes a bit of practice. Experiment with going back and forth with pushing air out mostly through the mouth and then a combination of through the mouth and nose.

Sound of motor: with lips closed (no air going through), make the sound of a motor (kind of like a sawing sound) high in the nasal cavities. When you get this sound, try opening the mouth to add overtones from the expanded space.

In practicing the upper, middle and lower range harmonics, keeping the nasal passages open and allowing some air and vibration to pass through this area is a great help in producing the harmonics. In the beginning, however, it may not feel natural and so to get a feel for this, practice with mouth closed for a little while. Hum through the nose and listen to each of the aforementioned sounds.

With time and practice you will learn to hear a wide range of harmonics and will begin to project greater energy in sounding out different overtones at the same time. You will then be able to create your own unique combinations of overtones that will help you towards a greater sense of well being and balance.

Have fun with your practice and let me know how you are coming along.

Bruce Manaka

This article may be shared with others so long as it is not changed or modified in any way. Thank you.

Copyright 2008-2009 Manaka Studios


Filed under Accessing Your Higher Self, Finding Your Voice, mantra, overtone singing, sound healing, trance, vocal harmonics

10 responses to “Learning Overtone Singing for Accessing the Higher Self

  1. Great!!!!! Thanks for giving the tips on overtones.
    sometime we ignore the importance of practicing on overtones as these are also the important part of singing..

  2. jane

    Please can I print some information on this website ? where can I get permission.

  3. Sven

    Thanks for posting these tipps! I’m really eager to learn Buddhist overtone chanting, so I’m particular interested in the lower register tones. Do you know where I can find further information, maybe videos or books?

    • Thanks Sven, the lower register tones vibrate strongly in the body and feels quite nice. By keeping the back of the throat wide open (as though you have an imaginary grapefruit in the mouth) while keeping the lips in an “o” shape, the throat and mouth becomes a wide open chamber where sounds can resonate deeply. Play with and listen to the sounds as they come to your attention. Also, feel where in your body they vibrate most (throat, abdomen, nasal cavities, etc.).

      There are a lot of Youtube videos that show how to sing in overtones. Most of your learning, though, will come with your own play with the different vocal sounds. Most of what I learned happened while driving in my car. It was all about feeling free to vocalize.

      Have fun!

  4. Excellent recommendations, the beauty of harmony, the voice is for healing, balancing all faculties, reminds of Tibetan chant, diamond sutra. Thank u with much love. Keep sharing your wisdom, this is your purpose…

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this knowledge. It’s so healing.

  6. Pingback: Learning Overtone Singing for Accessing the Higher Self | TRAN QUANG HAI

  7. v sampathkumar

    Superb , my dear,
    First i thought , i cannot do it
    But with your instructions , i could do it, overtone singing
    Sharing is caring , my hats off
    V sampathkumar, new Delhi

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