A few days ago, Overtone Singing – Hidden Dimensions of the Human Voice has arrived at its distribution centers in the US (NY), Europe (Haarlem) and Taiwan (Longtan). Publisher David Rothenberg produced a beautiful midway solution between paperback and hardcover book, called ‘flexibound.’
That was the signal to also let the Anthology of Overtone Singing go public. First of all on Bandcamp, where the audio is now available for streaming or purchasing. I also submitted all tracks to Apple Music, Spotify etc. etc. 25 Artists that are not featured on Apple Music and Spotify yet now will be represented there. It took me about a year of preparations and it meant not a small thing to press that ‘SUBMIT’ button to me.
So book and music are available now from Terra Nova Press, from me and next week also from a European address. We are still working out the best solution to offer the music and the book in one go. For the moment, the book is available through Terra Nova Press and by writing to me directly, while the Anthology is available in Bandcamp. Possibly we offer both in one package very soon.
There is a limited number of books available with a CD that is nearly identical with the streaming version from Bandcamp: just two tracks have been shortened a bit to fit onto the CD format. Details will soon be published on Bandcamp; you can also write to me if that is what you need.
The major platforms will start selling and shipping the book in December or January.
After three years of editing (text), drawing, scanning (illustrations), mastering (audio) and revising under the guidance of very capable editors, Overtone Singing – Hidden Dimensions of the Human Voice is now getting ready for printing and distributing. It was nearly 20 years ago when I first met the new publisher, David Rothenberg, in his upstate New York village, after attending the Small Publisher’s Fair in New York City. We became friends, met here and there every once in a while and kept up a correspondence about many issues, such as the music of birds and other creatures, which is his special theme. Some years ago he launched his own press and so we came to talk about my book Overtone Singing, which needed a thorough update and revision.
Many things have been changed compared to the original book, so much so that I think this is the definitive version. Why? Because the contents became more and more integrated, my views more balanced, I dared to speak out criticisms more clearly, I updated myself about aspects that I thought were poorly represented (such as the healing and therapeutic aspects of overtones). Not to mention the development of the field itself in these 20 years: female overtone singers are once again well-established instead of marginal, the khöömei ‘traditions’ have developed in many directions and become modern in many ways, and they have popped up in new places where we did not really expect them (such as China, to mention one controversial case I discuss).
I also had the great fortune to do research about the ‘multi-part’ (that is, choral) traditions of overtone singing (Tibet, South Africa, Sardinia) and to make recordings there. I am quite proud about the accompanying audio guide, which is now called The Anthology of Overtone Singing and will be available in many places soon. I have been to nearly every place with an overtone singing tradition and keep on investigating these fascinating traditions in person, wherever I can. I think my new Physics chapter sets a good standard for what is possible technically, with updated drawings by own hand. The lessons learnt from several projects for which I have created new works for overtone singers have been really important for that: the Paraphony Laboratory and the Parafonia group, the Superstringtrio, and now IUooUI in Taiwan. In another way this book finally got the form I had always wanted it to be. Despite the help of several capable readers and editors in previous versions, there were still quite some mistakes in terms of English usage. Thanks to a thorough review process, there is no more engrish now!
What we are hoping for now, is to get enough backers for the crowdfunding campaign. OK, let me explain, for those who get confused. Crowdfunding is when you buy and pay for something that does not yet exist, but which you hope and wish will go into production: a book or music project, or a new model electric toothbrush – it can be anything, really. A backer is internet lingo for a supporter, which is simply a client who buys something, or someone who pays more to support a project and receives something extra on top. So without further ado, please check out the campaign for the Overtone Singing book on indiegogo.com, and order a book by clicking on the link below.
You will be among the first to receive the book and I will be eternally grateful to you! If you have any questions or problems with Indiegogo, you can always write to me directly.
Pictured from top to bottom: Sainkho Namtchylak with guitarist Kazuhisa Uchihashi; singers from Castelsardo, Sardinia; Musicians from Nqoko, South Africa; Khöömei Day in Tuva, 2018;Andreï Öpei and Valeriy Mongush from Tuva; the author with Trân Quang Hai, renowned overtone singing researcher, onstage in Kyzyl, Tuva, 1995.
Meditations, contemplations and practices to get closer to yourself, to the body, to each other and to your surroundings. Listen with new ears to sound and silence. Explore the role of space and environment as sources for sound-making. Two days spent in the mountains to transform something you do all the time: a celebration of the ears!
Did you ever wonder why and how the world of sound can touch you so deeply? And what are the processes behind it? Did you believe your ears simply ‘register’ the sounds around you? Is it possible that you actually influence what you hear? Or can you learn from how others listen? Did you know there are many types of listeners and many ways of listening, such as holistic and analytical? Would you like to listen more actively, and ‘open your ears’ more? Can you ‘tune in’ yourself more to this world, or let this world attune to you? Do you want to let your ‘hearing’ become ‘listening’, and ‘listening’ become ‘understanding’?
During two days in the relative quietude of beautiful mountains in Hsinchu, we break through the habitual patterns of hearing so we can better perceive and understand the role of sound. This workshop is an opportunity to ‘hear yourself hear’ in new ways, and to reconsider what sound and music mean to you, also in everyday life.
The answers we find will be contemplated, imagined, sung, and expressed in words. We strike a neat balance between the verbal and non-verbal, the silent and the resonant, the action and the … passion. Leave the rattle and hum of everyday city life behind – celebrate the ears!
Program for these two days:
Morning rituals: listen, awaken our ears, sensing the body, feeling the voice.
Do concrete exercises to transform the way we listen, through meditations, listening outside, making sounds together.
Explore spaces using only the ears.
Listen to essential examples of ‘silent music’.
Find out what type of listener you are, learn about other ‘listening cultures’ and develop an active attitude towards your auditory perception.
Collaboratively create music with ‘sound objects’.
Talk about listening as a way to understand the world: to deeply attune our self to the vibrations surrounding us and emitted by us.
Listen to the many sounds of silence.
Some good music? Make some noise? Some star-gazing? Good food!
FOR WHOM: Individuals interested in sound, music and contemplation; creative, health and spiritual professionals seeking to deepen their skills and understanding in the field of sound, vibration and awareness.
Language: English (with Chinese translation)
Date/Time: Sat. October 31 (10 AM) + Sun. November 1 (17 PM)
Place: Rainbow Mountain, Jianshi Township, Hsinchu County
Price: 6500 NT$
Includes: Local transport to/from station; lodging 1 night; 4 meals (lunch-diner-breakfast-lunch). We prepare some of the food ourselves. Let us know if you are into making delicious food!
Discounts: students 20% (bring your ID)
Participants: (min.) 8 – 15 (max.).
Interested? Get more inquiries from Mark (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Yvonne (email@example.com) or just register and we’ll send you the payment details. Call us at 0910382749 (Mark) / 0933178272 (Yvonne).
I posted this on Facebook but thought it was worthwhile for the blog too.
I / fate decided to have an alternative birthday celebration event: a visit to the hospital! An enduring problem with a certain outgrowth of my body (I’ll spare you the details) needed treatment. So my first hospitalisation happened to take place on my 45th birthday. An extraordinary gift, of course! I took it has a holiday (about two days off duty), but it wasn’t a vacation without pain of course. Fortunately I was well taken care off by the nurses, doctor and my dear wife.
As always, I paid attention to the sounds. First in the operation room. A deadly silence it wasn’t. I heard many Chinese voices, making jokes, talking busily, one conversation in that corner of my ear (and eye) and another behind me, invisible, or even three simultaneous, animated conversations that I could hardly understand or not at all. Perhaps it’s better that way… My limited sight did not prevent me to eye a short piece of translucent tube which stuck out above the sheets and towels covering me (in the operation room it was freezing about 5 degrees I estimate). After a while parts of my body and blood were started to be washed away through the tube 10 centimeters away from my eyes, giving me some kind of indication of the goings on.
Back in my room, many hours were spent lying flat. I could not move my head unless I wanted to have a really bad headache, that special one you get from a spinal injection – no thanks. So what do you do? You listen. In my case, most of all to myself. Particularly during the dark hours when the anaesthesia stopped working, humming to myself at different pitches helped me to give a more positive focus on painful and other parts of the body. I have been doing this for twenty-five years, in good and bad times, and it remains a very interesting, comforting and highly effective experience to massage yourself inside out. Using different vowels and harmonics you can also give yourself a pleasant brain/skull massage.
Even better were the rhythmic jazzy bass lines I am practising with my voice: moderate to high speed, low pitched, melodic staccato pulses with mouth closed; jumping from place to place through the body’s organs and awakening motoric senses that are not stimulated otherwise. Each tone of these basslines reverberates at a specific spot along the skeleton (through a process called bone conduction) so that I am really ‘punching’ my body from left to right and high to low. At the same time, this is a great exercise for an upcoming gig at the Oorsprong Curator Series in Amsterdam that I am very excited about (I’ll play with Mark Alban Lotz and Bram Stadhouders, Monday 18 November, details t.b.a.).
We did not forget about distraction number one: the TV. I rarely watch TV, and now I did not watch at all. I just overheard the films while June was watching. What you may notice already when you pay attention carefully to the sound while watching a movie, becomes all the more striking when you don’t see a thing. The abrupt reduction of the volume of the soundtrack when voices come in, and its reappearance when the voices stop – even for a short moment. The result is like a drunk DJ playing a senseless game with his faders to annoy his audience. I pity the composer who creates some of his best melodies and finds it cut up into more or less random blurps erupting out from speech – but no, most composers who earn a living with film scoring keep their most inspiring ideas for other occasions, thus accepting a much smaller audience for the stuff they put their soul into. And a good movie director will let the composer have his way to score the film after the final edits.
I almost forget to mention the majestic tree, hidden from outside view on three sides by the 5-story hospital. The walls form a narrow, echoing bulwark where hundreds, no, I think more than a thousand birds retreat for the night. At 16 o’ clock they come and sit on the edges of the roof, at 17 the gigantic tree is shaking when the birds start taking their seats with happy twittering, and by dusk the swarm produces a screeching, ehmmm, noise.
Lastly, I took to my headphones to listen to a fascinating Coursera course (History of Humankind by professor Harari from Hebrew University in Jeruzalem, highly recommended and you can still join!). For falling asleep, having to endure increasing pain and uneasiness, I listened to incredible stories that Michael Vetter told me some years ago. And that’s where the hospital-sound journey of my birthday ended: I fell asleep!