Advertise on ChoralNet 
ChoralNet logo
The mission of the ACDA is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

Conference Morsel: Overtone Singing

(An excerpt from the interest session “Overtone Singing as a Choral Art,” presented by Peggy Dettwiler and Stuart Hinds during the 2014 ACDA Eastern Division Conference)
       Remember that overtones are the very basis of vowels, timbre, resonance, and intonation.  Overtone singing can help us increase our abilities in all these areas of singing by gaining greater control of vocal tract shaping and giving a focus to the effects produced by certain movements.  The awareness gained from overtone singing can be applied to matching vowels, tuning intervals and chords, and extending the color palette of the choral sound (an area in which Peggy is an expert).
       Overtone singing is not essentially different from ‘normal’ singing.  The types of vocal tract shaping used in overtone singing are the same as those used in traditional singing when changing vowels, registers, or timbre. None of the adjustments of the vocal tract used in overtone singing are inconsistent with good "open throat" singing.
       Additional information, in the form of video demo, sound files, and works list is available.
on April 8, 2014 9:12am
Training my middle school singers to listen for and work to produce overtones as they sing changed the tone quality my singers produced in magnificent ways, but it also had an awesome and unexpected result.
Students who suffer from ADHD and other attention deficit issues suddenly pop to attention when they hear the overtone.  Once they've achieved it for the first time, all I have to do is to remind them to listen for them and work for them in future lessons.  It's truly amazing to watch.  Choral singing improves, but even better, behavior improves.  ...And we all know that, in the choral music classroom, we will take all of that sort of result that we can get!  That might be a great dissertation idea!
Dale Duncan
My blog for middle school teachers:
My Sight Singing Program for Middle School Teachers and their Students:
My YouTube Channel with Sight Singing tips and Classroom Management tips: