polyphonic overtone singing – by Anna-Maria Hefele




Polyphonic overtone singing is a vocal technique that allows a singer to produce two or more distinct pitches simultaneously. One of the most recognized performers and educators in this field is Anna-Maria Hefele, a German musician and overtone singer who has gained international attention through her performances and instructional videos on the subject.

### Basics of Polyphonic Overtone Singing

– **Technique**: The technique involves the singer amplifying the natural overtones of their voice. While singing a fundamental pitch, the singer modulates the shape of their vocal tract to isolate and amplify specific overtones (harmonics), creating the perception of multiple notes being sung at once.
– **Skill and Practice**: Mastering polyphonic overtone singing requires extensive practice and a deep understanding of vocal anatomy and acoustics. Singers must learn to control the muscles of the vocal tract very precisely to isolate the desired overtones.

### Anna-Maria Hefele’s Contributions

– **Performance**: Hefele has performed extensively, showcasing the ethereal and captivating sound of polyphonic overtone singing to audiences worldwide. Her performances often include a range of musical styles, demonstrating the versatility of overtone singing.
– **Education**: Beyond performing, Hefele is dedicated to educating others about overtone singing. She has produced instructional videos and offers workshops and lessons to teach the techniques of overtone singing to others.
– **Online Presence**: One of Hefele’s instructional videos, in which she demonstrates polyphonic overtone singing, went viral, significantly raising awareness of this singing technique. Her YouTube channel continues to be a valuable resource for those interested in learning more about overtone singing.

### The Significance of Overtone Singing

– **Cultural Roots**: While Hefele has brought overtone singing to a broader audience, it’s important to acknowledge the technique’s deep roots in various cultures, including Mongolian, Tibetan, and Tuvan throat singing traditions. Each of these traditions has its unique approach to producing and using overtones in music.
– **Acoustic and Physiological Insights**: The practice of overtone singing offers insights into the physics of sound and human vocal anatomy, making it a subject of interest not only to musicians and vocalists but also to acousticians and researchers studying the human voice.
– **Artistic Expression**: Polyphonic overtone singing expands the possibilities of vocal music, allowing for the exploration of new textures, harmonies, and expressions within a single human voice.

Anna-Maria Hefele’s work in polyphonic overtone singing not only showcases her remarkable talent and skill but also serves as an educational platform that brings attention to this unique vocal technique, inspiring musicians and singers around the world to explore the rich harmonic potential of their voices.

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