3, stands apart from the other 23 tracks on the disc, which come from every imaginable port on earth. The voice seems to lift out of the singer's body, soaring not unlike the eagles of his home country, surveying the landscape in patient, breathtaking groans or high-pitched plumes of pure expression. To hear it for the first time is to be stopped cold by recorded sound in a way not previously imagined. The sounds Ghanzhuryin put to wax some half century ago had in fact been a part of life on the vast plateaus, where snow-capped mountains and huge lakes formed a constant backdrop. Shepherds and shamans of Mongolia, which lies in the heart of Central Asia, just above China, and its smaller northern neighbor, Tuva, had been singing in such a way for centuries.
The style, known as "throat" singing, but, more precisely called overtone singing—the ability to single out and control overtones, phrasing them two or more at a time—finally became known to audiences outside of this rarely visited, steppe-locked place at the dawn of the 1990s, as the Soviet Union collapsed and Westerners flocked to find this music. While everyone has natural harmonics in his or her voice, the people of this remote region were able to hone in on one of these harmonics, or overtones, create a drone with one overtone and then, vocally, grab a higher pitch, which shapes a melody on top, allowing them to sing duets with themselves. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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