Excerpts on Mongolian overtone chanting (hoomi) from "Healing Sounds" by Jonathan Goldman, Element Books, ISBN 1-85230-314-X (pbk.):

      "Perhaps the most highly developed use of vocal harmonics is the tradition of 'hoomi' ('choomig', 'xoomij') or throat singing, found in the Tuvic region of Mongolia. This is the Mongolian name for a solo style of overtone singing where two distinct pitch lines are sounded throughout. One of these is a nasal-sounding drone of relatively constant pitch and corresponds to the fundamental. The other pitch consists of piercing, whistle-like tones which form a melody line above the drone utilizing the 5th through the 13th partials. The singing style is reminiscent of the sound of the jew's harp.

      "Working with a fundamental tone of, for example, about 100hz, a Tuvic singer would create a melodic line working with the 5th through the 13th partial, vibrating at what would be 600 through 1,300hz. These singers also create extremely high nasal harmonics utilizing the 16th through 23rd partials, creating tones that would vibrate between 1,600 and 2,300hz. Of course, singers working with a higher fundamental nearer a middle A, of 440hz on a piano, might be able to create frequencies up to 10,120hz, a sound that is almost supersonic in its scope.

      (Goldman quoting Hamel: "He hums or sings nasally a note of medium pitch and alters the volume of his mouth-cavity by opening and closing his mouth, thus varying the harmonic spectrum of this single, long- dran-out note. Suddenly, at a very high pitch, a shrill melody rings out, though consisting solely of the amplified harmonic of the single bass-note...")

(Goldman quoting Levin's notes on the recording "Tuva: Voices from the Center of Asis": "These styles might well represent vestiges of a proto-musical sound world in which man sought through mimesis to link himself to beings and forces that most concerned him: in the case of the Tuvans, domestic animals, the physical environment of the mountains and grasslands, and the elemental energies of wind, water, and light.

      " In the traditional sound world of present-day Tuva, throat-singing is still intimately connected to nature...Throat-singing seems to have served traditionally as a means of responding to heightened feelings brought on by exaltation at the beauty of nature. Walking alone on the grasslands, herders sang not for one another, but for themselves, for the mountains, and for the steppe.

      "In many areas of material and spiritual culture, the once strong voice of traditions is now only a faint echo. For example, shamans, the traditional healers, are all but non-existent, and shamanism has been consigned to the non-threatening status of an historical artifact amenable to theatrical recreations."