In my opinion we must distinguish two meants about overtone singing:
1 – overtones singing for inner search, inner peace, and so on…
2 – overtones singing for acoustic beauty only
I am for the first category, I don’t understand the second, however I often try to join them in a unique mental condition.
I think that David Hykes follows this idea; he owns a great technique, but I know this is not his goal. He doesn’t waste time to show us his ability, he tries to use these sounds to touch soul and mind, to obtain an inner harmony of human being.
My aim and inspiration was to bring to life a new, global sacred music emanating from this most basic music universal – the harmonic series – present in all vocal or instrumental sound. The harmonic series is to sound what the color spectrum is to light. — David Hykes
David founded the Harmonic Choir in 1975 and he was the founder of the Harmonic Presence Foundation in 1981. The Harmonic Choir is a vocal ensemble (2 – 10 elements), clever at creating an ample range of consonant/dissonant sonorities, working with overtones, sometimes playing with rhythmical movements. I was enchanted by his choral use of voices, without digital effects. All natural.
Hearing Solar Winds, my favourite cd – now in Special 25th Anniversary Remastered edition, offers some particular examples. It is a continuous piece in 8 sections. It contains a mix of vanishing vocal chords, overtones, no words, no noise, only pure sounds with a large natural reverb.
The cd is not for free, so – under licence from David – I suggest for you only few seconds of Arc Descents, a section very impressive for me. In the second half it reminds me of Shepard Scale effect.
Shepard Scale is a kind of acoustic illusion; it is an apparently endless glissando (or a scale), in which – in our case – higher harmonics are re-entered gradually while lower harmonics are fading. As result you can hear a descending lower pitch, without end, like a circle. If you want, read wikipedia about it.
Now listen to this artificial example and look at the spectrogram:
Now listen to an extract of
The relation is very clear (not the mechanism).
Attention please, this short extract is an example only, it doesn’t allow us to absorb completely the effects of <David Hykes and Harmonic Choir> amazing sound world.
In my opinion, to benefit as much as possible from this music you must listen to the entire cd, or at least each entire movement; so for my mind it is the only way to take part in a mix of astral travels and undefined sensations.
Only my music – and music of other few friends – give me the same results.
This is a great composition.