Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Music & Performing Arts


Contemporary Music

First Advisor

Lanier Sammons


Overtone singing also known as Throat singing, is an ancient vocal technique where a soloist produces two different tones through the resonance created by the airflow of sound through the lungs, throat, and mouth. Often associated with the Tuva population of Central Asia, this art form is also practiced by the Inuit women of North America, and in South Africa by women of the Xhosa tribe. Overtone singing is an integral part of each cultural tradition and may vary in style and meaning across cultures. Traditional performances of Overtone singing include: celebratory ceremonies, tribal dances, games, and meditation. In the last 25 years, Overtone singing has steadily made it’s way to the West influencing contemporary artists to experiment with the style, integrate it into their musical works, and collaborate with throat singing artist. This initiated the popularization of Overtone singing as it evolved from an exclusive cultural tradition performed in nature to a method of lyrical expression performed for an audience on stage. By explaining the mechanics of overtone singing, spotlighting three cultures that practice the technique, and revealing influenced contemporary artists, the reader will gain an understanding of the history, development, and the integration of throat singing in contemporary music.