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Throat Singing

Tuva is a predominately rural region of Russia located northwest of Mongolia. It is home to one of the world's oldest forms of music. In Xöömei, or "throat-singing," a single vocalist simultaneously produces two distinct pitches-a fundamental note and, high above it, a series of articulated harmonies that are sequenced into melodies. The Tuvan herder/hunter lifestyle with its great reliance on the natural world and deeply-felt connection to the landscape is reflected in the Tuvan vocal tradition. With throat-singing Tuvans recreate the sounds of their natural surroundings—animals, mountains, streams, and the harsh winds of the steppe. Examples of this unique and moving vocal tradition are featured here.