Listening Activity #19 - What is Throat Singing?

Have you ever tried to sing two notes at once? How about three?! Is that even possible?? It is!

Kongar-ol Ondar was the most famous Tuvan throat singers of all time, and he became internationally known after winning a throat singing competition. When you hear him sing, listen for the fundamental note (a low note which doesn't change), and hear how he changes notes a couple of octaves higher. These techniques can take years to develop and specialist training by Tuvan people. At the end of his performance, he shouts something like 'Tu-dah!' That means something similar to 'giddyup', which is quite common for this style of music.

  • The name of Kongar-ol's album is called Back Tuva Future! Where did the idea of that name come from?

  • What is the instrument that Kongar-ol is playing called?

  • Can you find Tuva on a map?

  • Have you ever heard something like this before? What do you think about it?

  • What does he do at 1:40?

Check out Kongar-ol and some kids singing together!

Have a listen to the Mongolian band called The HU. Can you hear how they use similar techniques in their music?