Science Reveals the Secrets of Throat Singing

There’s been an uptick in interest in throat singing since Tanya Tagaq won the Polaris Music Prize for her album Animism last September–which means before we go any further, we should review what we’re talking about.

Here’s something a little more traditional.

If you think making these sounds are easy, just try it.  Unless you’re of specific ethnic decent, you won’t even be able to come close.  Tom points us to The Siberian Times (yes, there’s just a thing).

Unique physiology of people in Altai mountain region means only they can perform the melodies that date back centuries.

It is a unique and distinctive form of singing only found in one small part of the world. Now scientific research has finally discovered why the unusual sounds of throat singing have never spread out from the isolated steppes of the Altai and Sayan mountains.

Simply put, the people of Tuva and southern Siberia have different vocal cords to the rest of the planet and are the only ones with the capability to master the art.

Experts from the Institute of Philology, at the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, have found that Turks’ vocal cords are slightly wider and the larynx is not as extended, allowing them to make the unique sounds required.

Keep on reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Science Reveals the Secrets of Throat Singing

  • January 10, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    I dont think this is entirely true. Joe Duplantir of Gojira, for example does this frequenly in their songs, and as a warmup.I witnessed him do it. He’s French through and through. I can do it to a limited degree, after some training and practice, and I’m of Irish descent.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.