Singing 2 Notes At Once

I am horrified to have uncovered what is doubtless Cecil’s only fallibility. His answer to Doug B.'s question on whether it’s possible to sing more than one note at once ( ) stands in frightful ignorance of the Andean (as well, I think, as elsewhereian) process of throat-singing, a mysterious (to me, at least) way of projecting from the larynx a loud drone accompanied by a variable-but-inflexible second tone. Recordings of it are commercially available, & if you can’t find 'em, you can check out “Go To Sleep” on Dan Bern’s (now Bernstein) eponymous debut LP. I once heard the aforementioned, in an interview on the Vin Skelsa (sp?) show claim to have heard throat-singers produce three and even four tones at once.

My remarkably limitted understanding of the process is that it has nothing to do with the dual-vox-box theory Cecil mentions, but rather some bizarre way of separating the overtones from the original sound, & projecting one of them loudly – this sounds impossible to me, but I know nothing.

Anyhow, I’d like to send this off to Cecil, in hopes of seeing my name writ gilded in his hallowed weekly, but, alas & alack!, have got neither his mailing address nor the computerial facility to present myself via dusty email. If anyone can help, I’m much obliged in prospect.

“He had never bitten a woman before.” – Henry Miller

The column can also be found on pages 78-79 of Cecil Adams’ book “The Straight Dope”.

As another_ian mentioned, throat-singing is not limited to the Andes. From the liner notes to the album “Musique et chants de tradition populaire: Mongolie” (GREM G 7511), a description of one of the mongolian vocal techniques:

Liner notes by Xavier Bellenger. English translation by Michael Vogel.
The collection «L’aventure du monde par les sons» is directed by Xavier Bellenger and P. Flambeaux.

I wouldn’t call this an example of “Cecil’s only fallibility”, after all he did say “it’s also possible for some people to control their vocal folds to sing two pitches intentionally.

Also covered in a General Questions thread.

Scientific American, I believe, had an article on this a couple years back.

So, are you saying that his fallibility is in not including information about throat singing? Not including all you know in an answer is not necessarily a bad thing.

Well at least he didn’t title the thread “Cecil was WRONG about Throat Singing!!!”

I saw some guy doing this before the Academy Awards on some pre-show. One of the nominees for Best Documentary feature this year was “Ghengis Blues” which is about throat singing, and some guy from the movie came to the awards. I haven’t seen the actual movie, but when the guy sang on TV it sounded NUTS. The people who throat sing are from “Tuva,” wherever that is.