Sunday, March 6, 2005

Around the World

While searching for countries that are difficult to visit (for a school project) I looked for info on Tannu Tuva (see Friends of Tuva). I discovered an interesting site called Ethnopoetics which has sections on soundings, visuals, poems and discourses. The first one contains samples of Tuvan throat singing (ram or mp3), but also Celtic mouth music, Inuit throat music and much more.

I thought I had posted about Tuva and throat singing before, but I can’t find anything on my site. Well, here goes:

Tannu Tuva and Throat Singing

Reading Tuva or Bust – Richard Feynman’S Last Journey by Ralph Leighton inspired me to read more about throat singing, which is also called harmonic or overtone singing because you amplify harmonic overtones in a way that makes it sound like you sing two different notes at the same time. It’s hard to explain in words, but the resulting sound is quite amazing.

A good source of links is the Music of Tuva section of Friends of Tuva.

Check out, Steve Sklar‘s site about overtone singing. Sklar is an American who is capable of several different styles of overtone singing. He offers lots of free videos on his site (Quicktime required) and also has an overview of the types of throat singing with more sound and video examples. (Sklar also offers Tuvan throat singing lessons online, but you have to pay for them.) If you want to listen to differnt types of singing, I recommend Kombu (mp3): “Kaigal-ool of Huun-Huur-Tu (accompanying himself on doshpuluur) demonstrates perfectly the characteristic sound of the Xorekteer voice, with its hard, bright tone, and he uses it as a launching pad to sing khoomei, sygyt, and kargyraa.

Surprisingly, overtone singing was also “invented” independently by an American cowboy in the 1920ies: (Quote from

“The legendary and obscure Arthur Miles was an American cowboy singer who, apparently, also independently developed his own overtone singing style. He also sang in normal voice, yodeled, and played guitar. Almost nothing is know of him or his influences, but the dates of his recordings, believed to be about 1928-29, make him one of the earliest overtone singers ever recorded! Lonely Cowboy Part 1, Lonely Cowboy Part 2.”

And last but not least the Scientific American had an article on throat singing a couple of years ago: The Throat Singers of Tuva. “Testing the limits of vocal ingenuity, throat-singers can create sounds unlike anything in ordinary speech and song – carrying two musical lines simultaneously, say, or harmonizing with a waterfall.” By Theodore C. Levin and Michael E. Edgerton.

Cooking and Baking

This Tarte au citron looks and sounds yummy. I’ll have to try it some time.

Exploratorium: The Science of Cooking has sections about eggs, picles, candy, bread, seasoning and meat.

Link via MetaFilter.

Are they moving?

You can see plants in motion in these (Quicktime) movies, some of which are time-lapse films. The movies are sorted by categories such as tropisms, nastic movements etc.

Link via MetaFilter.


Die Arno-Schmidt-Referenzbibliothek enthält 121 Titel als PDF-Dokumente, u. a. Werke von Jules Verne, Edgar Allan Poe.

Link via Schockwellenreiter.


The Baby name wizard‘s Name Voyager is a cool Java applet that visualizes the commonness of names during the last 100 years in the USA. Looks like my name was popular there as well as here during the seventies, when I was born.

Link via rushme.


I can’t seem to get around to posting here more often. School has kept me very busy during the past weeks, the main reason being the Abitur. I taught a physics course in grade thirteen, and four of my students chose to take an oral exam in physics, which I had to direct. Now that the exams are over, I’m looking very forward to two weeks of easter break, which starts in two weeks. Let’s hope the weather gets a little warmer until then – we’ve had lots of snow and temperatures below zero (degrees Celsius) for long enough now. I’m looking forward to spring!