January 2011 | Vocal Bliss

January 2011

Vocal Curiousities (Part I)

By Fabio Ramesha Nani

1.  Breaking a Glass With Your Voice
Sometimes students ask me if I know how some people are able to break a glass with their voice.

The theory is quite simple:
A glass has a natural resonance. Resonance is the natural frequency at which the glass will readily vibrate. To find the resonance of the glass, ping the glass and listen to the sound. That is the correct frequency (or tone) at which the glass will start to vibrate. Singing the same tone as the natural frequency of the glass will induce vibration in the glass. However, the note itself is not the only factor – volume is also important. The louder the sound, the more violent the vibrations will be. When they reach a level that the glass cannot withstand, it will shatter.

​The volume required is more than 100 db, a level that is difficult but not impossible to reach with just the voice. Normal speech is around 50 db. In experiments, often an amplifier and speaker are used to achieve the required volume.

​I don’t recommend it, but if you really want to try this for yourself, here are brief directions. For more detailed instructions visit the website at the end of this section.

​Using a crystal glass with a stem, hit the glass lightly to find out what note it produces, then sing that same note very loudly until the glass breaks. Directs the sound on a concentrated area of the glass, very close to your mouth. –From: http://www.breakglass.org/How-does-sound-break-glass.html

2.   Overtone Singing, or Singing More Notes at Once
Overtone singing, also known as overtone chanting, or harmonic singing, is a type of singing in which the singer manipulates the resonances (or formants) created as air travels from the lungs, past the vocal folds, and out the lips to produce a melody.

​The partials (fundamental and overtones) of a sound wave made by the human voice can be selectively amplified by changing the shape of the resonant cavities of the mouth, larynx and pharynx. This resonant tuning allows the singer to create apparently more than one pitch at the same time (the fundamental and a selected overtone), while in effect still generating a single fundamental frequency with his/her vocal folds.

​Another name for overtone singing is throat singing. It is believed the art of throat singing has originated in southwestern Mongolia in today’s Khovd and Govi-Altai region. Nowadays, throat singing is found throughout the country and Mongolia is often considered to be the most active place of throat singing in the world. –From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overtone_singing

​Here’s an example of Overtone Singing:

If you’re really interested in learning this technique, go to:


Excerpts from: The Power of the Voice: Transform and Heal Your Life
by Swami Kriyananda

“Swami Vivekananda said that the first thing you develop when you become a yogi is a sweet voice. I’ve seen the same thing here at Ananda—when people live here for a while, their voices automatically begin to become sweet because they are becoming sweet”




Feel free to contact me about any singing-related issue or doubt that you might have. I will do my best to help you  find a solution for it.

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