Claudio F. Milstein
Dept. of Speech and Hear. Sci., Univ. of Arizona, Bldg. 71, Tucson, AZ 85721
Multiphonic chanting refers to highly specialized vocal techniques wherein one person is able to sing two or more tones simultaneously. Tibetan chanting is one of these techniques. Five Tibetan monks were studied (two low chanters and three high chanters). Digital recordings, EGG, airflow glottograms, oral fiberoptic laryngoscopy, and perceptual data were analyzed. Spectra from both types of chanters presented a display of extremely well defined F[sub 1] and F[sub 2] tuned to specific harmonics (harmonics 5 and 9 for low chanters and harmonics 2 and 4 for high chanters). Low chanters showed unusual activity at the vocal fold level and were able to maintain the multiphonic quality and formant tuning despite significant modifications of the vocal tract. It is suggested that the larynx is responsible for the production of the multiple tones in low chanters. Low and high chanters appear to use different strategies to achieve the same multiphonic effect. Our findings corroborate earlier findings by Smith, Stevens, and Tomlinson [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 41, 1262--1264 (1967)] for low chanters.