SPIRIT OF AN OVERTONE
2 1/2 mins reading time
Harmonic overtone singing, or toning, is a particularly wonderful and
uplifting branch of Sacred Sound. It was originally developed by tribal
people in Central Asia, notably the Tuvans, as throat singing. From
there it passed to the Tibetans, becoming part of the spiritual
observances of some Tibetan monks. It has been used in Shamanic ritual
and ceremony for many centuries and has been a part of the practice of
many Mystic Path Traditions.
To create overtones, a singer sounds a continuous fundamental tone that
allows overtones to emerge as secondary voices sounding above the
original note. This is done by varying the shape of the mouth parts and
throat so that a number of distinct notes can be heard as fluting or
whistling sounds creating their own melody. Vowel sounds have long been
associated with accessing the Divine, and it is these that are used to
create overtones. Although all the sounds produced by overtone singing
are physically created, there is something intrinsically magical about
it. Working with overtones is like singing with the angels.
From a metaphysical standpoint, all music creates astral forms that are
visible to the clairvoyant. The music forms associated with certain
compositions generate small nature spirits who interact with the music,
working with its ability to affect astral and etheric material. Some of
the most exquisite of these small beings are associated with overtones.
When the fundamental tone is sounded, a cloud of colour is created that
emanates from the singer’s mouth on the breath. The colour is
determined by the note chosen, the intention of the singer and the
quality or refinement of the voice. As the overtones begin to emerge
from the initial note, a melody stream flows out from the cloud in an
undulating ribbon of light and colour.
With each overtone, a small winged spirit pops into being, seeming to
emerge from the colour of the melody stream itself. They are formed
from silvery white light, touched with a variety of soft colours
according to the nature of the overtone of which they are a part.
Crowns of energy stream from their heads, interspersed with filmy,
web-like structures that are instrumental in processing the sound. They
are very detailed and clearly defined and are highly evolved for their
By the end of the tone, a number of the spirits can be seen floating at
regular intervals along the sparkling ribbon. They make a variety of
slow and graceful movements, stretching and posturing as if basking in
the sound. Their shapes and movements combine with the vibration of the
sounds to condition and refine the nearby etheric substance, so that
astral material flows through it in ways that are clearing, healing or
refining, according to the intention held in the mind of the singer.
The overtone spirits shimmer and vibrate in the air for some time after
the physical sounds cease. Eventually they fade into the surrounding
Where many tones are sung one after another, the melody streams
containing the little nature spirits interweave and flow together,
creating a display of light and beauty. Anyone viewing these spirits
can be left in no doubt of the spiritualising effect of Sacred Sound and of overtone singing in particular.
The overtone available as a sound file on this page is sung by Chris
James, an extraordinarily gifted singer and talented teacher of Sacred
Sound. His company is aptly named ‘Sounds Wonderful Pty Ltd’. Chris
resides in New South Wales, Australia and teaches and performs in Australia and
internationally. His voice is truly an instrument of the Divine.
Many thanks to Chris for generously allowing us to use this overtone on
The wonderful ‘Spirit of an Overtone’ in the illustration is one of a
stream of four accompanying an overtone sung by Chris. We observed them
a number of years ago when Chris stayed in our home and conducted
workshops for us and many of our students and friends.
The entire series of these spirits will be featured in our book,
‘Spirits of Nature and Angels’ which we are currently writing and
To hear a recording of an overtone
CLICK on the