No one knows exactly where and when
khuumii comes from. According to the Mongolians khuumii's “birth place” is in
Chandmani Soum in the west of Mongolia. However, the kind of singing is also
found in other places. They mainly center on the Altai and Sayan Mountain
Overtone singing or Khuumii is a type of
singing in which the singer manipulates the resonances created as air travels
from the lungs, past the vocal folds, and out the lips to produce a melody. It
is believed the art of throat singing has originated from south western
Mongolia in today’s Khovd and Govi-Altai provinces. Today, throat singing is
found throughout the country and Mongolia is often considered as the most
active place of throat singing in the world.
Most of the other theories about
the origin of khuumii are connected with the sounds of nature or supernatural
Birds are said to produce khuumii like
sounds especially the bittern, which makes a special sound when its head is
under water. The crane call and the sound of the snow cocks wings are said to
be like khuumii. Khuumii is sometimes
referred to as voice echo or birds echo.
The sounds of water running between
rocks and in particular the sound of the river Eev are said to be where the
origins of khuumii belong. No one knows the exact location of the river but the
Tuvans, Uriangkhai and western Khalkh Mongolians all say that khuumii was
connected to the rivers magical features.
UNESCO listed Mongolian Khuumii or
Mongolian Throat Singing as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mankind.