Overtone enhancer or filter - Tibetan Monks

Does anybody know of a plugin or a tool how to significantly enhance and edit the amount and the volume of overtones of a signal? What I am looking for is a sound that is a little like the overtones, that you hear in tibetan monks chants - but without the deep main Tone. I would like to take a gong or a singing bowl and then extract the rich overtones and then use them in compositions. I tried with good EQs and also recording the signal very close and then move the mic around, but it does not really sounds like pure Overtones flirring around … any ideas someone?

try to increase the resonance of an EQ or filter just on the brink of self oscillation?
Then control the pitch of the filter from pitch bend or MIDI notes or something like that?

… yeah, tried that in Kontakt with HP and LP filters, but did not sound like the stuff I need … it sounded too static, but maybe thats also how I did it …

Try a vocoder and/or extremely short deays

Thinking out loud here…

Copy track.

Try to find the Frequency/s of the main tone by sweeping a eq or using an analyser, once identified cut all other frequency’s as much as possible just leaving the fundamental.

Using a liner phase EQ here would probably be best, do not boost the fundamental frequency.

Then use the filtered track to subtract from the original signal by reversing the “phase” of the filtered “fundamental” track.

If it works, it should leave you with the overtones/harmonics.

Izotope Spectron


Yeah. Takes some getting used to but an awesome plugin for warping (or wrecking) sounds. :wink: Probably one of the most unusual ones out there.

… thank you everybody for the input, now I know what I will try out tomorrow:) … sounds all interesting!


Conscious use of overtones is part of my singing technique and I was fortunate enough to be taught by Jill Purce, Michael Ormiston, and his teacher, the Mongolian Khöömii singer, Tserendavaa. I don’t do the Tibetan Monk style, more the Siberian and Tuvan style.

There are some principles. Firstly, the source for what you are wanting to achieve needs to be the human voice. If you listen to a washing machine or a vacuum cleaner, those overtones are clear as bells however, they are very different from human. OK, If you seperate the partials enough, I’m sure you can reverse-engineer the whole deal, but I recommend using ‘human text’ to begin with, given that it IS human monk sounds you are aiming for.

Secondly, whilst the frequency ‘choice’ is important, a more organic filter to use is one which works the vowel sounds. The precise method of overtoning is to generate or withold vowel sounds from different parts of your mouth and throat.

Step 1:
Close your throat and mouth cavity … press your tongue against your lower teeth and sometimes even touch the inside of your lower lip. Hold that constant and create OO-OH-AW-AH-EH-IH-EE-EEE.
Notice how you are using your lip shape, and your toungue-to-teeth shape.

Step 2:
Now hold the lips OO shape, and go through all the vowels with your tongue-teeth.
Now hold the lips OH shape, and go through all the vowels with your tongue-teeth.
Hold the lips in each of the other vowel shapes as you ‘filtersweep’ your tongue-teeth.

Step 3:
Get half way up your throat to go like you are about to vomit, then get it to go like the urge to vomit is just passing, then get it to go like it is threatening to ‘gag’ or vomit again. Keep making vocal noises and notice how you are cutting off more or less of different frequencies in a note … SOME OF WHICH tend to enhance a specific vowel sound, and some of which tend to attenuate it.
Play with this ‘vomit’ parameter and apply it to all the bits of step 2.

Step 4:
PRETEND to burp … you do this by resonating the same bits of the airway you’d ‘really’ do with air from your stomach HOWEVER … you do it with air from your lungs. Make sure to keep a sound with your vocal chords. notice how the burp resonance ‘chops’ the vocal chord output … thins out the sound … especially the midrange.
Play with this ‘burp’ parameter and apply it to all the bits in step 2.
Notice how step 2 and step 3 interact … they are both ‘cutoff’ filters, though subjectively, it feels like ‘enhancing’ the more ‘biting’ aspects. Bit like on a violin, the use of a mute makes the violin seem ‘more’ full … because it has CUT the higher frequencies.

These steps all have traditional names … for example, in Siberia, emphasis of the Step 4 filter is known as ‘Royal’ overtoning. From very early on, I decided to use more physically relevant terms. De-mystify.

To generate them electronically … I will make a guess: Start with a sample of a Human Voice, working in a specific Vowel sound. Voices of the Apocalypse, or its offspring, Symphonic Choir gives choral samples of vowel sounds.
From those starting points, work with parametric eq. Also, if possible, find a ‘vowel’ filter and play with that.

My own opinion is that it is crucial to learn to generate them with your Own Mouth and throat … you need not ‘get it so right’ that you can simply do straight vocal takes and you’re good to go … though, believe me, it IS possible, and not difficult. However, I promise, it will give you an infinitely superior r3eference, when it comes to working on modifying vocal samples.

Final step: Ambiance.
This is interesting. You mention the swirling. Well first, an essential aspect of that is the room acoustics. Overtoning is like applying a scalpel to sound. You can literally find a hall’s resonance points and work them.

Listen to this: GAUDETE!
I am the low voiced male, no closer to the mikes than many of the others, yet I am cutting through precisely because I am targeting specific overtones … notice the specificity of my vowel sounds. Listen to my ‘DE’ and ‘TE’ in gaudeTE. Listen to how my Virgine is working the I and the E to the limit. Here I am working everything from Step 1 through 3. For lower notes, I’d be working step 4. Notice how I am coming from slightly different places in the stereo field. It is because slight difference in my resonating vibrate different parts of the hall. That is the apparent swirling … imagine a room ful of monks … all going at it slightly differently … you’ve got a roomful of spatially displaces point sources working with pinpoint specificity, though not accuracy. Combined movement = swirling in this case.
I don’t know it present state of the art room modelling is ready to represent that yet, so I do think that some multitracking and timeshifting at least the early reflection parameters would be in order. The monk sitting in dead-centre of the room will be doing different things from the one near the wall.

I decided to go for a possibly ‘too much detail’ inventory of the process in the hope that, like a fully laid buffet table, you may find some things to choose that are useful.

Best wishes



You never cease to amaze me with the stuff you find :laughing:

@ HowlingUlf: lol, great find!

Thanks again for the many ideas! The short delay (did it with UAD2 Cooper timecube) and some heavy filtering plus the EMT140 kind of sound what I wanted, but not quite there yet. Vowel filters (checked out Roger by Audio Ease) are cool but what I found so far sounds too synthetic for what I need. I want to boost the overtones of singing bowls and stuff like that, so that it has that swirling overtone feel of monks. Thanks to you (Zenda) I undestand a little more what these monks actually do. Maybe its a little silly to try to get that penetrating vibation they create with singing bowls …? I will keep on trying though.

Awwwwwww Bless!

I had Delay Lama as inset effect for years.

Ulf! …

:exclamation: :question: … 'ang on … where’s the 'king APPLAUSE emoticon? :imp:

OK. Jolly well done, Ulf. Yes. Jolly well done.

Ha ha! Yeah… I remember this cool plugin. I once used it as a lead on an electronic(ish) instrumental. It was a lot of fun :laughing:

Probably not quite what the original poster is after however… :wink:

Delay Lama is a classic plug. I’ve still got it somewhere.