The Internal Hum Exercise

Last week, we practiced a basic humming exercise, this week, we will practice the internal hum.

In order to achieve the appropriate bone conduction and resonance we are looking for in this exercise, we will pay special attention to posture and tongue position.

For this exercise, we want to sit with the spine as straight as possible. I find sitting on the edge of a chair works best for me. Your head should be slightly inclined, mouth shut, your teeth should be touching gently so that your tongue occupies the entire mouth.

According to Alfred Tomatis, in his book L’oreille et le voix, this exercise should be practiced for “Hours over the course of weeks” to achieve the proper sound.

We are looking for a hum that comes guttural hum, that does not come from the mouth or nasal cavity but comes from deep inside. Tomatis states “the sound arises from the entire body through the excitation of the spinal column due to contact between the larynx and the cervical vertebrae.” He tells us to imagine attentive ears listening to us hum, situated at the level of the neck. This should give you an indication of where the sound should come from. This exercise will help you prepare the body for overtone singing, another powerful vocal technique we can use to heal ourselves and others.

“Sound produced in this way take a special timbre, very dense, colorful and lofty. It has a good quality, it is luminous, vibrant, light and full of space. It has an ethereal quality and seems to be outside the body. It literally awakens the environment with velvet and dense sonority. It carries with ease. What is more, this sound can be quickly modulated over two or three octaves without costing the singer any effort. This is bone conduction.”

To make progress, you must practice this exercise as often as possible. After much practice, you will be able to enlarge the sound, thickening it, making it denser, extending out and all directions. This skill, according to Tomatis is essential for good quality vocal emissions.

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