Saturday, June 20, 2015
Multiphonic Chanting ...
"Multiphonic chanting" is the term Huston Smith coined for Tibetan monks' ability to sing three chords simultaneously.
“What those lamas did, however, has a significance that goes beyond singing. They took from the outskirts of awareness overtones ordinarily too faint to be heard and made them conscious. This is what worship is intended to do: move the sacred – in this case, sacred sound – from the periphery to the center. I asked one lama, ‘What’s it like to sing like that?’ He answered that at first it was quite ordinary, what anyone experiences when singing. Then, as the resonant chords take on a life of their own, it felt as though not he but a deity was creating the music and he was just riding the waves of it. As the chanting climaxed, in that crescendo all distinction between lama, deity, and chords collapsed and all sound was holy sound.”
Huston Smith, Jeffery Paine. “Tales of Wonder. Adventures Chasing the Divine. An Autobiography.” HarperOne, NY, 2009.