The European Overtone Choir
The Europen Overtone Choir is an international project choir, founded in 2006 by Jan Staněk and Wolfgang Saus in the Czech Republic. From 2006 to 2016, Prof. Steffen Schreyer was conductor and musical director of the choir. 2017 Ute Schäfer takes over this role. Wolfgang Saus is the overtone singing and choral sound coach of the choir.
We cordially welcome experimental, experienced choral singers and choir directors who want to develop their vocal potential to our project weeks. We offer twice a year each a week of rehearsals with the final concert. Overtone singing experience is not required.
Harmonics are present in all sounds. They provide the basis of music and all the languages of the world. Overtone singing makes them audible.
The choir is unique in Europe. The harmonics are the focus of vocal and choral sound work. The fine-tuning and intonation of vowels generates totally new choral sounds. We perform choral works that were written specifically for overtone singing, but also classical choral literature of various genres, some in small ensembles. Some works have been written especially for the EOC and are premiered by us. We improvise and experiment, also on stage.
Ute Schaefer, choral conductor and singing teacher.
Wolfgang Saus, internationally renowned overtone singer, a sound researcher and vocal coach.
Chloir leaders →
The European Overtone Choir is a project choir to sing along. We offer twice a year to a week of rehearsals with the final concert. The cast consists of the respective participants and is new in every project. Each of the weeks can be booked individually.
We sing mostly from scores. Some pieces are composed conventionally, others require overtone singing of varying degrees of difficulty. Simple overtone parts can easyly be sung by every choir singer without any prior knowledge. Singers without overtone singing experience can either learn basics of overtone singing in the afternoon workshops or sing without overtones. More experienced overtone singers are given the opportunity to rehearse more complex overtone compositions in a chamber ensemble or to sing solo parts.
The overtone based work on the timbre and the vocal tuning plays a central role in the rehearsals and in the workshops. The aim of the choir is the development of the vocal sound of each singer and the whole choir sound. Characteristic of the choir is to experiment and to explore the limits of voice. The rehearsal of the pieces is therefore only one aspect of the choral work. Through daily intensive study of the overtones, attendees will gain an entirely new approach to their voice and to their way of listining. Just intonation and tone color in the light of the overtones get a new practical and intuitive meaning.
Again and again the listeners of this amazing effect are stunned when suddenly two tunes come from a single throat. These unusual sounds exert an irresistible charm. The just intonation of the overtones appears almost unreal, without space and floating time, crystal clear and not locatable in space. These new sounds fascinate, of course, composers and inspire new, previously unprecedented choral sound works.
Harmonics are a natural part of every vocal sound. A musical tone consists of a chord of partials, which, if they are individually hears sound like whistles sounds. Our ears does not perceive the harmonics usually, but combines them to a sound colour. Overtone singing makes them audible.
Overtone singing in the choir is used in several ways:
Classical choir music
- Extremely refined intonation
- New level of homogeneity
- Another hearing on the singers (listening to the inside of the sound)
- Voice training, refined voice functions
Contemporary choir music
- Overtone melodies in choir and soloistic
- Overtone sound effects
- A whole new world of composable sound colours
- Sound improvisation