I heard of throat singing (perhaps more correctly called overtone singing) from the film Genghis Blues. Although Paul Pena went to Tuva, rather than Mongolia, it seems that some form of overtone singing happens in Mongolia.

Is it possible for English-speakers to learn throat/overtone singing in Mongolia?

  • 2
    Are you looking for a school? Or some private teacher? Or do you want to know if speaking the local language is technically absolutely necessary? Mongolia is a big country, I am sure if you are willing to pay enough SOMEONE will be willing to teach you?
    – uncovery
    Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 7:19
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    Nice question. In case this doesn't make it to being reopened: Yes, why not, but I think you'll have a hard time finding an English speaking throat singer able to teach you the technique. (I lived in Mongolia and met what, at the time, was probably the internationally most widely traveled Mongolian throat singing... ehm... band. None of them spoke a word of English :)
    – MastaBaba
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 2:12
  • @MastaBaba, please note: the OP asked if it were possible for English speakers to learn it. As long as someone is learning, there's no requirement for the instructor to speak English. In fact there's nothing in the OP's question indicating that an instructor is needed. Or even if lessons are offered. Please read the question :)
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 17:15
  • @GayotFow Meh. That's very tongue in cheek. One can learn rocket science, relativity and basketball without an instructor, too, indeed. But, reading is important, yes. There's nowhere in my comment where I state that a teacher is required... (But, why did you think OP mentioned Mongolia if no instructors are required?)
    – MastaBaba
    Commented Sep 26, 2015 at 1:32
  • @MastaBaba, that's probably better left for the OP to explain; I'm using the natural meaning of the words as they were written, but admit that the question may be misconceived.
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented Sep 26, 2015 at 3:08

1 Answer 1


It is possible for an English speaker to learn this unique style of singing.

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The series of photos show a British woman, who is an English speaker, engaging two such singers in an impromptu lesson. Neither speaks the other's language and the instruction is done via body language and imitation.

The bottom photo shows the sound being reproduced by the Brit (on the right). Although a beginner, the fundamental learning process has taken place.

The scenes are in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulaanbaatar.

For those wanting a practice lesson from the comfort of home, check out Khoomii (throat singing) lesson by Sundui

For those planning to learn on a visit, the best place to meet and engage someone to teach is at the Naadam Festival, where there are throat singing competitions.

Update 30 Sept 2015

I have now watched the film "Genghis Blues", which documents the travel by Paul Pena to Mongolia for the purpose of learning 'throat singing'. While it's true he eventually acquired a working knowledge of the language after a long time, when he first arrived and started learning his knowledge was limited to a few serviceable phrases of the sort that any traveller could pick up from a generic phrase book.

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    And where would one go about finding these courses?
    – JoErNanO
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 18:54
  • At the Naadam. It's the main cultural event in Mongolia.
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 18:29

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