The choir

The Europa Obertonchor is an international project choir which was 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. In 2017 Ute Schäfer took over this office. In 2019 we have Indra Tedjasukmana as conductor. Wolfgang Saus is the overtone singing and choir sound coach of the choir.

Adventuresomely, experienced choir singers of all voice sections and conductors who want to develop their vocal potential are cordially invited to our annual project weeks. Overtone singing experience is not required.

“Overtones are included in all sounds.
They are the basis of music and all languages of the world.
Overtone singing makes our similarities audible.”

The choir, which is unique in Europe, places the overtones at the centre of its vocal and choral sound work. The fine tuning of vocals and intonation creates completely new choral sounds. We perform choral works written especially for overtone singing technique, but also classical choral literature of various musical genres, some with small ensembles. Some works were written especially for the EOC and will be premiered by us. We improvise and experiment, also on stage.

Direction 2019

Indra Tedjasukmana, choral conductor, arranger and composer.
Wolfgang Saus, internationally renowned overtone singer, sound researcher and voice coach.

Run of a rehearsal week

On the first day all new singers will be heard by our choirmasters. So they can get an exact picture of the group and give tips on voice development. In the course of the choir week it is also possible to rehearse in small groups.
As a rule there are joint choir rehearsals in the mornings and evenings and workshops on voice and timbre in the afternoons. In small groups, basic techniques of overtone singing are newly learned, refined and applied.
Jam sessions at night, excursions and celebrations also belong to the tradition.

Overtone singing in choir

Again and again this amazing effect astonishes the listeners when suddenly two melodies come from one throat. From these unusual sounds comes an irresistible magic. The naturally pure intervals characteristic of the overtones seem almost unreal, space- and timeless, and float crystal clear and unlocatable in space. Such new sounds naturally fascinate the composers and inspire them to create new, previously unheard-of choral sound works.

It is new to write down overtones, so that overtone experienced choir singers can bring the desired overtones into the choral sound or as a melody part. All choir singers have the potential to do this, because overtones are a natural component of every vocal sound. Vocal sound is a chord of partials that, when heard individually, sound like whistles. However, our hearing usually does not perceive the overtones, but summarizes them to form the timbre. Overtone singing makes them audible.

Overtone singing is used in the choir in many different ways:

Classical choral music
  • Extremely refined intonation
  • New level of homogeneity
  • Other hearing by the singers (hearing inside the sound)
  • voice formation, refined voice functions
New choral music
  • overtone melodies choral and solo
  • Overtone effects
  • A New World of Composable Tones
  • Tone improvisation