Tibetan Chant

   There are two religious traditions of chant in Tibet. In Bon, a syncretic religion predating the arrival of Buddhism in the eighth century, metrical texts may be recited in monotone or in various formulae (skad) or in more elaborate chants called dbyangs. Notation indicates the kind of formula to be used, but the tradition is essentially oral. Any ceremony must be accompanied by drums (mga). Cymbals (rolmo) and bells (silsnyan) may also be heard.
   The second tradition of Tibetan Buddhist chant is also essentially oral, showing wide variation among localities within at least four distinct subtraditions. Compiled manuals do indicate use of a chorus and instruments such as drums, bells, cymbals, clappers, conches, oboes, and trumpets. Dbyangs ("vowel") in Buddhist chant are solemn intonations of meaningless vowels inserted among the syllables of the liturgical text. The timbre of the singing is particular to the monastery.
   The "Tantric voice" associated particularly with the Gyume and Gyūtō monasteries involves the use of deep fundamental tones whose partials may be heard as biphonic chanting.

Historical dictionary of sacred music. . 2006.

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