As part of our 2016-2017 season we’re giving each of our core singers a turn at the helm of the blog. The below post below comes from our soprano, Charlotte Mundy.
Why bother with microtonal music?
I ask myself this question often, especially when I should be practicing microtonal music. I complain, ‘it takes soooo much work to learn, the myriad obscure symbols people use to notate it are confusing, and the human voice, prone as it is to pitch inconsistency, cannot possibly be the best tool for rendering infinitesimally precise systems of tuning. So why am I sitting inside on a beautiful spring afternoon singing along to a midi rendering?!?!’
But then Ekmeles gets together for rehearsal, somehow we manage to produce some precise, just-tuned chords, and suddenly I remember:
Because it’s literal magic, that’s why.
A couple weeks ago we got our first chance to sing with the electronic part for Christopher Trapani’s brand new piece, End Words, and we kept breaking down in fits of giggles. OK, partly that was because we were hearing each others’ voices unexpectedly coming out of speakers mounted on the walls around us – talking, humming, singing – as if our invisible dopplegangers were popping in and out of the room at will. But also, the harmonies we were immersed in, based on the harmonic series and rendered perfectly via digitally-tuned recordings, are utterly disarming. I can’t help but feel a little off-balance and giddy when I’m immersed in them.
Come to our show next Saturday, May 20, at the DiMenna Center to hear (and feel!) what I mean. Along with the world premiere of End Words, we’ll perform two other works that have awesome electronic tracks and gorgeous vocal writing – Zosha Di Castri’s The Animal After Whom Others are Named and Joanna Bailie’s Harmonizing – and Courtney Bryan’s kinetic, exciting A Time For Everything. Hope to see you there!