I am currently in my final year of my graduate program, and as part of the requirements to graduate, I must complete both a written thesis and a thesis exhibition. My exhibition project involves me composing a 6-part vocal music arrangement.
The Composition Process
My method of composition began with meditative fractal drawings made by my subconscious, as seen on my Microcosms page. The drawing of origin was made on a piece of lined manuscript paper, and then divided out into systems of circles based on the number of lines and spaces present on 15-note music box scrolls. Once these systems were determined, I traced them with spaced between them, and scanned them into Photoshop. I drew out a vector matrix similar to the 15-note music box scrolls, placed the scan of the systems of circles on the matrix, and placed dots inside the center of each circle.
Each of these systems were enlarged and printed out separately, where I could manually connect the notes into chord clusters and write out the note names in the clusters. This process generated a myriad of drawings, but never helped me translate the music into the composition software while keeping the rhythm accurate to the drawings. To make matters more complicated, when I had written out the note names, I had forgotten that the music box strips I use are in the key of C, yet I was writing in flats and sharps.
To resolve this issue, I created a master music box strip with all 8 of the circle systems and captured an audio recording of the music box playing. My collaborator, Niko D. Schroeder, created the music box recording into a MIDI file, which kept the rhythm in correct relationship to the rhythm of the drawings. After adjusting the key signature for vocalists to sing, we found the entire 8-drawing composition would be over 700 measures and near an hour long, so this final composition is made from only the first system of circles.
The Presence of Music in the Exhibition
Throughout the process, I’ve gone through layers and levels of translation, as well as errors in translation, and I’m interested in the number of variables that result from the same point of origin. I’m also interested in how this play out within the context of living in community with other individuals. Music boxes with each voice part with be displayed with a fiber sculpture displaying marks from the same data. Quick Response (QR) codes will be paired with each sculpture as well, that, when scanned, will direct the viewer to a SoundCloud where individuals singing that voice part can be played back. In the center of the gallery will play a recording of a choir singing the choral composition with all of the parts together.
Where you come in: I am crowd-sourcing the vocalists for the SoundCloud archive of the many different voices singing their respective voice parts, accessible via QR codes paired with my artworks. Based on the number of viewers in the gallery space and their level of communication with the other people in the space, this presents a composition with variable performances, as well as a cacophony of sound.
The Rehearsal Tracks are Ready!
The rehearsal tracks can be found at my SoundCloud. The recording quality is not studio recording quality. My pianist was my mom, and we recorded these while I was home over Christmas break. Some of the parts have a cookie timer going off, my brother’s dog’s collar jingling, and the clicking of a cookie dough scooper. Baritones and basses - I apologize for the number of rests. You may hear snickering in the background of this track.
How to submit your recording:
1) Listen to your voice part several times until it’s in your head. If you read music, you can read over or play your part for yourself as well. The pianist will count the rhythm before beginning the track; she is counting all of the measures of rests in her head.
2) Record yourself singing your part on a neutral “ah”. You can record this on a voice recorder on your phone, a digital voice recorder, or webcam/microphone.
3) Once you’ve recorded your part, you can submit the recording by emailing me at ekkyr4 AT mail.missouri.edu.
Please get your submission to me by midnight February 15th, 2019 at the latest.
*Underlined text has necessary links
Thank you so much for participating. Even if you don’t feel comfortable recording yourself singing, please share this opportunity with the singers you know. Thanks again!