Chant D'Ailleurs
for soprano and computer

1st Prize 'Golden Nica' Prix Ars Electronica 1992




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Chant I 7' 2"
Chant II 5' 8"
Chant III 4' 30''
Total 16' 40"

 Chant D'Ailleurs (Chant from Elsewhere) is a set of 3 song-like chants from a fictional culture. I imagined this culture as one which had developed technology in spite of having remained rural. This improbability accounts for the ritualistic and at times monodic nature of the singing, coupled to a computer part which seeks not to harmonize or orchestrate the songs but rather to extend the phrasing and timbre of the voice beyond it natural acoustic means.

Our culture has used each new technological development to further its original musical concerns: harmony, large scale form and timbre. My imaginary culture too, used technology to develop its rural and ethnic singing tradition. Based on this idea, I developed an imaginary singing style, with its own melisma, its own ornamental identity, the identity of a chanting 'tradition' that I invented. In this tradition, the tune of each chant is less important than its ornaments, which can have a much stronger musical profile. Such a tune is difficult to remember. We may recall the 'style' of the phrasing but not the phrase itself. The computer is also part of this imaginary style. The vocal sounds it manipulates and the new timbres it creates are articulated and 'performed' in a way which is consistent with the chanting style of the singer. When the computer takes the vocal sound and transforms them into new timbres, it does so following the 'stylistic constrains' of this imaginary culture.

I based the invented singing style on the traditions of different Eastern musics and in particular on one Mongolian folk tune which I specially like for its beautiful use of melisma and glottal vibrato.

Chant D'Ailleurs was commissioned by French Goverment for Group de Recherche Musicales and was premiered by Frances Lynch at the Grand Auditorium of Radio France in Paris, the 10th of February of 1992. The computer part was produced at G.R.M. using a Syter Computer to process original vocal sounds.