Sunday, 30 March 2014

Thoughts on drones

I need to read over music at the Fragment of Reds event on the 5th April - the original music gleaned from notation in the Missal fragment. - so I have been researching the use of drones.

Official publicity photo for Fragments of Red

And there is some extant troubadour tradition to suggest how this might be achieved:

for example, in a study http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/music-and-theater-arts/21m-220-early-music-fall-2010/assignments/MIT21M_220F10_assn_p1a.pdf the anonymous writer (all very mysterious - no name to cite!) makes these observations:

The most striking differences between these interpretations lie in their instrumentation and accompanimental [sic] patterns...

  • a woman sings over a persistent hurdy-gurdy drone, with a lute (the long-necked saz) accenting certain syllables and playing interludes between verses. Between the third and fourth verses is a lengthy interlude involving hurdy-gurdy, lute, and percussion – this is motivic and does not imitate the melody of the singer.
  • this piece features a soprano ...who is doubled throughout by a fiddle, with a lute that is most audible between verses.
  • [The next example's] interesting performance includes a rebec drone, over which the full 
  • melody is played first by a lute and then by a flute. While the flute plays, a man recites two verses of the poem, in English translation, following which the flute and lute play the melody together with nakers and a rebec drone. 
  • As for the concluding performance..there is simply a solo female voice. 


So I get to play around with my stresses this week. I don't have a live musician or music to follow me so it is question of my working my words into the chant. I am reading a sequence that is deliberately fragmentary...and I already know that I won't feel precious about recreating it exactly as the printer version suggests. We'll see. I'll keep you posted.

(Maybe 4 minutes of vertigo...)


More on the writing Fragments project here http://fragmentsinwords.tumblr.com/ and there will be more opportunities to experience the poetry and art produced later in 2014.



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