Watery sounds : Miniwanka, choral soundscapes, and watercolour choirs
Many songs have been written about water.
Some of these have been written for choir.
One of the most fun to sing is Miniwanka, R Murray Schafer's choral soundscape of the moments of water. Most probably because there is no wrong way to sing CHUCK! or nibinibi or BRRRRRRRAASHSHHSSSOHHOHSSS ... unless it's bel canto.
Water never dies.
Watery sounds are fun, teaching us what we can do with (to?) our voices.
And Schafer brings back the joy of consonants. SPLoSH!
(More on Consonants Are Our Friends in a later post. Remind me.)
But—I want more. Something beyond sounding like water—
sssssffftststsststss ...how do we perform the idea of water?
It seems to me that sound behaves in much the same way water would—traveling far or not so,
faster or slower, depending
on obstacle, or weight,
allowing the contours
of its container
suggest its form and shape.
Inspired by the way water frees paint, releasing colour that catches unevenly across the textured canvas, I wrote some songs for the SYC—
umbrella songs :
an umbrella octet sings from the middle of the stage, surrounded by a watercolour choir, who catch and carry the words.
Sounds travel through the space,
words get caught, painted
on the canvas that is the SYC.
During our Zoom call, the singers asked about catching and releasing sounds—
Must Nic wait for ZY to sing before she does? (See annotations on stage layout.)
What if JR—who has good ears—is the only one singing on stage left?
My response—let sound behave as sound does, changing through space, over time.
We only have to receive (words) with open hearts, and re-sound them with open voices.
A splatter, random.
One or two droplets.
Different paper, different smudge = Different hall, different spread.
Q: How does the song end?
A: I don't know. Water never dies.
Yeah, interesting to see how this turns out.