|Numinous The Music of Joseph C. Phillips Jr.|
The Numinosum Blog
Speaking of singing as I did in my last post this afternoon, I just came across these videos of composer Eric Whitacre's virtual choir. An interesting concept where 100-150 people record themselves singing individual parts to one of Whitacre's compositions and then the separate videos are digitally spliced together to create one choir, singing together. He writes on his blog about the genesis behind the idea as well as the technical issues in getting multiple YouTubers to sound like one ensemble.
Seeing all of those little windows of people from around the world singing his certainly pleasant composition Lux Aurumque in a virtual space is definitely striking and somehow touching and beautiful. While this seems like an extension of the YouTube Orchestra and definitely a cool, fun idea, somehow this crowd sourcing one's band, where you don't have any true interaction between members of the virtual group, feels a little detached to me. It seems to go against the social and communal aspects and meanings of music (musicking) that have been and continue to be a part of many world-wide culture's music making. While going against tradition and looking for new, creative ways to produce one's music is always good, maybe this is no different than Conlon Nancarrow creating piano rolls to perform his music without performers or the singular hip-hop musician/producer/auteur creating every detail of an album on their computer without another person. Or no different than sitting down with a CD or mp3 and the 'virtual-ness' of an ensemble or group, receiving the music rather than being a part of it. Maybe the virtual choir is a symptom of the times.
Perhaps the next step is to have Eric Whitacre conduct live in front of an audience, while the multiple screens of YouTubers singing are streamed live, with the audio and video mixed together and shown in a club or concert hall in real time. Technical issues aside, that would be a way to create some kind of interaction between participants. Now having heard the virtual group though, I would be interested to hear live versions of Lux Aurumque and Sleep. I do wonder what my reaction would be?
POSTED BY NUMINOUS AT 6:32 PM
To all things that create a sense of wonder and beauty that inspires and enlightens.