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Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 2.0

Though...While I think this is pretty cool to watch, I have to say that I'd participate in his next virtual choir just to say I'd done it. The idea of singing a choral work alone in my room, of not singing it in a room with the rest of a choir... I dunno. It seems wrong to me.

Then again, I haven't listened to Whitacre's TED Talk yet. My guess is he addresses concerns like that. You know, rather than just talking about the idea and the technology involved.

Or at least I hope so. I can't imagine a choral composer (and yes, I know he composes instrumental/chamber works, too; I do follow his Twitter feed) not understanding the lovely organism that is a choir. The Virtual Choir seems somewhat like a Frankenstein being to me.

Date: 2011-04-09 11:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, it seems very strange to me.

Date: 2011-04-10 02:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
i wouldn't mind the whole singing by myself part, but the music i got from them was only available in individual parts. not written out as a choral score with all the parts visible, but with the alto 2 part (for example) written out all by itself. um, no thank you. i like to see what everyone else is up to--especially if i can't hear them. i wrote and asked if the music was available in a choral or even conductor's format but never heard back. i got an e-mail a while after that saying that no one had been checking the e-mail to which i sent my note, so i figure next time they do one i'll ask again, but otherwise, i'm pretty meh about it.

Date: 2011-04-10 05:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*nods* Well, both "Sleep" and "Lux Aurumque" (the piece he used for Virtual Choir 1.0) are pieces that were published at least several years ago, so it should be easy to get copies of them from a lot of university/college choirs. Or music libraries.

Still, I find it weird. It triggers some anxiety, oddly—maybe that something as spiritual as creating a piece of choral music can be divided into such isolated parts, manipulated, etc. Because, especially in "Sleep," some of that has to be electronically manipulated: the balance, the very, very quietness at the end (which actually seems near impossible vocally—I think it can only be created by digitally "fading out" the sound). How far is it from a choir that uses auto-tuning?

And where is the spirituality of it? Is quality lost or gained when the pieces are atomized like that? Is the experience as transcendent for anyone?

Just thoughts. It's been sort of picking at my psyche since I first heard "Sleep"; that it was done with so many people and that it seems to be Whitacre's new favorite thing both sit poorly.

Date: 2011-04-17 06:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I just watched the TED talk. First, WOW. Second, yeah, he basically says that his sense is that there is a genuine feeling of connection, not just a virtual one, but I feel like he's more talking about the sense of interconnectedness of humanity and not so much about what that brings to the music. For me, I feel like the warm fuzzy feeling I get when I experience these virtual choral performances is partly because Whitacre's music is just so freaking awesome and partly because of the "ooh how cool that we can do this with technology" thing, but it isn't the same warm fuzzy feeling from being in the same room with the singers. I dunno. It's a little creepy for me to watch the videos of people singing with their heads down looking at their computer screens instead of at the audience, but I guess I feel less bothered by that than I do by people onstage singing with their heads down looking at their music. Because I'm a snob. And I want my singers to look at me. :)


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