6.6. The last scene of Twin Peaks – ‘Second years’ Vocal Project’
I had a similar feeling to a bizarre David Lynch scene, when in the second year of my Bachelors I was on the singers’ side in a Vocal Project. In this project, second year composers write a song for a second year singer. This is called Vocal project, because it is mainly he Composition department’s project, and to distinguish it from other projects, they always name the type of performers. But whenever I talked to my singer peers, and I mentioned ‘the Vocal Project’, they always looked at me like: but Georgi, all the projects we do, are vocal! We are singers! So I realized, now I'm on the other side of the mirror, here it is: the Composers’ project! The initiative of the project is great, and exactly addresses the lack of teaching of vocal composition techniques. The students must visit each other’s lessons. Or at least, the composers must visit singing lessons, learn about the voice, and see their singer in light of other repertoires that they are studying with their teacher. Unfortunately however, many times this compulsory work is skipped, and the singer gets a score two weeks before the premiere, and there is not much that can be done anymore.
Although we tried to work together with my composer, the piece I got wasn’t suitable for my voice.
- the tessitura was uncomfortable
- my dynamic nuances were not available in that range, so the balance with the accompanying English horn wasn’t always achievable
- some passages were too difficult to maintain and were tiring etc.
- there was no text or expression markings, so it was very abstract to build up a character, or find honest initiatives, which made the voice flow even less
These uncomfortable details and my own not yet fully developed technique made me into the nightmare composers imagine when thinking about working with singers.
- complaining about what I don’t like
- holding notes shorter when it wasn’t comfortable to hold them longer
- I sung other notes much longer, even if they didn’t match the accompaniment
- I used vibrato where he asked me not to
- I wasn’t able to phrase, on either a micro and macro level. The piece didn’t go anywhere
- It wasn’t an inspired performance, there was no energy or flow
- Thus, the subconscious information in my voice was somewhere between boredom, annoyance, feeling of punishment and pure shame.
I realized, I became a typical, bad singer.
Later I realized, I wasn’t even one.
Luckily, I was still just on the way.