Robert Normandeau's Chorus: To the Victims of September 11th, 200111 (2002) includes characteristic soundworlds emerging from fundamental aspects of the three monotheistic religions: Judaism is denoted by the sounds generated by the shofar musical instrument, Christianity is symbolized by bell sounds and Islam is signified by the call to prayer by the muezzin. On the contrary, my work merely focusses on the Orthodox Christian religion. I used sounds from the priest in the Orthodox Christian Church in a way which could formulate a link towards Byzantine music (e.g. 9:12). However, there are also parts where the priest’s voice is heavily transformed and completely detached from its original attributes (e.g. 15:52). In addition, my work is also place-specific as stone soundworlds, symbolising the Church construction, were used (e.g. 3:08 – 3:23, rubbing and throwing stones soundworlds with implemented pitched resonance).
In Time Travel, the presence of a sound textural layer including a harmonious drone under the priest’s voice in (9:12 – 10:48) creates the perception of polyphony in the priest’s voice textural layer, when what actually happens is that the spectral space occupancy of the harmonious drone textural layer is wider and denser than the one of the priest’s voice textural layer, and the tonality centre of the two layers is the same (C minor). In addition, the spectral space occupancy alterations occurring in the harmonious drone textural layer (e.g. 10:09 – 10:17) make this polyphony perception more effective. The perception of polyphony gives the priest’s voice a hyper-real dimension and a more dominant presence and this has an impact in two levels: in terms of cultural context, it enhances the pivotal role of the priest and in terms of the work itself, it provides this section with polyphonic harmonicity; something missing from Byzantine music. This answers the key research question: How can the combination of different aspects of textural attributes – which are present in different overlapped textural layers – lead to the perception of new aspects of gestural motion or new ways of identifying specific soundworlds? What impact could this perception have on soundworlds which are related to specific aspects of Greek culture?
11Normandeau, R. (2006). The Art Of The Virtual Rhythmicon. Saint Paul – Minnesota: Innova Recordings