(Originally published in Musicworks Magazine Issue #38 Spring 1987  Toronto:Music Gallery pp.4-8 )

Three years ago while studying non-Indo-European language structures,
I became intrigued with the underlying structural principles that are universal
to all languages, and the implications of these principles both for the understanding of vocal sounds as acoustic phenomena and as a model for structuring these sounds into some sort of timbral syntax.

In linguistics, language is deconstructed into sonic patterns of vowels and consonants. When semantic constraints are released, all languages can provide an infinite resource of vocal sounds that can be organized along a continuum of sound colour, or timbre to create transformation and contrast in music.

The human voice is the acoustic instrument with the greatest potential for timbral transformation, and the sound source for which we have the richest structural comprehension. In the rich and varied tradition of sacred chant, vocal music is structured as a stream of vowels and consonants. This is also true of the ancient tradition of Bulgarian singing which is based on the drone principle—words are sung on a single, repeated pitch, with continuous changes in timbre created by changing patterns of vowels.

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