thoughts on music, design and literature

Monday, September 24, 2007

Insomnia (and Imogen Heap)

Still fighting a losing battle with my Cambodian-imported cold (see previous post). Part of that losing battle is sleepless nights, so what better thing to do than blog at 3:15 AM.

Had one of those flashes of inspiration today, and raced over to the piano to furiously jot down the chorus to my Irish song (for my upcoming album, Calling All Dawns), based on the 18th-century Irish epic poem Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghair. It's a homophonic, a cappella piece for women: what that means in plain-speak is that it's a song to be sung by a trio (or possibly quartet) of women, where the motion of the voices generally occurs all together in harmony.

What's my thought process behind this? The keen is a dirge for female soloist--generally speaking, a lament for her dead spouse. There's a call and response element to it as well, hence the need for the homophonic chorus. This configuration gives me the most intimate moment on the entire album--a piece right in the middle (it's slated for track 7 of 12) where we leave behind the rich orchestral writing and pare a song down to its basic elements: a melody, and a vocalist performing the hell out of it.

Though not quite Irish, here's the best example of an unaccompanied homophonic vocal I could think of. It's Imogen Heap's 'Hide And Seek':

Like I said, this song does it beautifully....that is, paring it down to its most basic elements: a melody, and a vocalist performing the hell out of it.

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