Text from Twitter?
Date: September 20, 2013
Most of the conversation we have about using technology in the choral world involves the process: doing things more effectively or efficiently to manage or operate the choir. Setting aside the process, we should remember that technology can affect the product, too: the actual choral performance. Given the "process or product" choice, changing the process is usually easier to envision. When we change our process for accomplishing a task, the end goal is still the same, we just reach it in a different manner. Changing the end goal though-- changing the product that we're trying to create-- requires that we be able to imagine a different ending to our process.
The vast majority of our field is historically-focused. Whether trying to recreate a composer's written ideas, providing our musicians or audience with a cultural context or relevance for a piece, or programming a season's worth of music that represents a balanced approach, we find most of our source material in what has come before. Composers, though, have the opposite view: composers are trying to find a unique, relevant and worthwhile way to deliver an idea. The embrace of new instrumentation, performance practices and developing cultural traditions are hallmarks of the truly great composers in our history and those who have aspired to that greatness. As conductors and performers, we should remember to adjust our gaze from the historical-focused to spending an appropriate amount of time considering the todays and tomorrows of our product, not just our process?
What will choral music sound, look and feel like in 200 more years? What will a performance entail?
whateverandeveramen, a Seattle-area ensemble, is performing a concert this weekend called the #TwitterCommission -- an evening of works based on Twitter. Novelty aside, it's an earnest attempt to create a choral performance which is reflective of the culture, time and place in which it exists. Aside from text, there are myriad ways in which our performances can reach those same ambitions. The use of remote videoconferencing, live sound processing and multimedia integration can bring technology on to the stage and into the nature of what a choral performance is in the 21st century.
What do you see in your ensembles or from your colleagues? What new, "modern" or technology-related performance practices have you encountered? Share your ideas below, and we'll explore this idea and some examples throughout the choral season ahead.