(for tape)

Voci dall'Aldiqua' (1997) (for tape)

Diego Garro

Keele University


The title 'Voci dall'Aldiqua' is a play on words that means approximately Voices from the material world. Along the piece, human voices and non-human sounds chase each other, blend and struggle, depicting a separation between natural and supernatural which no longer exists. Sometimes the 'voice' is a human voice, clearly recognisable, either speaking or singing. Sometimes the human voice is deeply transformed becoming almost unrecognisable. Other times the 'voice' is, metaphorically speaking, the echo of the material world responding to the human call (or curse?). The finale features the triumph of human voice singing an angelic chant which, nevertheless, dissolves in a sort of self-decomposition: does transience deprives human attributes from beauty and spirituality?

The piece was composed between October 1997 and January 1998 at Keele University using the computerised facilities of the Music Department. In composing 'Voci dall'Aldiqua' the role of the computer was decisive both for the sound transformations required and for the final layout of the piece, including the spatialisation and the overall stereophonic design. The general musical stream often suggested modifications on the sound-transformations previously performed, hence the importance of having used flexible computer sound processing tools with which such adjustments and iterated experimentations can be done in a non time-consuming fashion. In using computer programs for audio-processing, I often experimented with time-varying techniques in order to obtain sounds which dynamically change their morphology. The finale of the piece, for example (featuring a fortissimo vocal choir along with its disintegration), was realised using a time-varying 'shuffling' Plug-In. The voice fragmentation that ends the piece is the result of changing the numerical value of various parameters (feedback, fragment duration, randomised pitch) when applying this processing tool to the vocal fade-out. Here follows a short list of software used in composing 'Voci dall'Aldiqua':

Composers' Desktop Project software, running on IBM compatible PC:

Digidesign PRO-TOOLS running on Machintosh Power-PC: