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A documentary film about the diversity of human voice expression by Lena Giovanazzi and Daniel Büche: yodelling, overtone singing, buccal voice, laughter yoga, the sound repertoire of contemporary classical music, oesophagus voice, beatbox and animal sounds.

Cast

Christian Zehnder
Arjopa
Wolfgang Saus
Angela Mecking
Peter Krause
Michael Edward Edgerton
Angela Wingerath
Laryngeal Loss Choir León
Uwe Westphal
4xSample
PerformanceChoir for Experimental Singing Berlin

Crew

Lena Giovanazzi
Daniel Büche

Festivals and Awards

  • Open Eyes Filmfest Marburg 2012, 1st place Audience Award
  • 36th Weiterstadt Film Festival, 2012
  • Festival Internacional de Cine de Puebla, Mexico, 2012
  • Kinofest Lünen, 23rd festival for German films
  • Soundtrack Cologne, Festival See the Sound, November 2012
  • Blue November MicroFilmFest, Seattle, November 2012, “Best Illumination” and “Best Vision”
  • Flensburger Kurzfilmtage, November 2012, Main Award Documentary Film
  • Filofest 2012, International Student Film and Video Festival Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Bamberger Kurzfilmtage, February 2013
  • Contrast, the Bayreuth Film Festival, February 2013
  • Landshut Short Film Festival, March 2013
  • Emmental Short Film Festival, 18-20 October 2013

The Golden Compass (2007)

Imdb

Direction: Chris Weitz

Composer: Alexandre Desplat

Right at the beginning you hear flageolet glissandi of an electric cello (using chorus pedal) blending with overtone singing by Michael Ormiston and give mystical soundscapes, in which individual instruments are difficult to detect. Alexandre Desplat in an interview with mftm: “I love to blend sounds together so you can’t really tell what instrument it is.”

In the film, this sound symbolizes the freedom from the system control (Magisterium), which is represented by the main character Lyra together with the golden compass, which predicts the future and reveals the truth. A very striking association, because harmonics shift the perception into the right brain hemisphere, and thus beyond the control from outside. This is the film adaptation of the first volume of the phantasy trilogy “His Dark Materials” by Philip Pullman.

Perhaps for this reason the film was panned by critics (for alleged “anti-religion”), which meant that the other volumes of the trilogy were not filmed. I like this movie very much, I saw it several time and recommend it.

Dean Frenkel is one of my favorite overtone singers. His clear, sparkling cleanly homophonic overtones bring out the special effect of the natural intervals in harmony with classical instruments particularly impressively. In “Iridium” he sings the 5th harmonic, the natural major third, to the minor third in the instrumental part, which I like very much in this piece.

In my overtone singing Masterclasses (year groups) I teach my students to avoid this conflict and to skip the 5th and 10th harmonic in a minor setting, or to replace them with polyphonic fundamental tone changes. Because almost all, even professional overtone singers improvise on the overtone series simply uncontrolled up and down, without even realizing that the natural major third is in conflict with a minor accompaniment, which I mostly do not like. Especially if the keynote becomes unclean, which usually happens.

I don’t know whether Dean Frenkel sings this interval in the composition consciously and deliberately, but I suspect so. Because of the fact that he sings his keynote so clean, the special effect of the 86-cent hovering of an equal-tempered minor third to the natural major third unfolds to a pleasure for me.

The film by cinematographer Murray Fredericks, producer Michael Angus and editor Lindi Harrison belongs to the SALT project, saltdoco.com, and shows in fast motion the miraculous change of Lake Eyre in Australia, which is rarely filled.

The music is from Dean Frenkel’s former group Aajinta – Dean Frenkel, Jason Day, Michelle John.

Die Musik zum Film “La Grande Bellezza” (Die große Schönheit, 2013) von Paolo Sorrentino bedient sich u. a. der Obertongesang-Interpretation von Pérotins “Beata viscera” des estnischen a cappella Ensembles Vox Clamantis. Beata viscera ist auf der CD Filia Sion enthalten.

Beata viscera ist ein Werk des französischen Komponisten Pérotin aus dem 12. Jh und gehört zur frühesten Mehrstimmigkeit in Europa.

Obertongesang verleiht der Komposition eine mystische Stimmung. Natürlich ist Obertongesang nicht Bestandteil der Originalkomposition von Perotin, sondern wurde von Vox Clamantis hinzugefügt. Mir gefällt diese Modifikation sehr, besonders deshalb, weil die Obertöne kontrolliert und musikalisch integriert werden. Sie bilden eine eigenständige Melodie und sind vermutlich nicht, wie weit verbreitet, Zufallsprodukte, sondern ganz gezielt gesungen. Obwohl manchmal die Dur-Terz der Obertonreihe mit der Moll-Terz der dorischen Melodie in Konflikt steht. Ich bringe meinen Masterclass-Studenten bei, diese Konflikte gezielt zu umgehen, es sei denn, sie wären ausdrücklich erwünscht.

Beata viscera hatte übrigens früher schon einmal das Hilliard Ensemble zu einer Neuinterpretation mit dem Saxophonisten Jan Garbarek angeregt (auf der CD Officium).

Bildnachweis: Beata Viscera von Perotin (Wolfenbüttel Digital Library) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

 

The Life of the Buddha. The London-based composer Glenn Keiles composed the film music for this 50-minute BBC documentary for the Aachen Obertonchor conducted by Wolfgang Saus in 2002. With a small group we recorded the choir part in a single day in St. Gereon in Giesenkirchen. Participants: Britta Blisniewski, Ellen Kreft, Helga and Wolfhard Barke, Chris and Tim Ellis, Ralf Malzkorn (and I of course).

Glenn brought the production manager and all the equipment from England, just to fly on to South Africa the next day. He must have mixed the pre-recorded solos and instrumental parts during the flight, because already in the evening the master was ready to listen.

Since we did not have an overall impression of the piece in advance and did not know the film, it was an exciting work to record the phrases according to the composer’s very precise sound concepts. The overtones were partly notated. In some cases there was room for improvisation. The fundamental tones were always precisely written down.

The reactions of Glenn’s fellow composers in London were very interesting: they wanted to know how he programmed such a natural and lively sounding synthesizer sound. In 2003 overtone singing in chorus was still largely unknown to composers.

International movie data base: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1806108/

 

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