This film was made during our reception ceremony with the chief of the Navotua people at Nacula Island, Republic of Fiji. The video only records the floor of the dark hut, so as to not intimidate the shy vocalists. The Navotua people live on a small island, and mostly eat what they grow themselves. They are Protestants, although the village is run by a chief – who is also the only one in the village allowed to wear sunglasses.
For many years, I have been trying to grasp a very special voice sound: undertone singing. I use this term as a classification for all vocal sounds of this type, including vocal fry, Strohbass, growling, and Kargyraa – although they might vary in the sound and in the physiological production. Undertone singing also plays a role in beatboxing, as it can be used as an alternative for bass sounds. In literature on extended singing techniques and harmonic singing, you can
When I started my residency here at Schloss Solitude on the topic of beatboxing, one of my aims was to develop a notation for this technique that would be suitable for experimental music. There are two main strategies for this: one based on the sound itself, and one based on the point of articulation. Basing the notation on the sound would be an easier thing to do for composers as one could draw on the notation of percussion, which looks
One very useful approach is to transcribe videos from the Internet. It is full of instructive and non-instructive beatbox videos, and you can learn from each one. Actually, the ones which aren’t superprofessional are easier to capture and transcribe, and it is a really good exercise to later understand the more complex ones. YouTube has tools to change the quality and the speed of the playback, which comes in handy. Every beatboxer will develop his/her own language or repertoire of
Before turning to music, all my life I wanted to become a visual artist. I remember myself painting from elementary school onward, and I even applied to art universities. In my often very large pictures, I used to use many different materials next to each other, like wax and silk paint, and what I loved most was to discover that they don’t mix well, but instead develop their own life and structure. I started singing because I wanted to know
Set-up for practice session in beatboxing: I have a metronome and a timer set to five minutes. I try to be as exact and as rhythmical as possible. I take small steps. tttt t … tttt t … I find the period of five minutes very useful. My metronome accompanies me, gives me a beat, proves me right or wrong, supports me. To the timer, I hand over the responsibility of deciding if I am done with that exercise, or
Voice is a complicated thing to talk about as you cannot see or touch it. Singers have to rely on images. Those images might be more »physiological« (»lower the larynx«) or more »abstract« (»smell something nice«), but it is always a very individual matter. Two singers with exactly the same background, voice type, and aesthetic taste could still term things very differently. To achieve the same effect, one singer might think »breathe into the thighs,« while the other focuses on