To close the Summer School, the audience of parents, students and tutors witnessed performances from the World Music group. Having waited patiently all week, it was finally time for the largest group of the Summer School to unveil their cross-cultural compositions!
The concert began in a similar fashion to the Vocal Music group; the students 18 students in the group positioned themselves in hiding places around the room, holding instruments, toys and natural objects. Once the audience had filed in, the students began to appear out of the woodwork, playing their instruments as they did so and moving towards the stage. Sticks were scraped along surfaces, leaves were ruffled, recorders were blown, and futuristic ray-gun toys were fired (emitting futuristic blaster sounds)!
Once the students had assembled at the front of the room, it was revealed that what had just been exhibited was one of the students compositions.
The majority of the pieces composed by the students involved Marimba (Joe Richards), Clarinet (Jordan Black), Nyckelharpa (Lucy Treacher) and Tabla (Kuljit Bhamra, a patron of Sound and Music). The World Music group also break western conventions when presenting scores. Some students used graphic scores; scores that represent musical themes and ideas on staves, but are connected by artistic expressions (squiggly lines, spirals, darker shades of colour) and aren’t necessarily written in lines on the page (look at some examples of the limitless ways one might write a graphic score here).
The results of these partially improvised sections were fantastic! You could both physically see and hear how the musicians wrestled with their own interpretation of the piece – whilst they individually had to improvise, they also had to collectively be in a degree of unison. How these compositions came together was astounding, and you could tell that the students were satisfied with this newly discovered method of composing. Even those who didn’t use graphic scores were able to compose for instruments that inspired musical colours and metaphors from across the world.
All of the World Music performances successfully evidenced one thing; the week long course had introduced cultural composition techniques to modern minds. The results? A harmonious blend of contemporary and traditional pieces. Fantastic.