Hums

I am currently working on a piece which will involve a humming crowd in a public space of my choosing.

Last year I took part in a performance by Arco at Milton Keynes Gallery. One of the pieces we performed, by Sam Belifante, required us to hum along with a video depicting the composer in Taos, New Mexico (a town  plagued by a mysterious hum) as he hummed surrounded by the local soundscape and landscape.

At around the same time, I performed with a group of other improvising musicians in a public space in which a persistent hum could be heard. Afterwards, I kept wondering to myself how wonderful it could have been, had we played along to the hum rather than treated it as an annoyance or ignored it, during our performance.

This wondering turned into a bit of an obsession, and I got thinking about ways of going back to the space and interacting with its ambient hum. A small flash mob -style co-ordinated performance and vocal humming seemed a very appropriate, practical and unintrusive way of doing this. Furthermore, the simplicity and beauty of the human voice was very appealing to me.

However,  I remembered Sam Belifante’s piece, and wondered wether I could go ahead with an idea bearing similarities to his. After being unable to let this idea rest, I have come to the conclusion that I need to make it a reality, and what matters is that I carry out thorough research into similar work (of which I have since found out there is more), and make sure that the final piece is informed by it, but mine.

Tonight I took a look at Sam’s website, and found a further voice piece, again in a (superficially at least) similar vein to the one I am planning. This will be a challenge…

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