℗ Les sept paroles

Contemporary Music

  • Title: Les sept Paroles
  • Composer: Tristan Murail
  • Duration : 1H
  • Collaboration: Computer Music Design
  • For: chœur mixte à 4 voix, 4 flûte (aussi 2 flûte piccolo), 4 hautbois, 4 clarinette (aussi 1 clarinette basse), 3 basson (aussi 1 contrebasson), 4 cor, 4 trompette, 4 trombone, 1 tuba, 4 percussionniste, 2 harpe, 1 piano, 1 synthétiseur, 1 clavier MIDI, 1 célesta, cordes, 1 dispositif électronique
  • World Premiere: 10 avril 2010, Pays-Bas, Amsterdam, Concertgebouw, par le chœur et l’orchestre de la Radio néerlandaise, direction : Marin Alsop.
  • Performance: Bruxelles, 20 Mars 2011
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Listen to a concert Excerpt:

Tristan Murail worked back on a previous piece to supersize it. We completed the real 40 singers choir with a virtual choir . To do so, I developed a virtual choir synthesizer able to generate a whole choir from only one solo recorded voice. We used OpenMusic software to control the advanced phase vocoder SuperVP, so as to synthesize some little score snapshots written by Tristan Murail. The main goal of this development was to go beyond the limits of a real choir. Here are some examples that must be thought as a part of a global choir.

So how it works ?

First, we recorded soprano Isabelle Soccoja singing some vowels and monotonic phrases:

Then we process recordings, taking account the desired score:

Here is another voice where some little variations were added compare to the original score:

From another part of the score:

For each voice, and to create a choir effect, “human variations” have been implemented as modulations of the original score.
The same voice sung by another alto:

By way of these variations, the sum up of all voices make a choir effect:

These variations are listed below:

  • timing
    • onset variation
    • duration variation
    • stretched zone variation
    • offset variation
    • phase variations
  • pitch
    • small out of tune variation
    • jitter (random variations)
    • vibrato variations
      • frequency variation
      • range variation
      • envelope variation
  • intensity
    • gain variation
    • shimmer (random variations)
    • vibrato related variations (see pitch)
  • localization of the singer by use spatialization variation
  • timbre variation using spectral envelope modulation

Here is another example with a complete melody phrase.
In the same way, monotonic phrase have been recorded:

Then we apply to this recording, a desired melody:

And using previously presented variations, we obtain:

To get a realistic phrase, we had to take into account some relationships between different variables:

  • relationship between portamento and intensity (different up and down values)
  • variable portamento time when it goes up or down
  • relationship between pitch and spectral envelope
  • variable vibrato profile depending on pitch
  • … etc …

Here are some other examples of synthesis that go further than a real choir:

Extending number of singers: “Risset Effect”

Extending register: Extra bass

Extending precision: Quarter-tone melodies

Extending precision: Quarter-tone chords

Extending Timbre variation:

Non-realistic synthesis as well: Whispers coming out a bell:

The full work: