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This would be an organ where each resonator and pipe is
replaced by a person and each keying mechanism is
replaced by a more human form of communication like
direct touch, eye contact or vocal prompting.
It's sort of baked in the form of the monster-o-phone on
the Muppet show where they guy
hits monsters of varying
sizes on the head with mallets and they "ouch" out tunes.
But instead of having the monsters facing away from the
mallet weilder, and towards the camera, the "people" (in
case) should be facing the "organist-conductor" so that the
organist-conductor can learn to play the people with eye
contact, gesticulations and vocal prompting. Conventional
signals could be worked out like hand gestures up and down
for pitch, facial expression for volume, etc. It would be the
ultimate test in conducting - conducting a choir without any
score. Maybe this is common practice at vocal
I bet it would be a great way to practice group
communication. Another thing would be to let each choir
member improvise a little according to what they hear
them. Another option would be to incorporate touch as part
of the control mechanism -- so that the choir members
crowd around the conductor so that he could manipulate
them by touch maybe stretching their arms out with pitch
lines drawn on the arm so that the conductor could play a
keyboard made of arms -- although this would be closer to
Muppet version. The touch version might make it easier for
the conductor to become a physical virtuoso.
The possibilites for two people playing eachother like this
would probably be pretty interesting as well. Two people
touch eachother with anti-mirror symetry, say each reaching
out a right hand to touch the other's left elbow and singing
unison tones. Then each could move their hand on the
other's body as well as changing their own voice in response
to the other's hand movements on their body. Conventions
could be worked out in real time. Limits could be drawn or
dispensed or negotiated in real time. I guess this could also
get out of control pretty quickly. Maybe that's why you
don't see more of it going on on street corners.
An add-on to this last bit would be a theraputic argument
technique. Two people could learn to argue constructively
by learning to manipulate eachother's vocal chords through
hand to body touch-signals. So if one person wanted to say,
"you never listen to me," they would have to (having first
worked out the conventions with the other person)
manipulate the other person body such that the second
person would vocalize the phrase, "you never listen to me."
The hand-signal conventions and the technique and area of
the body for manipulation/contact would be the hardest
part to figure out. But the figuring out would itself be
theraputic. Probably hand to stomach would work, allowing
mutual contact and range of motion. The vocal tract could
be mapped onto the stomach -- consanants up and down and
vowels side to side -- and presure could be volume, or
something like that. The specifics would be better worked
out in practice. But the point would be to allow each
participant to think out what they were, "saying" and also to
get a feel for the other person's point of "view".
"have a resonator more similar to the human larynx," [JesusHChrist, Sep 01 2005]
Paradise Road (1997)
Glen Close as the conductor of a "vocal orchestra" - not a choir, they just hum - of female inmates of a Japanese internment camp on Sumatra in WWII. (Frances McDormand as a Jewish doctor who will have none of it.) They did use a score, though. Based on historical fact. [jutta, Sep 01 2005]
||This reminds me of the Monty Python sketch involving the 'mouse organ' in which someone hit mice with a hammer to make different pitches of squeaks.
||I don't really see what the advantage of your idea is over a conventional choir, so I can't vote for it.
||I've just never seen a conventional choir do this. The idea
would be for a new way to use a conventional choir -
unless it's already baked.
||This is great, we should recruit a choir tout de suite. Replace do, ray, me, fah etc. with various sexual cries (ohhh, aaah, ohmygod, oooh, nnnnh) and play them using various oscene gestures, with eye contact dictating who sings the note...
||<trivia> For his 'Tarot Suite' album, Mike Batt recorded himself singing (actually more like chanting) each note of a scale onto the corresponding track of an eight-track tape. He then made a loop of the tape and loaded it onto a player which he played by using the faders of an eight-track mixer like the keys of an organ. A DIY Mellotron.
||My mum is in the habit of buying v. upmarket christmas crackers. Last crimbo each cracker contained a penny whistle, each one of which played a different note. The set included a conductor's baton and a variety of melodies written out like this:
||111.. 111.. 13781..
(jingle bells). One person conducted by pointing at the whistler whose turn it was to play a note.
||Sounds like what old JHC is talking about 'xept his is for voices. It was extremely good fun. Although that may have been to do with the lateness of the hour and the drunkeness of the participants...
||That's a wonderful idea, I would like to introduce the inventor to this place.