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Hello Everyone. I am currently studying to get my Master's Degree in Music Technology at the University of Limerick in Ireland. As I'm trying to form my thesis statement, I want to involve a cappella and I am looking for ideas or gaps to solve in the a cappella field that will do the following:

1) Promote a cappella music.

2) Be worthwhile to explore and to further our own knowledge of a cappella music (like I said, possibly filling any gaps that exist and need to/should be explored).

3) Use music technology to do so.

I'm going for an MA and not a MSc, so if possible, my final composition will hopefully be using something like a composition to explore this. I am running off of a couple of ideas, but if anyone has any worthwhile ideas that they think would be great to explore, please contact me at johndavidmaybury@aol.com. Cheers!

.: John David Maybury


So many possibilities

Thanks for sharing this with us. This is so cool. Let me think aloud...

Not sure how "new" or "unexplored" this is, but it could be really cool to see what kind of composition you could create across the miles. You could record one piece of a song, send it to me and I add to it, then someone else adds their part, etc. Although we're in different continents, we sound like we're in the same room. Groups have done this before, but maybe there's some twist you can take?

For something more unexplored, maybe you try to do it live, with all parts going at the same time??

Something I've been waiting to see in a cappella would be someone putting out a simple composition/recording, and then having multiple people do remixes of it on their own computer. Either samples, or traditional "remixes," or whatever. Then watching the song evolve from one person to the next. Could be a fun new area to explore in a cappella, and anyone with some simple audio editing software could try to contribute something.

Can't wait to hear what you end up doing! Please do come back and share!

--Dave Brown

now: Mouth Off host | ICCA & CARA Judge

then: CASA president, CASAcademy director, CASA Bd of Directors | BYU Vocal Point | Noteworthy co-foun

Looked over response

Wow. I definitely skipped over the E-mail telling me that I had a response to this. Thanks for responding, Dave! I usually am a CASA junkie and would have checked back regularly, but I've been really busy with research on the human voice in technology, applying to teaching jobs (got one! choir/musical theatre! guess who's gonna bring a cappella to Eastern Shore High schools!? yesssss!), and making enough money to finish up this degree in Ireland. I'm finishing up some ideas and presenting tomorrow to my course director. I'll definitely keep post on what I'm "allowed" to do. Cheers!

Topic Decided

Thanks for those who E-mailed me and responded. If I didn't have to travel back and forth between Ireland and America a couple of times this semester, I would have liked to try to incorporate something very similar to what Dave Brown was talking about. This is what I ended up doing instead due to time management and programing issues.

The following is an abstract of my thesis:

This thesis was written to accompany a composition that explores vowel modification and the continual morphological changes that occur between sung vowels within the American English language in a male voice. Constant judgements and adjustments not only occur in changing between different vowels, but within the same vowel as well. Miniscule changes that progressively exist within the same vowel make an extreme impact between a singer’s different registers, ranges, and tessiture. Because of this, an unchanging vowel is never stagnant; it is constantly moving and changing and being assessed by the aurally and physically. This is parallel to the way music constantly moves and changes.

I'm using software like Praat for analyzation of the spectrograph and formants within different vowel modifications along with Max/MSP as a compositional tool. I'm taking recorded samples from a male voice in to also compare timbral differences between pitch treated voices in Melodyne to that of a natural vowel being modified up and down a scale. I'm also using Spear to replace and add formants to certain vowels. My goal is to use music technology in order to study minute changes that occur within one vowel as it moves through different registers, ranges, and tessiture.

Two and a half weeks left until this is due. Here we go!


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