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Music Matters lecture - Voice & Technology, Voice as Technology: A Discussion with CHRISTINE DUNCAN (University of Toronto) and FRANZISKA BAUMANN (Bern University of the Arts)

When:We 29-09-2021 17:00 - 19:00

Our first Music Matters session for Fall 2021 will be a discussion between Christine Duncan and Franziska Baumann, two important vocal performance innovators. Each speaker will present their work.

Embodied vocal performance with sensor technology

Baumann's talk will be entitled "Embodied Vocal Performance with Sensor Technology." In her talk, she will give insight into her practice as a vocalist, in which she brings together the embodied and the mediated voice using gestural communication through sensor interfaces. When a vocalist performs on stage with technology such as gesture-controlled live electronics, an expanded field of connections between body, gesture and mediated sound is generated. What we see and hear is no longer based on the traditional understanding of sound linked to kinetic energy, such as a violin bow moving across a string. Instead, we are exposed to a holistic experience in which the boundaries between the human voice and the computationally manipulated voice become an enormous creative potential for the composition of mapping strategies and the development of an individual ergomimetic language for human-computer interaction. Her research considers human-computer interaction less from a purely technical point of view, than from a phenomenological and aesthetic perspective, in which gesture, body, and the appearance of the interface generate meaning in live music.

Franziska Baumann is a vocalist and composer specialising in improvisation, electroacoustic composition and sensory live-electronic interfaces. She has an international concert career as a soloist, in various ensembles, music theatre, and large site-specific projects. A pioneer of live digital techniques, she processes her voice in real-time to create oscillating, complex vocal sound spaces. Therefore she uses a custom-built sensor glove to modulate live-voice, pre-composed sound zones and spatial articulations with physical gestures in real-time. Since 2006 she has been a lecturer for improvisation, contemporary vocal performance and live electronics at the Bern University of the Arts HKB. She has been a guest lecturer at several universities as well as a team member in funded research projects such as “Sound (without) Body”, “Speaking Hands”.

For more on Baumann's work see her website.

Conduction as technology

Duncan's talk will be entitled "Conduction as Technology." In her talk she will discuss her history as a vocalist and how events led her forming one of the world's most active and accomplished improvising choirs: The Element Choir. She will discuss her development of a conduction practice that allows her to facilitate improvisation with a large body of improvising singers who range from vocal professionals to individuals with no vocal training. She will explain how the improvising choir is an excellent method for building community across lines of age, culture, and ability and will describe and show clips from a number of the innovative site-specific performances and interdisciplinary collaborations the choir has undertaken since its founding in 2007.

Christine Duncan began learning her craft in church. A minister’s daughter, she performed with her musical family, The Duncans, in gospel shows on stages across North America from the age of five. When she was 15 she recorded her first album of her own original gospel tunes in Nashville. Inevitably her roots led her from gospel and inspirational music to soul, singer songwriter folk music, R&B/blues, jazz and more recently, new music and improvised music. Since 1994 she has released a number of jazz CDs, improvised music CDs (2 Barnyard Drama albums and Idiolalla), new composed music CDs (Phh!k with Peter Hannan and Henry Kucharzyk and The Green Suite with Geordie Haley’s Everytime Band), and has been involved in many other recording projects, including recording 2 albums with the Hugh Fraser VEJI band.

A musical chameleon with a near five octave range, Duncan uses her voice as an instrument, exploring its full tonal, timbral and textural range. She is involved in everything from Jazz, R&B, gospel, improvised music, sound poetry, to new music and musique actuelle. For more on Duncan see: University of Toronto and Barnyard Records.


Those not entering via a RUG account will need to register by sending an email to c.j.tonelli