REVELATOR: The Influences and Impact of African American Gospel Music Techniques, Performance Practices and Recording Techniques on Four New Original Australian Contemporary Creative Musical Works
Legg, AFJ and Long, SC, REVELATOR: The Influences and Impact of African American Gospel Music Techniques, Performance Practices and Recording Techniques on Four New Original Australian Contemporary Creative Musical Works, Tiki Hut Productions and Spark in the Dark Music, MONA, November 2014/2015: (In Press) [Other Exhibition]
This project has produced six (originally planned as four only) new creative works that have implemented the techniques pioneered in my previous IRGS project, and secondly that have also implemented new techniques, specifically in choral voicing, song structure and form and the combination of close (direct) and traditional room (mid-side and figure 8) microphone placement and associated recording techniques that immerged as critical elements from the previous project. These new recording techniques and creative techniques will be used as case studies supplying further essential analytical data to support the documented (notated + peer reviewed paper) research. The leading journal for contemporary music publication, Cambridge Popular Music, has indicated strong support for a submission addressing the new research and creative output, as well as identifying the need to respond to several key questions that arose from my previous publication (A Taxonomy of Musical Gesture in African American Gospel Music).
The compositions and arrangements will be researched and written in Tasmania, in collaboration with songwriter/producer, Michael Spiby and UTAS/Conservatorium colleague, musician and producer, Stewart Long. The compositions have been notated/charted, rehearsed and recorded at the Conservatorium and Red Planet recording studios. During this period, Stewart Long and I will conduct a series of recorded interviews with the musicians and the technicians relating to how they perceive their roles within the composition and recording process, focussing on the changes and adaptations they make to their standard practice as a result of performing and recording this style of music. As with my previous IRGS project, these responses will form the basis of some of the raw data for one of the written articles, providing an essential baseline for the musical analysis. The recording will be multi-tracked, beginning with the rhythm section, choir/BV’s and additional instrumentation. The final recording will be issued on several formats, but specifically on vinyl as we demonstrate the advantages and the ‘authenticity’ of this medium for this genre of music and composition.
Relevant excerpts of the completed recordings will then be transcribed/charted and documented. Employing my glossary of gospel nomenclature analytical framework, the written paper will expand on the previous article focussing on musical interpretation, piano style and choral techniques employed by the choir, and the methods I create and employ to communicate the nuance and gesture of these musical elements to Australian instrumentalists and singers.
African American gospel music is highly improvisational, intuitive, culturally informed genre. The new creative works in this project will however will not only in part reflect these musical performance practices, but also those of the Australian, and specifically Tasmanian, musical and cultural landscape. It is the effects of this musical nexus – the residual ‘accents’, of these diverse musical cultures – on compositional style, the recording process and performance that the written exegesis seeks to illuminate, and which the recordings will articulately evidence.
Ultimately, this project will produce and EP recording containing all of the new creative works as a collection; two peer-reviewed paper articulating the research findings and techniques implemented and their impact on the creative process; and a concert performance of the new creative works that will also be recorded and broadcast.