Use Case 1: Rare Singing Knowledge

Use Case 1: Rare Singing Knowledge

The singing use case will deal with a number of traditional European singing techniques of the UNESCO Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage in need of urgent safeguarding. Selected songs are the "cantu in paghjella" of Corsica (France), the "canto a tenore" pastoral songs from Sardinia (Italy), and byzantine hymns from Mount Athos (Greece). These songs tend to be performed in festive, social and religious occasions; however, the number of their active practitioners is decreasing. Our case-study will also include a newly expanding contemporary singing style: the "human beat box", where the vocalist imitates percussive and drum instrument sounds. For all the aforementioned singing styles, presently, no or only limited documentation, knowledge, resources and pedagogical material exist. Revealing hidden treasures for the aforementioned cases will contribute to improved techniques for teaching singing and will make rare singing styles accessible to a wider public.

1. The byzantine music, is the music of the Byzantine Empire composed to Greek texts as ceremonial, festival, or church music. Research has proved that byzantine music has its roots in ancient Greek music and although it has not been listed by UNESCO as an endangered ICH, there is a risk that certain interpretation styles of Byzantine Hymns could die out without any precautionary action.

Figure 1: Byzantine music is a ceremonial, festival, or church music.

 


2. "Cantu in paghjella" is a Corsican singing tradition that the has been listed by UNESCO as one of ICH treasures in need of urgent safeguarding. Paghjella makes substantial use of echo and is sung a capella in a variety of languages including Corsican, Sardinian, Latin and Greek. Both a secular and liturgical oral tradition, paghjella is performed on festive, social and religious occasions. The principle mode of transmission is oral, largely through observation and listening, imitation and immersion, commencing first as part of young boys’ daily liturgical offices and later at adolescence through the local Church choir. Despite the efforts of its practitioners to revitalize its repertoires, paghjella has gradually diminished in vitality, due to a sharp decline in intergenerational transmission caused by the emigration of the younger generation and the consequent impoverishment of its repertoire. Unless action is taken, paghjella will cease to exist in its current form, surviving only as a tourist product devoid of the community links that give it real meaning

Figure 2: Corsican singing tradition "cantu in paghjella" has been listed by UNESCO as one of ICH treasures in need of urgent safeguarding. Click here to watch video in youtube.

 


3. A similar case is the "canto a tenore" in Sardinia, which was inscribed by UNESCO in 2008 on the representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of humanity. The art of “canto a tenore” singing is very much embedded in the daily life of local communities. However, the “canto a tenore” is especially vulnerable to socio-economic changes, such as the decline of the pastoral culture and the increase of tourism in Sardinia. Performances on stage for tourists tend to affect the diversity of the repertoire and the intimate manner this music was performed in its original context.

Figure 3: "Canto a tenore" in Sardinia was inscribed on the list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of humanity by UNESCO. Click here to watch video in youtube.

 


4. Our study will also include a newly expanding contemporary singing style: the "human beat box", where the vocalist imitates percussive and drum instrument sounds. Beatboxing is a form of vocal percussion primarily involving the art of producing drum beats, rhythm, and musical sounds using one's mouth, lips, tongue, and voice. It may also involve singing, vocal imitation of turntablism, and the simulation of horns, strings, and other musical instruments. Beatboxing today is connected with hip-hop culture, being one of "the elements", although it is not limited to hip-hop music. The term "beatboxing" is sometimes used to refer to vocal percussion in general (see vocal percussion for details).

 


The goal of this use case is fourfold:

  • Increase and enrich resources of different singing styles for various ICHs.
  • Develop innovative methodologies for multimodal voice and gesture analysis based on state-of-the-art sensors and data fusion techniques. The development of a light mobile hyper-helmet will be one of the major results of the project.
  • Produce knowledge about the investigated singing styles and the capacities of the human voice apparatus.
  • Develop new methods and interfaces to teach and learn selected singing techniques.