Voices of the World

For a long time, this wonderful collection of recordings was available only on a set of 3 CDs, coming with a detailed booklet. Great news: the Centre de Recherche en Ethno-musicologie du CNRS now makes the files accessible online, including a pdf of the booklet:

Les voix du monde, une anthologie des expressions vocales (Voices of the World, an Anthology of Vocal Expression)

I use these sounds regularly when teaching: for instance, the beetle-propelled Papua New Guinea melody #33 on CD #2 is very interesting when discussing formants. More generally, it is a well organized and documented collection of recordings dedicated to voices, and focusing on:

  • Solo Voice Techniques: from calls to breath, from spoken voice to harmonic singing, from timbre to ornamentation.
  • Polyphonic Techniques: from heterophony to chords, from drones to counterpoint.

I also occasionally found there some inspiration when composing: I wrote the coda for Risorius for six singers after listening to this girls' duet from Côte d'Ivoire.

I hope that the listening of these fine recordings will inspire you, as well!

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