|PROJECT | ME|
|For more information about the work click here|
To download materials related to this work click here
The second in a three-part collaboration by Composer Edmund Campion and Poet John Campion, ME explores the rise and development of consciousness in its egotistical, patriarchal sense. The persona "ME" reveals himself through a series of archetypal and historic incarnations.
The large-scale form for ME mirrors the classic seven yogic steps as follows:
1. Preconscious ME, Open Vowel Space
Edmund Campion, music
singer imitates wind, hissing, tongue etc.. sounds
I build the city?
Priests and Doctors, Cops and Clerks
I am telling you
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I am am I am I am I am I am I am I I am am I am I am I am I am I am I….
Nothing, No One, No thing,
I am burning.
No form exists without me.
MAN, I AM….
Ba Pa Ba Pa Pa Pa
Art is filth and brings disorder to the world.
We neutralize it!
With hygienic masks,
doctors cut the Siamese twins,
the signifier from the signified.
Now, gather the dolls your children speak with
and lock them in a vault.
If nature oppose, fight back and make her obey.
She is a warehouse; take what is yours;
you are nothing but what you own.
She is a brain; give her shock treatment!
She speaks all languages; burn her down.
I am the axis mundi.
Dip your ladle into her ashes.
When my bow snaps, a fire strikes and the pole-star moves.
Only I can waken the dead metal in your veins.
For a thousand years of peace, wage war.
It is everywhere and nowhere
and goes on forever.
[Spoken word- speech part II]
That evil giant Samson pulled down the towers like a folding book,
That fear is precious and holds the secret of power,
I will do anything to keep you safe and preserve your liberty.
No, but I look forward to the time
[Me holds his ear and smiles.] Yeah… Yeah… Hold it – [laughs] Right! That’s it…
Anyway, as I said, did I say no one's safe?
As I was saying,
But let me tell you something:
Notes for the Baritone concerning the piece ME
The work is approximately 20 minutes in duration for Baritone and computer. It is not fully staged, but is highly theatrical. John Campion is responsible for the concept and text.
ME is the story of the Male/patriarchal/egotistical/masculine self through history. It is a very negative portrait and it is filled with black humor. ME requires a strong masculine presence and somewhat over the top theatrics. The performer has one prop, a small hoop (small children's hoola-hoop). ME uses the hoola-hoop in different ways for each section.
THE VOCAL RANGE
The Baritone (E below the bass clef up to F# above middle C with primary singing duty in the D below middle C up to middle C). In the sung parts, octave substitutions can happen where needed.
THE IN-EAR PROMPTER
In ME, the singer is amplified with a wireless headset vocal microphone. The singer is also equipped with a wireless in-ear headphone monitor for one ear. The computer sends special cues and exact vocal contours to the ear of the soloist and the soloist sings along. This in-ear prompter technique mirrors the theme of the work (i.e. the guy hears voices in his head!). When the in-ear prompter is used, the soloist must sing and speak along with "model" that comes into his ear. This technique gives the singer the exact timbral and non-tempered melodic contours that are needed to make the computer part meld properly with the soloist. NOTE: the soloist should avoid all late entrances as this will wreck the illusion that the singer is generating all the electronics in real-time.
There are three ways that the in-ear prompter is used:
1) "Sync" with the model. The soloist sings in sync with the model doing his best to follow the vocal shapes and pitch exactly as it is being heard in the ear. This requires some rehearsal to become familiar with the contours of the model. The "sync" mode is used in sections 1 and 7 and rehearsal CD's are provided for learning the part.
2) "loose following/ad-lib" with the model. Here the soloist sings in rough sync with the model. He uses the model to follow the right pitch, but does not have to be exactly in line with the rhythm and contour of the model. With "loose following" singer should not stray beyond the model in his vocal utterances, but he does not have to be as precise as the "sync" mode. The rehearsal score indicates which sections are "sync" and which "ad-lib."
3) "call-and-response" with the model. Here the soloist receives a preview of the model and then immediately imitates the exact model in performance. Rehearsal CD's are provided to assist in learning this technique. Precise timing is essential for the "call and response" to work.
NORMAL SINGING DUTY
During about 4 minutes of the piece, the singer behaves like a normal operatic singer and sings from a musical score (sections 3 and 4). If possible, the soloist should memorize the song (especially the section 4 song) and perform them while moving around the stage as if in an opera.
Several sections of the work feature real-time processing of the singers voice. The singer needs to be aware that the computer analyzes the voice and distinguishes between consonants and vowels. During the speeches, the soloist should over emphasize consonant sounds, especially hard sounds like "kuh" and "tuh" etc.. The real-time effects can only be rehearsed with the computer, but the basic effect is one of using the percussive aspects of the voice to trigger events in the electronics.
The Baritone learns the piece by working with a series of rehearsal CD that rehearse the in-ear system.
Documentation of Max/MSP software for Edmund Campion's "ME" for solo Baritone and electronics
by Matt Wright, November 7, 2002
TODO: implement the depot wrapper OSC-bcf2000 to allow an external behringer fader box to control levels.
add quality reverb (get current version of SPAT reverb 8 running)
System requirements and setup:
The patch was built with Max/MSP version 4.0.8 and tested also with version 4.1. It will likely continue to work in future versions of Max/MSP. The patch has not been tested in Max/MSP version 5.
The software is distributed as a large folder (currently named "ME_UB<yr/mnth/day>"). Install this folder inside the "patches" folder inside the Max folder or other appropriate spot where Max can find it. This folder must be in Max's search path. All subpatches, abstractions, external objects, sound files, etc., are located within this folder, so the piece should run without installing any additional components. Any errors complaining about "object not found" or "buffer~:such and such:can't open" indicate that the distribution folder is not in Max's search path. _Don't worry about error messages noting that certain coll files are missing; the patch uses some named collections that are generated while the program runs and are not stored in files.
The Max Patch for ME uses no MIDI.
The patch requires one channel of audio input, from the singer's microphone. The patch handles the mixing of the live voice with the electronics, so there is no need to send the microphone's signal directly to the loudspeakers in addition to sending it to the computer. However, it may be necessary to "ride" the gain on the singer's microphone from the patch. Use the "s" key to call the status window where the gain can be changed on the fly.
The piece uses 4 channels of audio output, plus an additional channel for the singer's in-ear monitor. The location of the loudspeakers is as follows:
1: stage right, close to the ground
5: to the singer's in-ear monitor
Starting and initializing the patch:
1) At the top level of the folder with the software distribution is the patch for the piece, currently named "**ME_<most recent date>". This is the only patch you need to open.
2) After the patch opens you must load the sound files used for the piece. There is a patcher called "p load_buffers". First you must "enable buffer load" by clicking on the toggle connected to the right inlet of this patch, then you actually load the buffers by clicking on the button connected to the left inlet. The patch prints the name of each soundfile that it loads in the Max window as it loads that file, so you should see something like this in the Max window after you click the button:
multibuf: loading samples from folder :patches:Campion-FW.FINAL:lib-sound-c:07
Again, any error messages complaining about folders or files not found indicate that you have not installed the distribution folder for the piece in Max's search path or someone has changed the name on some folder.
3) You must of course configure the audio I/O to use the correct audio interface, the correct driver, and the correct mapping of input and output channels. The sample rate must be 44100 (because the sound files used for the piece have this sampling rate).
We recommend the following additional settings:
I/O Vector size: 512
4) You must "initialize" the patch by clicking on the message box on the left side of the patch just below the comment "INIT". This resets the patch, and can be used at any time during rehearsal to stop the patch.
5) You must set the "global levels", i.e., the master output volume of the patch. At the far left of the top level of the patch is a messages box just under the comment "GLOBAL LEVELS ON". _Click that. (Just below is a similar message box but with all values as zero. Clicking on this message box instantly mutes the output of the patch.)
In the top center of the top-level patch is a yellow message box that will either display "global_levels_OFF!", indicating that all the global levels are set to zero, or "GLOBAL_levels_ON!", indicating that at least some of the global levels have nonzero values. You can use this to remind yourself whether or not you have set the global levels.
Running the piece:
1) Starting the piece
Near the right side of the top-level patch is a large button next to the comment"PLAY ME.01". Click this button to start the piece. To stop the piece at any point, click on the message box near the right of the patch under the comment "INIT".
The first few sections of the piece, up to the first "speech", runs itself automatically without any human intervention.
2) The speeches
Each of the three speeches are "free time", meaning that the singer can take as long as he likes to deliver them. It is the job of the person operating the computer to continue the progression of the patch after each of the three speeches. (After each speech the baritone sings a short melody somewhat like a Gregorian chant.) Above the patcher "p ME-05/06.Speech.gliss" are three medium-sized buttons, one per speech, each under a comment indicating the last few words of the appropriate speech: "...goes on forever", "...in your veins", and "...or against me". You must push each button, in turn, after the end of the corresponding speech. Dramatically speaking, the baritone should have a high degree of intensity and tension while giving each speech; after each speech ends you should give the singer a few seconds to relax and prepare to sing before clicking the button.
Below each button is a yellow message box that will either say "DONT TOUCH", indicating that (as far as the patch can tell) it's not yet time for the given speech to be over or for you to click the button. Once each speech begins, the associated yellow message box changes to displaying "WAITING_1!!", "WAITING_2!", or "WAITING_3!!", and then after you click on a button its associated yellow message box displays "DONE!!!".
After you click on the third of these buttons the patch runs itself up through the last section.
3) Section 7
The last part of the piece consists of seven free-time sections where the singer repeats a loop of three sung words over and over indefinitely while the computer accompaniment gets progressively weirder. The first is "Time - Zone - Man", the second is "Come - Man - Eat", etc., through the last, "Moi - Tot - Die".
The singer gives a prearranged cue to end each of these sections, for example, laughter or a long held note. (The exact cue depends on the dramatic delivery of the piece and must be determined for each performance.)
It is the job of the computer operator to advance through each of these seven sections after receiving the cue from the singer. The first, "Time - Zone - Man", begins automatically after the previous section. The computer operator must hit the button under the comments "7.2" "come" to go to the "Come - Man - Eat" section after the cue indicating the end of section 7.1.
Then, in the exact same way, the computer operator must advance to sections 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6, and 7.7 on cue from the baritone. The buttons are presented on the top page in right to left order.
At the end of section 7.7 the baritone lies down on the stage, continuing to sing "Moi - Tot - Die". At this point the computer operator clicks the button next to the comment "final fade", which fades down some of the polyphonic computer voices. Other voices, mainly transposed down very low, continue after this fade ends, and the singer continues to sing "Moi". After that, the output of the computer must be faded slowly to silence at the mixing board.
Make sure that the computer operator receives some recognition when the audience applauds!
Starting the patch in the middle of the piece
It is possible, but not advisable, to start the patch from any section. In addition, it is possible to open the patcher windows for most of the sections to find a button which will transition from the end of that section to the beginning of the next. These features are only for rehearsal or emergency conditions.
(If you start the patch in the middle of a section there is no guarantee that every parameter will be set to the correct value for that section, since the patch relies on parameter values being remembered from one section to the next. Only by starting the piece from the beginning can you be sure that all the gains, etc., will have the correct values in every section.)
One last thing to worry about:
Finally, a small detail. In the patcher window called "p analysis" you will see an object called "analyzer~" which is the heart of the real-time components in the work. On the front page of the patch there is a recieve object "fromanal" which shows the output values coming from the object.
Usually, the patch is not sending any signal into this object and the values on the front page display will be -96 0 0. When analyzer~ is receiving signal (during the sections ME-02.language.it and ME-05/06.speech.gliss) the first value (representing loudness) should between -96 and 0 db, the second value (representing spectral centroid) should be between 0. and about 10000.0 Hz, and the third value (representing "noisiness") should be between 0. and 1.0.
If you see values outside these ranges or "NAN" or values that don't change then the object has somehow gotten into a bad state and needs to be reinitialized. To do this, go into the patcher "p analysis", locate "analyzer~" in the top left-hand corner, and rename the object "analyzer2~". This will reinitialize the object because analyzer2~, analyzer3~ etc.. are exact copies of analyzer~. You can do this while the patch is running. This problem solving device is intended as an emergency measure only.
Me, Musicatreize, Manca International Festival of Contemporary Music, Musée national Biblique Marc Chagall, Nice, France 2002 (Premiere)
ME est le second volet d’une trilogie qui voit la collaboration entre le compositeur Edmund J. Campion et le poète John Campion.
La forme générale de ME reprend les 7 phases yogic classiques suivantes :
Préconscience ME, espace voyelle ouverte
Tous les sons électroniques entendus dans ME ont pour origine la voix de Patrice Balter.