giovedì 9 giugno 2011

Songscape of Cembra - part II

Even if the singing is a beloved and nearly an everyday way of acoustic communication in Cembra, everything is not predictable – at all! The way to go for it spontaneously always leaves space for new surprises.

After eating a pizza and watching the film from Finland, we still wanted to enjoy the quiet night and a glass of wine in the pizzeria terrace. The customers were playing musical jokes from the jukebox and singing with their childhood memories inside the restaurant.

Martino had his tromba in its case with him and started a free rhythmic, and for that reason a melody that sounded a little absent-minded. The singers joined him - gradually but daringly.

Later in the evening the two groups from inside and outside joined together for an imaginative jam session.
So much for the background now: Listen to the atmosphere that speaks for itself!


                                   Martino’s contemplative improvisation

mercoledì 8 giugno 2011

A blast for the mountain slopes

I first met the trombone player Martino Nicolodi 12 years ago. In my evening listening walk I started to hear muffled music from far in the direction of a dark alley and ended up recording behind a closed door. The local brass band was rehearsing in the room and Martino was their teacher and conductor at that time. The band still plays in several village occasions, festivals and processions.

Martino now concentrates on practicing different scales with his tromba and developing his skills as an improviser. And discovering new instruments.
This time a friend from Switzerland had left Martino a four meter long alphorn to practice with. A right kind of blowing created a massive reverberation in the echoing stone walled room. No matter it was nearly midnight we got a collective idea – to expand our acoustic territory a little.

Quiet night is the best moment to test how sensitively the mountain slopes of Cembra valley would repeat the sound of the horn. Summer was already far, the trees in the landscape already very green and bushy.
The horn was carried out to the balcony. A meaningful silence. A blast. And we could hear at least five different, long lasting reflections answering from the surrounding slopes. Mountains had spoken. Madonna!



                                         A mountain echo experiment        

Can the recording ever repeat what was experienced live?

venerdì 3 giugno 2011

Finlandia memories I

A group of 15 singers from Cembra visited Finland and Joensuu in February 2009.
Hibernating and obviously surprised Finnish dwellers could hear their songs since the very beginning of their arrival: in the train station, in the train, whenever walking in the streets, hostels and hotels, behind the window glasses when visiting our homes, in various echoing places in the university of Joensuu, Jokela, an old restaurant unfortunately soon a disappearing part of cultural history of Joensuu, in Laulutalo with the local men choir and its smaller singer group called Pienet sievät, in the meeting of local friendship associations, in Joensuu art museum - just to mention some of them.

The sounds we experience are vibrations reaching our ears. Singing for the choir means looking for the most suitable conditions to create harmonies combining and playing with different voice pitches in different acoustic spaces. Of course, then, all the different places had to be tested properly!

In May 2011 we had an opportunity to see and listen together the singing videos shot in Finland. The recordings also proved the fact that what is good for the eye can be…hmmm…at least interesting for the ear and for the process to produce harmonies. We visited Akka- and Ukko-Koli in the +300 meters high hill peaks in Northern Carelia under the beautiful, bright early spring sunshine. The shiny and soft snow did not reflect the sounds at all – probably wanted to keep them all as a memory!


The audio will be added soon!

giovedì 2 giugno 2011

Songscape of Cembra – part I

Cembra and the people we have been meeting there have always been unable to hide the joy of making music. Polyphonic singing is an essential part of many places in Italy. In Cembra the songs often conquer the acoustic spaces everyday. They are sung in annual festivals, masses in the church, as well as in cantinas, wine cellars of the old houses, baitas, the forest huts in the mountains and campagna, wine fields where they sing their favorite songs.

A welcoming evening with the experienced singers has always been a part of the visits to Cembra. This time was no exception. Our cheek muscles hurt - out of all that laughing and smiling after participating the singing sessions!
Thank you all for making a volymeous intermezzo also in the municipio attic where we were presenting our research experiences and the Acoustic Environments book.



Recordings of the school children - part 4

Gianluca made several interesting recordings, for example a 20-minutes long soundwalk with his friends. In these pieces of their soundwalk we hear the birds singing, a dog barking, a tractor passing by and tranquility of the forest.


domenica 29 maggio 2011

Recordings of the school children - part 3

Elfatie made many excellent recordings at her home. In these examples we hear sounds from her garden and the sound of bouncing a basketball.


martedì 24 maggio 2011

Recordings of the school children - part 2

Some of the Cembra´s Scuola Media pupils had an opportunity to take handy recorders at home to record  sounds in a different environment than the schoolyard.
An active gang of three, Ilaria, Anna and Roberto, made many great recordings in which they describe the sounds of their everyday lives.

In these two examples we hear chickens clucking and the sound of a fountain.


lunedì 23 maggio 2011

Questions for Dollar

One purpose of this blog is to be an open communication channel for all villagers in Cembra and Dollar. We want to encourage young people and children in these two villages to send recordings, pictures and texts to each other through this blog.

While returning from the soundwalks on 14th May the pupils of Cembra´s Scuola Media recorded some questions for Dollar and now they are eagerly waiting for answers and questions in return.

The questions are:

Why the village is called Dollar?” (guesses were that perhaps there is so much money..?)

“Is Dollar near mountains?”

“What are the typical sounds of Dollar?”


domenica 22 maggio 2011

Sound preferences

An entire week has already passed since we left Cembra and finally I have time to update what happened during our stay.

The pupils of Cembra´s Scuola Media took part in the sound preference test as well as pupils of Strathdevon Primary School in Dollar. They filled out forms about the sounds they like and dislike and some of them had a chance to interview their own parents. The other questions were:
What are the most typical sounds that you would like to tell to someone who does not live or has not visited Cembra?
Sounds that you would like to change in Cembra?

On Thursday 12th and Saturday 14th May the pupils of Scuola Media made listening walks and recorded some interesting sounds around the school yard, for example a tractor passing by, the rural soundscape of Cembra and the church bells ringing.

More examples will be in the following updates!


sabato 14 maggio 2011

Second morning alarm clock sound

How good to  sleep in a good bed in a nice old house. On the second morning we had prepared ourselves to wake up early at 7 a.m. with the San Pietro church bells – ready to record them and the singing dog.  As Viika wrote this sensitive animal was not at home this morning. What a pity!

Already a good while before 7 o’clock a mechanical, repetitive sound steels my sleepy attention. A telephone or an alarm clock? Neither yet. I’m too tired to check all the machines of the house that might cause this demanding sound. Only when standing up I can listen to this intruder from another angle and hear another higher tone of this repetitive rhythm. It forms an  interval - minor third. A cuckoo singing good morning!

The morning stress caused by the misinterpretation disappears and drops me back to dreaming and remembering our listening walk to the wine fields the previous day. The steep mountain slopes were an acoustic reign of the clear sounding blackbirds and cuckoos. This is often remembered also by many residents of Cembra. One reason they -  like me - miss this restful haven?



Getting  a sounding lift back from our listening walk in the wine fields in the bed of a tractor.