Lacrymosa

Lacrymosa is a piece for five-part chorus (SSATB), dedicated to the memory of the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of the current project is to assemble a virtual chorus of socially-distanced singers to record the piece. Each singer records one or more tracks, which will then be mixed together to produce the recording. Singers of all skill levels are welcome and invited to participate. If you would like to take part, please download the score and the guide track for your voice part (here) and follow the instructions below.

Guide Tracks:

Synthesized guide tracks are provided for each voice part. When recording your part, listen to the guide track on headphones while singing, taking care that the guide track does not bleed into your recording. (In a live performance, the individual members of the chorus monitor the guide tracks using a single earphone attached to a portable device singers and would start the track in response to a cue from the conductor.) The guide tracks should not be audible to the audience or on a recording.

Text:

Each performer chooses 3-5 names of victims of the 2019-2020 COVID-19 pandemic, repeating them somewhat in the manner of a litany, throughout the piece. The effect is equivalent to a musical memorial wall, viewed at a distance; individual names may not always be discerned clearly. Intone the names on the pitches indicated, somewhat in the manner of a plainchant, using the natural spoken rhythm of the names. For example, one possible realization is shown below:

A non-exhaustive list of names of those of who have died from the COVID-19 epidemic can be found here. Singers are encouraged to add names of their own choosing, including those whom they may have known.

Do not change pitches in the middle of a name, even when the guide track has moved to the next pitch. Instead, complete the name on the current pitch, and move to the new pitch on the next name. This will result in staggering of pitches and a deliberately blurry texture.

General Performance Practices:

Breathe as necessary, but stagger breaths within each section of the chorus. Vibrato should be kept to a minimum. Dynamics generally follow register. Tenors may need to use light head voice or falsetto in some passages. In general, performance style should be closer to chant or early polyphony, as opposed to Romantic practice.

Recording notes:

Use the best microphone and recording system you can. You can still participate if all you have access to is a cell phone or laptop microphone, but high-quality tracks with good equipment will be easier to work with. Avoid extraneous noises in your recording if possible. It may be possible to remove some background noise, but try to record in a quiet environment if at all possible. You can submit as many takes as you like, ideally using different names each take. Sopranos are encouraged to record both soprano parts. Submit audio tracks only, no video. Mono, uncompressed 24-bit .wav files are preferred.

Submit your recording using a file transfer service like Dropbox or We Transfer. When you have uploaded your recording, share it with matyas47 AT gmail DOT com (replacing the AT and DOT with the standard symbols, and omitting the spaces.) Questions can be directed to the same address.

Download Files Here

Notes on Tuning