7 Sopranos and 7 Soundscapes on the 7 Continents of the World
a world-wide project by Johannes Wallmann
© Johannes Wallmann
ARIA is a composition for 7 sopranos who, on 7 days in September 2001, will raise their voices simultaneously from 7 continents, accompanied by the soundscapes of their respective locations, and broadcast live around the world. The advanced music of ARIA will also incorporate fragments of traditional songs from each country involved.
Each of the 7 performances of the 49-minute-long composition ARIA will be made available world wide over the Internet in VHF quality. In so far as all radio stations around the world will be able to tap this transmission, it will be possible for a myriad of listeners to experience live, as they arise, the sounds and noises coming simultaneously from all the continents.
The live broadcasts will allow the listeners to be present acoustically at several different locations around the globe at the same time and to embrace the earth with the ears. Thus, a kind of global, trans-cultural hearing will be enabled, in which millions of people can be expected to participate.
7 Sopranos, 7 Sites and 7 Soundscapes
The sopranos - young singers from each of the 7 countries involved - have classical vocal training, an excellent and clear voice suitable for broadcasting, knowledge and understanding of the vocal traditions of their respective country, and an interest in contemporary music.
The 7 sites - standing in for the 7 continents (North America, South America, Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe, Antarctica) - were selected to produce a complete circuit of the globe: From the Niagara Falls, over the Amazonian rain forest, the harbour and Table Mountain in Cape Town, downtown Sydney, a railway station and a Buddhist temple in Japan, a mine in the Ural Mountains, and finally to a glacier or hot spring in Iceland. The sites will give rise to a wealth of impressive sounds, noises and images.
A "soundscape" is meant to be an acoustic environment and consists of the sounds produced at the site by nature or civilization. Taken collectively the soundscapes should allow the listener to experience the earth as a single organism of interacting parts.
At each of the 7 sites, two locations will be carefully chosen according to optical and acoustic criteria: One location, where the soprano sings; a second location, where the soundscape is produced. Cameras and microphones will transmit images and sounds from both locations, where no audience shall be present.
Public Events at Numerous Sites Around the Globe
The complete performance of ARIA is to be broadcast live in many different cities around the world, and will be heard live in public spaces. In order to ensure the high acoustic quality of the live transmission of the sounds from the 7 continents, 4 groups of speakers should be placed surrounding the audience in such a way so that each sound-position may be assigned to a continent.
With an appropriate presentation and promotion of ARIA in the media, many people all over the world will presumably gather in order to simultaneously experience the life interrelations on the continents evoked by the live transmission of ARIA, thus presenting an alternative to the "Culture Wars". Additionally it might be possible to watch the live world-wide television broadcast on publicly-displayed video screens, to the extent that the local organisers are able to finance this.
World-wide Live TV Broadcast
The world-wide live television broadcast is planned for the first day of the performance. The images will be selected in accordance with the production plan and co-ordinated with the exact, second-by-second notation of the ARIA score.
Movies and television managed to capture the large, well-known urban centres of culture at their fascinating best long ago. An attempt to compete with this would not make any sense. Similarly, the ARIA recordings are not about images of past cultures, but rather an awareness of the here-and-now of lifes interrelations. This here-and-now embraces the fact that the optical interplay of the soundscape sites (although carefully planned in advance) will not always be perfectly co-ordinated in the usual sense. Instead, this presentness will incorporate unforeseen events and coincidences. Precisely therein lies its appeal.
The various camera angles will be combined in accordance with a time and tempo conception. In addition to very calm and overtly slow camera movements (almost as if in slow motion), fades, cuts, and transitions will be made at various speeds. The camera takes will convey a sense of great expanse and calm perception, and thus emphasize the poetry of the images.
OuterSound-InnerSound Berlin & International