It takes a lot of people to make a data choir

by Michael

For our project I Heard There Was A Secret Chord at the Musée d’Art Contemporain we wanted to create an audible connection between visitors (both online and on-site), and all the people in the world who are listening to Cohen’s Hallelujah at any moment.

We thought that the most interesting and direct connection between the number of listeners and the number of sounds being heard by our visitors would be a choir, where each voice represented a listener online. We decided early on that we wanted to use humming to focus on the musicality and physical sensation of voice.

So we arrived at the need to record a giant humming choir.

Without yet having access to the online data, we didn’t know how many singers we needed, or where we would find them. Luckily Irene, our fearless producer, sings in a choir. She approached her choir director about getting her choir’s participation. Not only did Mélodie agree to involve the choir, she invited the members of the other 7 choirs she directs(!), plus a number of choirs she has affiliations with. (She also helped with vocal arrangement and directed the singers during our recording sessions, Thanks Mélodie!)

Tetra Sound Lab

Over the course of 2 weekends, we turned Tetra Sound Lab into a humming factory, with back-to-back 45 minute recording sessions in which groups of 6 people would hum their way through up to 8 different vocal parts. In the end, we had 635 takes. We reviewed and edited all the takes down to about 250 solo voices, plus a number of large multi-voice composite files, that would allow us to have up to 1250 voices humming in our installation.

Choir Director Mélodie Rabatel and Recording Engineer Patrick McDowell

Check out the humming choir in our installation at MAC until April 2018, or online now:

http://asecretchord.com/

The hummers:

Ensemble Vocal Les Nanas de Montréal

Morgane Derycke, Claire Domenget, Julie Norman, Alice de Forges, Sophie Chainel, Jennifer Arthur, Mylène Lapointe, Nathalie Brunet, Annie Gaudreault, Ursula Mercier, Francine Lemay,

Crystel Pereira, Martine Gagnon, Marion Noël, Pauline Marchand, Marie-Line Migneault, Meghan Perry, Alison McCreath, Sarah LeBlanc, Julie Comtois, Karen Francoeur, Louise Lockhart, Céline Chatigny, Anne Marie Harnois, Stephee Frechette, Micheline Boucher, Sarah Vandekendelaere, Sylvie Lavoie, Elise Brissette, Irène Chaudouet, Natasha Audet

Ensemble vocal DivertisSon

Carole Laplante, Michel Ouellet, Linda Bouchard, Safia Djebbari, Michel Chalifoux, Sylvie Provost, Luce Turmel, Daniel Desmarais, Anne Ruelle Lamory, Louise Rivard, Normand Lorange, Norman Robert, Robert Fréchette, Rachel Villeneuve, Félix Dion, Corentin Wallez, Odette Guky, Jennifer Haddad, Roberto Rantucci

L’ensemble I Coristi de Laval

Sophie Stival

Gaston Loiselle

La Serre

Martin Skorek, Gaétan Paré, Narges Khorsand, Catherine Tardif, Leonie Couture, Agathe Couture, Caroline Courtois Schirmer, Christel Durand, Mélodie Rabatel, Jean François

Choeur Gai de Montréal

Christian Vallée, Maurice A. Harvey, Christian Giomet, Karl Lessard, Yann Chavaillaz, Julie Roy, Sébastien Fortier, Christian McCann, Pierre Landry, Michel Saint-Louis, Mike Mizrakian, Denis Nantel, Simon Lacerte, Jean-Pierre Robin, Bernard Faucher, Normand Cyr, François Richard, John Macomber, Eric Descoteaux, Benoit Cayer, Xavier Vincent, Michel Bourdon, André St Onge, René Huacuja, Yves Turcotte

BAnQ

Catherine de Varennes, Gaël Girard, Elodie Jolette, Tony Rota