Final Performance: Song Composition

Final performance group: Chloe Wood, Rosie Mountjoy and Ophelia Neville

When we first met as a group to discuss our final performance, we started throwing around a few ideas and all liked the idea of creating a very ambient, eery and abstract song that could prize the use of loopers and vocal manipulation in particular.

We quickly decided on the theme of schizophrenia. Below are some of the notes I jotted down during our first discussion just as some ideas.

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We looked up Schizophrenia to find out a bit more about the topic and it talked about there being three different elements of a person being effected: Thoughts, emotion and behaviour. As there are three of us in our group, we thought it would be interesting if we all took on one of these words as our “character” for the song. We through around the concept of having three verses, one verse for each “character”, however, we steered away from this after our first meeting with Tim to discuss our plans as we didn’t want it to be too structured and run like a normal song – we wanted it to be more of an experience/representation of schizophrenia itself.

After meeting a couple of times to rehearse we had decided on a short piano melody which would be looped and create the base of our song and give us an element of time in our song. We set up three microphones and applied some different audio fx as well as a looper for each mic and improvised a bit. Rosie came up with a line ‘voices voices in my head’ which Chloe followed with another line, whilst I sang the word ‘whisper’ overlapping. This became the start of our song which we then improvised slightly to create the rough idea of our whole song. We created a mind map of words which we associate with schizophrenia. Although we didn’t have a typical song structure and it was quite abstract, we knew what each part of the song was and when we would shift into something slightly different.

Finally, we incorporated the drum pad and the push to add some texture.

In terms of deciding who did what in our performance, we thought if Rosie had the drum pad, it could represent some kind of heartbeat within our piece – this also comes into play when we all drop out at the end of the song leaving Rosie to finish by saying ‘help me’ on her own. We thought this could create the idea of Rosie being the person affected by schizophrenia in our piece, whilst Chloe & I are representing the extensions of her disorder.

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