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  • Writer's pictureKate Woodman

Spat’ Sonore:  Qui est-ce et qu'y a-t-il?  (Spat’ Sonore :  who and what is it ?)

Updated: Feb 16, 2020


Vendredi après-midi , je passerai l’église Saint-Merri, une église à mon quartier où j’assiste beaucoup de concerts. Les portes étaient ouverts, donc je suis entrée. Voici est ce que j’ai trouvé.

Friday afternoon, I walked past Saint Merri’s church, a church in my neighborhood where I often attend concerts. The doors were open and a number of people were peering into the church. So I went in….and this is what I saw.

"Cor Spacialisé" in l'église Saint-Merri

C’était beaucoup des instruments à vents, mais pas comme d’habitude. Tous étaient reliés avec le tube et les instruments n’étaient pas dans une seule pièce. Notamment il y avait beaucoup de cornets très longues. L’installation était comme si rien j’avais jamais vu. J’ai vu une annonce qui a dit que le concert était ce soir-là. Donc j’ai pensé : « j’assisterai ! »

It was an unusual installation of many brass instruments. They were all connected with tubing and formed a large square in the middle of the church nave. But none of the instruments (tubas, trombones, trumpets) was in one piece….various instrument parts were connected to one another, in particular very long horns (6-8 feet), many reaching toward the ceiling. It was unlike anything I had ever seen before! I saw a flyer which said that there was a performance that evening, so of course, I thought: “I’ll go!”

Flyer announcing concert "Swarms #1" - I especially like the graphics

Au concert, il y avait beaucoup des oreillers sur le plancher au milieu d’installation. Ils étaient pour le public. Et de tous les côtés de l’installation, étaient les femmes, les hommes et les enfants qui participeraient au concert. Cinq musiciens ont joué les instruments à vents et une femme a joué un violon et une autre a joué une guitare. La partition musicale était prévu sur la tissu blanche suspendu au-dessus l’installation. Le concert a commencé. Les musiciens ont soufflé dans les instruments à vents et ils ont fait des sons, mais il n’y avait aucune mélodie. L’ensemble amateur entourant l’installation ont fait des sons avec les secs en plastique, le papier, les tambours fait maison et autres choses quotidiennes. Je pense c’était bizarre.

At the performance, there were many pillows scattered on the floor in the middle of the installation. These were for the audience, of which there were quite a few children. And on all sides of the installation sat women, men and children who would participate in the performance. Five musicians played the brass instruments that made up the installation and one woman played the violin and another the guitar. The music score was projected onto white fabric that hung above the installation. The concert started. The musicians blew into their instruments and made sounds, but there was no melody. We heard them breathing and some horn-like sounds….they also played recorders, harmonicas, beat drums, made crinkling and tearing sounds with pieces of paper. And the surrounding amateur ensemble made sounds with plastic bags, sheets of paper, homemade drums, and other everyday objects, as well as clapping and making sounds with their voices, all paying close attention to the score projected on the fabric hanging above them. I thought it was interesting, but quite bizarre.

Waiting for the performance to begin....

Not a bad way to enjoy the concert....

Amateur ensemble reading score hanging above them....bags on floor aren't litter, but their "instruments...."

Nicolas Chedmail, the founder of Spac' Sonore

This little girl loved every minute!

Traditional sax....and recorder....

À mon retour, j’ai fait la recherche. Selon le site web de Spat’ Sonore : «Les spat’ sont des acousmoniums accoutiques tentaculaires, d’immenses orgues à bouches, des amplificateurs-spatialisateurs-filtres de sons produits spar la bouche, une corde ou une membrane. Les spat’ sont aussi des cors, des tubas, des saxophones….des harmonicas et des banjos….Développés collectivement depuis 2001 par le collectif Spat’ Sonore, ils forment une nouvelle famille d’instruments de musique. » Donc l’installation est en fait une nouvelle famille d’instruments de musique, qui a créé par Nicolas Chedmail et ses collègues à Spat’ Sonore. Il s’appelle « cor spatialisé » ou en abrégé, «spat ‘ ». Les spat’ dont la particularité est la spatialisation acoustique du son.

When I got home, I did some research. According to the website of Spat’ Sonore, the Spat’ (short for, loosely translated, “spatialist horn ”) is a sprawling accoustic acousmonium (“the sound diffusion system designed in 1974 by Francois Bayle and used originally by the Groupe de Recherches Musicales at the Maison de Radio France. It consists of 80 loudspeakers of differing size and shape, and was designed for tape playback…..”) consisting of long tubes and horns, an amplifier-spatializer-sound filter produced by the mouth, a string or membrane. Derived from traditional brass instruments, it forms a new family of musical instruments, characterized by its acoustic spatialization of sound. It was created beginning in 2001 by Nicolas Chedmail and his colleagues at Spat’ Sonore, and is played by 5 horn players and tubists. The website goes on to explain how the sound is produced, where and why. A bit too esoteric for me. What attracts me to this group is not the sound, but the Spat’ itself as a sculpture, a whimsy, a flight of fancy. And I loved the inclusiveness and sense of community created by the performance itself. Perhaps not exactly what Spat’ Sonore intended with this concert, but perhaps not far off.

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