noisy girl

Thoughts, musings and happenings from a feminist composer.

Monday, April 12, 2004

I've been working on a piece about the (possibly) mythical (although possibly quite real) pope, Pope Joan, for about 14 months now. The piece is in the form of a 9th century Mass (the 9th century was the time when Joan supposedly ruled). I've used my voice almost exclusively in the construction of the piece - recording speech and singing, and processing the sounds with Cool Edit, AudioMulch, and various plugins.

As Pope Joan disguised herself as a man -- her female sex was only exposed when she gave birth in public procession -- the piece deals with gender-crossing, and I've used pitch-shifting and formant-shifting plugins to alter the gender and tone of my voice.

The piece is large (30-40 mins) and has taken at least 1,000 hours work so far. The process of composing, performing, recording, editing and assembling the piece has been very painstaking. I'm hoping that I will finish it in the next month.

Nevertheless, it's been great fun to work on, and I've managed to explore and express a wide range of emotions and vocal characters in my recording sessions.

link to a decent online text about Pope Joan (previously published in book form only):

(Sorry... you will have to cut & paste - damn HTML code for links not working)