Terra Prosodia

2011 | ars acustica, composition, cd,


supported by film- und medienstiftung nrw

cd: gruenrekorder

Rumansch, Gutamal, Provencal, Wallis-Deutsch, Provencal, Gascon, Scottish-Gaelic

honorary mention, Prix Ars Electronica Linz




There are 6000 languages on the world, but the majoritiy oft them will disappear soon. Each language or dialect represents a certain point of view and a typical sound. Alltogether they represent an archaic richness of human expression. For a long time dialects have been connected with provincialism, folkloristic music and theatre or even disagreeable political messages. With Terra Prosodia I want to cut off this connection and place the dialects in a more abstract and musical content.

There are some existing scientific recordings but they are technically not satisfying, (humming, echoing, music or telephone in the background or the speakers only say a single word).

Now dialects become more popular, airlines use them for safety rules and youtube is full of people who try to learn dialects, but they are no native speakers. You will also find, that people who grew up with a dialect but live in a big city for a longer time loose a lot of their modulation, whereas people in remote valleys or on lonely islands keep much more of their original melodic modulation.

Therefore I travel to the regions with dialects and record people where they live. Each speaker tells a personal and improvised story of about 5 minutes. Often the stories have something to do with the region, its about a storm, a fire, an animal, an unexpected visitor and so on. For the composition I always use the whole story. I only put in repetitions, breaks and some stereo panning.

Then I add a second instrumental or vocal voice which partly imitates the melodies of the instrument, partly becomes independent. By this I try to focus the perception oft he recipent on the melodies in the speech. The smaller the community of speakers is who speak a language or dialect the better for me. Because this means that the rest oft he world cannot understand the language and that makes it easier to focus on the melodies.