Salve Regina

Salve Regina for mixed choir is the genesis of choral unison. It explores individuality and collectivity, competition and cooperation, unfamiliarity and intimacy. Each voice type corresponds to a traditional voice type. The high female voice is a soprano, etc. The pronunciation of every vowel and consonant is described in the score using adapted English (UK) phonemes, International Phonetic Alphabet and other notes. The table on the next page provides a summary. Staffs with one line are unvoiced, while staffs with three lines are voiced and indicate a relative vocal range (i.e. the highest, etc.). Unison (within a voice group) is discouraged, except for the very end, so most voiced parts are in fact pitch clusters. To enable this, most voiced parts are in extreme vocal ranges. Special uses of voice and body are marked with {braces}. Dynamics indicate the intensity of breathing, which is connected to the speed and volume of breathing and singing. The conductor staff has indications for structural/temporal significant moments.

In optimal circumstances, the piece is performed right before the start of any choral program. The singers are dispersed over the audience, facing the centre of the stage like the audience. The singers must abstain from seeking contact with, looking at or touching any member of the audience. This is for the sake of the audience’s trust and emotional safety. In the beginning, their breathing mixes in with the breathing of the audience. The conductor, after coming on to stage, is the centre of concentration and guides the entire development of the piece. In the end, all breathing is mixed again. The singers can come up to stage to and the program can be continued.

The experience of the audience is essential for the completion the piece. Salve Regina partially follows a holographic structure: the part in the whole and the whole in the part. On macro level, the first two words of the Salve Regina hymn are sung and developed quasi linearly, which is great food for the cerebral analyst. On micro level, however, ‘’salve regina’’ is never sung literally. Instead, caused by the positioning of the singers and the organisation of and chance in the score, the audience perceives only parts of the words. The members of the audience combine these parts and construct and imagine the whole, thus the holographic cycle is completed. This process can be consciously or subconsciously, because it can be induced by taking a peek at the program notes or hearing the two words in the environment.