3.4 Sound quality as a musical parameter

As discussed, changing the voice’s sound and function by using electronic processing can be experienced as a musical play with distance and nearness. This distance – nearness play can, as demonstrated above, be seen as taking place in the range between a central zone (meaning and real world), and a peripheral zone, represented by a more abstract sound- world.

For me, the “play with the experience of reality” is, most often, not planned or reflected on, but comes as a result of improvising with musical material, from experimenting with sounds and making intuitive choices. These choices are based on the total experience of the music, either in a solo performance or in the interplay with others. The quality of the sounds I produce is often a musical trigger, causing the next event, similar to how a rhythm, a melody, a text or someone else’s sound can create a musical idea or response in me. This is also how Thomas Strønen describes our interplay: “ I often feel that the sounds you choose trigger an impulse and sound from me, and these sounds together becomes a common idea that we develop further in the interplay”.

By observing my own work, I find that through my practice I have developed a vocabulary, a set of techniques that I favour. Even though sound quality is not an isolated parameter in music, it is useful to examine in a more concrete way how I experience and use different types of processed voice sound, with a focus on the sound as such. Compared to ‘playing with zones’, this approach is a more instrumental, and some of this thinking might therefore also be more adaptable to musicians working with electronic processing using other instruments. Still, it is clear, by examining these sounds and techniques, that the usage very often involves a ‘play with zones’. However, it is also possible that some of the techniques, especially those relating to the use of reverb and ”placing” the sound, as well as the use of sampling, will have relevance for an instrumentalist.

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