Swansong 1987
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Swansong (1987). Aural Setting - Accompaniment. Aural Setting – Philip Chambon. The music in Swansong was specially commissioned by Christopher Bruce for Swansong and was composed by Philip Chambon .

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Swansong (1987)

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Swansong 1987

Swansong (1987)

Aural Setting - Accompaniment


Aural setting philip chambon

Aural Setting – Philip Chambon

  • The music in Swansong was specially commissioned by Christopher Bruce for Swansong and was composed by Philip Chambon.

  • The music composed is played by various instruments and is modified using a computer/synthesiser.

  • The electro-acoustic accompaniment includes digitally sampled sounds, vocals, a reed pipe and popular dance rhythms.

  • Unaccompanied interludes (silence) enable us to hear the tapping of feet, as the dancers perform.


Aural setting philip chambon1

Aural Setting – Philip Chambon

  • Christopher Bruce and composer Philip Chambonworked together to create the right rhythms and sounds for the dance.

  • When the music is slow and sad the dancing is also continuous and flowing to match, like in the section when the victim dances alone.


Aural setting philip chambon2

Aural Setting – Philip Chambon

  • When the music is fast and strong the dance also becomes more dynamic, like in the section when the guards manipulate the victim.

  • This demonstrates direct correlation of music to movement where music and dance work together.


Swansong aural setting

Swansong – Aural Setting

  • The start of the dance is triggered by the sound of a ‘door’ slamming.

  • In Section 1 – Questions and Answers, the guards and victim tap out the questions and answers.

  • Claps and finger clicks are also used to heighten the intensity of the interrogation.


Swansong aural setting1

Swansong – Aural Setting

In Section 5 – Second Solo, there is no accompaniment. It uses silence. This emphasises;

  • the changes of speed in the movement

  • generates the atmosphere of a bleak prison cell

  • highlights the dramatic impact of the prisoners’ situation by the imagery of the prop (chair)


Swansong aural setting2

Swansong – Aural Setting

  • The silence means that the audience can hear the sound of dancers’ movements and breath, the chair and allows the dancer to improvise and feel the mood of the dance freely.

  • In Section 6 – The Cane Dance, carnival type music is used to add an element of comedy and to break the tension slightly, but it is soon over as Section 7 – Final Solo starts.


Swansong aural setting3

Swansong – Aural Setting

  • Chambon also uses the sounds of birds (makes us think of a trapped bird in a cage, like the prisoner in the cell) and pots and pans which are recorded and digitally manipulated.


Swansong aural setting4

Swansong – Aural Setting

  • The MOOD is communicated throughout by the use of the reed pipes and vocals, creating an eerie, un-inviting atmosphere.

  • The guards ‘tango’ section music sets the RHYTHM of movement, as well as the victims solo being slower, tired and soft.

  • Each section of the dance correlates to a different section of music, so the music helps to STRUCTURE the dance.


Swansong aural setting5

Swansong – Aural Setting

  • The music AIDS THE NARRATIVE by giving a big build up towards the end of the entire piece when the victims spirit eventually escapes (building to a climax).

  • The THEME of the dance is clear throughout; the synthesized accompaniment portrays the ideas of prisoner of conscience.

  • The music gives us SOUND EFFECTS such as pots and pans and bird sounds.


Exam tips

Exam tips…

When describing accompaniment or aural setting you must consider:-

  • Instruments

  • Sound effects

  • Speed

  • Style (Jazz, classical etc)


Exam tips1

Exam tips…

When evaluating the contributions of accompaniment or aural setting you must consider how it:-

  • Provides a mood or atmosphere

  • Shows a character

  • Provides dancers with a beat, rhythm or speed

  • Shows a historical period

  • Shows a geographical setting or location

  • Provides a structure for the dance

  • Highlights a moment in the dance

  • Creates a climax or highlight


Swansong 1987

Task…

  • Complete the exam style questions. Include as much detail as possible.


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