For five female singers, amateur chorus and electronic soundtrack.

Smartvox of Jonathan Bell, concert – performance ().

French pieces of the Notre-Dame School of Paris (XIIth et XIIIrd centuries)

A melting pot where get involved sacred texts from the Bible, contemporary music, new technology and early music. In a hyper connected world, Jonathan Bell takes an artistic look by puting the alive, the sensitive at the heart of the human-machine relation.

Duration : 1h20

A cutting-edge technology for musical creation. Jonathan Bell invented a transmission tool allowing for the orchestration of numerous human and electronic sources. The performers, five vocal soloists and an amateur choir, use their smartphones and headphones all connected through wifi, in order to participate together to the elaboration of the same piece. He thus conceive a human-machine dialogue, as well as a machine-mediated dialogue between humans, both a technical and poetic achievement. Each performer is provided with auditory cues: pitches, rhythm and text. The composer therefore finds an affinity with the musical practice of Middle Ages, in which hearing was of greater importance than sight.

In his musical writing, Jonathan Bell carries the influence of the French spectral school. The harmony is generated from the analysis of sound spectra, and uses a mixture of natural voices and synthesised sounds. The choir rehearses the piece with the De Caelis ensemble, and can therefore fully join the performance during the concert .

An ancient part fulfills the program: pieces of the 12th and 13th Century, monodies and polyphonies of the Ars Antigua. This innovative art of unprecedented beauty found imitations throughout Europe, and so was later called École de Notre-Dame de Paris, with anonymous masters as well as Pérotin and Léonin.

The Smartvox project allows unexperimented music readers to participate to musical materials hitherto reserved to experts. Our ambition is to discover this music from the inside, through experimentation. Smartphones give here autonomy to each singer, and allows them to tune and keep in time with each other, even in complex microtonal or polyrhythmic passages. The setup allows here professional singers to convey their knowledge and passion through a direct interaction with singers of all levels, immersed in an unknown soundworld.

This process also permits new forms of concerts and music making. The listener is immersed in a mobile sonic architecture. A choreography of slow movements, also guided by the smartphones’ screens, will evoke at times forms of rituals. Some light projections will also underline the movements of the choir, thus adding to the visual dimension of the concert.

En partenariat avec l’IRCAM.

Jonathan Bell était sur France Musique l’invité de l’émission Le Cri du Patchwork de Clément Lebrun du 27 février 2018 pour expliquer son travail avec l’ensemble De Caelis et présenter son système Smartvox.
Retrouver l’entretien de Jonathan Bell dans la deuxième partie de l’émission :