Striking a chord

Since 2009, the Seine-Saint-Denis County Council has been backing “la Culture et l’Art au Collège (CAC)”. This project is based to a large extent on the presence in class for several weeks (40 hours) of an artist or scientist whose mission is to engage the students in a process of research and creation.


Contributors: artists


Each person’s voice is unique, partly because of the shape and size of their vocal chords. Taking into consideration the wealth and variety of the voices in their class, and using different amplification, recording and editing techniques, the students devise an audio creation that will illustrate their collective project that involves discussions, experiments and inventiveness.

The Human Voice
The voice is a biological phenomenon. Together, the students and contributor learn about the anatomy of their own phonatory system: the role of the lungs, the larynx, the vocal chords, the mouth and the nose. The possibilities, the limitations and above all the singularities of each person’s voice are explored with the help instruments; certain elements are measured such as frequency, intensity, etc. Using words, the class tries to describe the timbre, texture, intonation and accent. Little by little, the class presents a portrait of a voice.

Acoustic Alphabet
The class continues with its project, making a vocal directory: words, whispers, language games, song… They record themselves, playing on heights, vocal range and rhythms. They then learn how to compose with this sonic material using software to arrange, edit, superimpose and combine effects. To enlarge the voice bank, the students organise a sound recording session with other classes and seek out “distinctive” voices.

The students then create a narrative drawing on the full range of the human voice: message, emotion, song, grievance, a single voice, several voices, loud, shrill, soft, etc. The account can incorporate several, complementary sonic sources: noise, music, ambiance, rhythm. The project’s spatialisation, in order to broadcast it, is the final section of this initiative. The students are given eight speakers to submerge the audience in “its voice”. 


Photos : Pierre Antoine
Scénographie : Elodie Descoubes

striking a chord
striking a chord
striking a chord
striking a chord
striking a chord