(Day eleven in our countdown to Make Music Winter. Join us every day between now and December 21 for a new feature on one of our Make Music Winter parades.)
Village in Volume returns for a third year with a third version, this time exclusively featuring the trio TIGUE. We asked the three of them to weigh in on the inspiration for the parade, what’s different about this year, and their favorite moments from years past. Read on for their stories.
What inspired Village in Volume?
Amy Garapic: The inspiration for Village in Volume comes from our desire to create music with simple means that is both accessible and inviting to any person–young or old, musician or not. Through voices and percussive sounds, two of the most primitive and visceral ways that we all create sound and music every day, the members of TIGUE will each independently compose one layer of the final piece resulting in a 30-minute, 3 tiered composition. Each participant will be navigated personally through the piece by a member of TIGUE explaining simple instructions via mp3 download that all participants will start together at the beginning of the parade. In realizing these instructions, participants will create a moving sound world through the West Village combining active shimmers of metal pipe choirs, as well as intimate vocal moments.
How did you come up with the idea for the parade itself?
AG: When we first began Village in Volume two years ago, we focused on using everyday objects and simple instructions to create music with a large group of people. We knew that many would not be musicians, so our goal was to find a way for any person to create unified interesting sounds while walking through the streets of the West Village. We used things like tin cans, plastic jugs filled with beans, and pool tubing. Last year this idea was developed further to include the mp3 instructions (instead of big cardboard signs that held instructions the first year) and allowed for an even greater creative palette for us to work with. Now, it’s as if each of us are personally leading the participants through the piece softly whispering in their ears each step of the way explaining how to create their sounds. The addition of the metal pipes gave us a specific harmonic world to live in, and also seemed a good fit for the winter parade with their glittery and sharp, yet beautiful sound.
Matt Evans: When we began Village in Volume 2 years ago, we were focused on taking inspiration from Phil Kline’s Unsilent Night, the members of TIGUE put their heads together in the attempt to create a participatory parade that included some of our favorite sounds. We were excited about all sorts of percussive sounds that take little to no training to create and the concept of a symphony of sounds that could be performed by anyone.
What is new or different about this year’s version?
AG: This year, we will each be taking on specific sections of the piece and composing them independently. This is unique to us and the project as we tend to compose all of our own music together in rehearsal, as a collective unit. To compose independently will allow in a greater diversity of contrasting ideas that may not flow in and out of each other smoothly, but will provide for a fun and exciting ride.
Carson Moody: What’s different about this year is that we aren’t in the same room, writing the piece together. Where so much of what the three of us in TIGUE do is collaborative, we have found ourselves, physically, in different parts of the country right now, and were inspired by John Cage and Lou Harrison’s Double Music. So, we decided we would take a similar approach and limit ourselves to the same instruments and see what happened!
What inspired your own section of the piece?
AG: One of my sections of the piece is inspired by a piece we did last year for Make Music New York called The Great Learning. One section of the piece gives a very simple instruction to sing a word on a pitch and then match the pitch of your neighbor. This process going from a very cacophonous, disarray of harmony to a very tonal almost unison position is quite beautiful. Again, while most participants may not have any vocal training, this simple task of matching a pitch that you hear is something that we can all do allowing the entire group to join together ending in a very beautiful harmony.
CM: My own section was inspired by a couple of things. I’ve been listening to a lot of the music of Johnny Greenwood and Penderecki recently, and have had a really emotional response to the thick textures of dissonant glissandi. It represents this particular element of chaos which has its own brand of overwhelming beauty. Sticking with the theme of bringing music to a community, I wanted participants to experience the relief of working together to bring chaos to a close, resulting in a more harmonious blanket of sound.
ME: My sections are typically inspired by the sounds of human speech and the unique qualities indvciduals performing identical tasks. We all interpret directions differently and it’s beautiful to embrace our individual tendencies!
What is your favorite moment from Village in Volume parades of years past?
AG: My favorite moment from Village in Volume last year was a moment when we were all stopped on a corner waiting for a traffic light to change and at that moment the instruction was to sing ‘I love you’ on a given pitch. This stopping moment where the entire group was huddled together singing “I love you” in various harmonies with the NYC traffic around us was really beautiful to me, and actually inspired the idea of specific stopping points along the route this year. Come and join us this year to find out exactly what I’m referring to!!
CM: My favorite moment of MMNY in the past includes every conversation with NYPD in which we have to convince them that what we are doing is legal.
ME: The first year we all swung sewer hoses in the air at the end of the parade and the sound was beautiful. It was one of my favorite moments and a really beautiful ending our first attempt at a participatory parade.