∆ Classical Vocal Styles Today ∆

by beewack

Last Tuesday night I went to see alt-J, an English indie rock/ experimental group that has gained much popularity recently. The first time I heard alt-J was the summer of 2012 and I automatically added them to the running list on my phone of “Bands I need to see before I die”. This list currently only has five artists, and being the huge concert fan that I am, this makes this list highly exclusive in my eyes.

What I find most interesting about alt-J is their use of vocal harmonies. Much like the chants and motets we have been studying, many of the songs have vocal lines that harmonize and other times they sing opposing lines. Not only do both of the vocalists have very unique voices, but they complement each other very well. In the song Breezeblocks the vocalists sing in the round style, where they start singing one after the other, and then come together to sing the line together. This style mimics that of the Josquin masses but with a modern adaptation.

Another similarity I noticed by looking more closely at alt-J in relation to the music we have been studying has to do with the format of a song. In many of the pieces we have listened to that include both vocal and orchestral music we hear the call and response theme. Often times a singer will sing a verse and then the music will respond to that verse. We see this trend in both classical pieces and music we listen to today.

If you’ve never heard Alt- J before I definitely recommend checking out their album An Awesome Wave!