Sunday, July 19, 2015

Harmonizing languages

One of the songs in church this morning had a phrase about peoples and languages in harmony. Thinking of Gilbert and Sullivan's trios with different songs harmonizing, I wondered how difficult it would be to write a work (e.g. a quintet) of different languages singing at the same time. Somebody has probably done something like this before with two languages, though I don't have the breadth of experience to guess who. I'm curious how this could be made beautiful(*) with more than two or three. Anybody know?

(*) I don't find Aaron Copeland's blendings all that beautiful. Maybe that's my loss.


Texan99 said...

Not different languages, but completely different lyrics: I've always loved the four parts in "Tradition" in "A Fiddler on the Roof," when they sing them all together at the end. "At three I started Hebrew school, at ten I learned a trade. . . ."

james said...

My Eldest Son pointed out that at least two G and S operas include combinations in different time signatures.

It is probably straightforward if you select the right languages...