Carmen Phonetico


4,27-6,2 2022



continuo(basso & effetto)


less than 5'



This vocal score makes use of all forms of vocal directions: spoken declamation, phonetic tone, neumatic cantillation, neumatic chant, and singing. New too here is a more graphic depiction of vocal contours for the recitation section of my formal structure, which I felt was not differentiated enough from the opening and ending recitation to impart the symbolic and dramatic apex of its position, which becomes a outline for a cadenza of sorts.

I want to take advantage of all the qualities of the human voice, of all its shades are gradations, more in a Partchian manner than in any neo-Dadist or Surrealist one, because my interest is in humanism and human expression, a song for the sake of itself rather than as a vague artistic statement.

This is why I, no matter the forces employed or the circumstances of performance, place myself within the context of liturgical recitative and NOT the western classical tradition--and this is something I think is very clear looking at the page--because I am not interested in being understood as part of a musical tradition totally foreign to my compositional methodology. Those ideas developed in my compositional practice are absolutely alien to western compositional logic, especially in the standard ways we identify melodic, harmonic, and formal development. The core logical conception of the music is in the essential quality of the word as expressed, which determine the compositional development.

As in the psalm tone, the sections of the music form individual musical units, tied to one another and rooted in the text, but are otherwise not necessarily related to one another in terms of musical content. Each moment is beholden to itself, though similarities are a given. The "phonetic song" is not symbolic, it is literal, the melody rises from the word, like a breeze cools for a few moments.

The role of instruments here represents a sort of compromise with this other tradition. With some desire to distance myself from the limitations of four voice polyphony while still retaining that sort of structural scaffolding it affords the voice, as well as allowing me to cheat and format a score for any group, be it baroque or pierrot.

Sean Patrick Ignatius Tartaglia