Tannu tuva
music for male voice, male overtone singing, bassoon, banjo and piano.

Brian Current
Composer
Brian Current
Composition Date: 1995
Genre: Two Voices, With Chamber Ensemble, Woodwind(s), Keyboard / Plectral String

Instrumentation:

Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 1 x Bassoon
  • 1 x Other plucked strings
  • 1 x Piano
  • 1 x Medium voice
  • 1 x Ethnic voice
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Programme Note:
Tuva is a small mountainous country nestled in the very center of Asia between outer Mongolia and Russia. 'Tannu Tuva' is a phrase in the Tuvan language meaning "country of the high mountains".

The music is a reaction to first hearing the magic of overtone singing, a Central Asian technique of simultaneously singing more than one pitch at a time. The piece attempts to show that this is available to Western musicians. In fact I met Greg Silver, who overtone sings beautifully with very clear harmonics, while walking down St. Catherines Street in Montreal.

Nothing in the piece is digitally enhanced or altered and all players perform acoustic instruments live. The work is scored for male voice (singing the text in the Tuvan language), male overtone singer (singing both the drone and the high whistle-like melody at the same time), bassoon (at times blown like a didgeridoo), banjo (bowing harmonics on all strings with a cello bow) and piano (at times scratching harmonics on the inside of the instrument).

The use of the banjo in this piece emulates to some extent an Igil, a bowed Tuvan stringed instrument.

The text is taken from a ceremonial shamanistic "hymn to the mountains", sung in the Tuvan language, a Turkic dialect. Written here in transliteration:

Eei, huhré huhré, huhrá huhrá huhrá,
Eei, yorung dongdung, yorung sumhá larum huhrá huhrá huhrá
Eei, huhré huhré, huhrá huhrá huhrá huhrá
Eei, nanima-um lesongha larum huhrá huhrá huhrá huhrá
Eei, hurum lestangha larum huhrá huhrá huhrá
Eei, yorung zhustoom huhrá huhrá huhrá huhrá
Eei, huhrá huhrá huhrá huhrá
Eei, wingzhun-oom huhrá huhrá huhrá huhrá
Eei, ashtoonga shung huhra huhrá huhrá
Eei, rang támtám huhrá huhrá huhrá
Eei, ashtoonga shung hué tomei hu-oom, huhrá huhrá
Eei, narum, narum losoom huhrá huhrá huhrá

(Score contains pronunciation instructions).

In English (provided by Smithsonian/Folkways):

Eei, my world, my universe, my servants...
Eei, my goose, my jackdaw...
Eei, my world, my servants...
Eei, let all purify iself, protect all my herd...
Eei, let all purify itself and let everyone be happy...
Eei, look after everyone...
Eei, my world, my universe, my relatives...
Eei, my nomad camp, place of my birth...

Premiere Information:
May, 1995, Pollack Hall, Montreal, Quebec; Ted Runcie, voice, Greg Silver, overtone singing, Ben Glossop, bassoon, Matthew Masotti, banjo, Daniel Coughlan, piano.

CATALOGUE INFO:

  • Call Number:
  • MV 2214 C972tan 1995
  • Genre:
  • Two Voices, With Chamber Ensemble, Woodwind(s), Keyboard / Plectral String
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • March 22, 2004
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score (iv, 11 p.) ;
    15 Pages
    Height: 39 cm
  • Language Information
  • Language of libretto: Tuvinian
  • Additional Information:
  • For male voice, male overtone singing, bassoon, banjo, and piano.

    Dedicated to Matthew Masotti, a guy with a full, rich overtone spectrum.

    Everyone reads from the score.

    Contains notation and performance instructions.

    Photocopy; master of score in CMC Toronto.
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Available Products for this piece:

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Tannu Tuva Music for Male Voice, Male Overtone Singing, Bassoon, Banjo and Piano.: Score
Score
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Tannu tuva music for male voice, male overtone singing, bassoon, banjo and piano. by Brian Current (Score)
Printed on demand
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Tannu tuva music for male voice, male overtone singing, bassoon, banjo and piano.
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