Sound Philosophy

by Harald Nickoll

A cappella vocals (singing without instruments) have the advantage that you can turn your back on the intonation system of the so-called “well-tempered tuning” (whose name sounds more beautiful than it itself is) and turn to the “pure tuning”.

This allows singing in the natural sound, including the natural overtones.

This results in a different basic principle with regard to intonation. The possibility to intonate octaves or fifths absolutely “pure” opens up a wider sound spectrum. The different treatment of the whole step and semitone intervals, for example, also changes the gravitational force in the sound and reduces the risk of falling or rising. The differentiation of the interval sizes must also be taken into account beyond the semitone limit (in the microtonal range). While the intonation differences can account for one-fifth of a semitone in the thirds, the differences of the other intervals can only be perceived as nuance. A sound colour design based on the overtone system simplifies sound transport and improves the robustness. The overtone spectrum in the very high frequency ranges (where single tones can no longer be differentiated) contributes significantly to the luminosity and brilliance of the sound. The tuning of the vocal oscillation patterns of the individual voices ensures the sound density.

In this way of intonation, the tonal relationships and changes in harmony become clearer, the dissonances become more pronounced and the alternation of tension and relaxation is more intense.

Carmina Mundi is an ensemble dedicated to this natural phenomenon. A special vocal training aimed at this has gradually led to the current sound image. This listening-oriented choir singing enables the singers to have a more intensive communication experience within the sound.

I am happy to lead a choir that greatly shares this sound vision with me.