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 Marie Selander
- the singing professor

Karl-Erik Tallmo interviews singer Marie Selander


This summer, singer, voice teacher and composer Marie Selander and The Art Bin editor Karl-Erik Tallmo met and discussed various aspects of the human voice: song styles from different cultures and ages; folk song, rock song etc. (This was a sequel to an interview that took place sixteen years earlier, in 1980. This older article is also re-published here - but in Swedish only.)

KE: Sixteen years have passed since our last conversation. Much has happened ...

Marie: Was it in 1980? At that time, I had just started my studies at the Royal University College of Music in Stockholm.

KE: You took the voice teacher course?

Marie: I took the program for musicians, a specialized and individualized program for people with a certain amount of experience, e.g. jazz or contemporary musicians. The education was customized, and furthermore I specialized in pedagogy. My deeper studies concerned folk song techniques and non-classical song. My examination paper was about that - and you were there and listened, I remember. I played a lot of music samples. I think this was in 1982. Since then, I have lectured for the prospective voice teachers at the College of Music about various singing techniques.

KE: Did you learn what you had expected during those four years?

Marie: The education was very good. At that time they had means to finance it. In Arabic song my teacher was Abdel Rahman El-Katib [1], so at the final exams half the test consisted of classic Arabic songs. You could never raise money for that today. I studied Arabic music plus yet another hour of song with Abdel each week. And I studied African music, improvisation and ...

KE: At the previous interview I think we talked about combining different styles. Is it really possible to mix everything and be good at it, or do you have to specialize?

Marie: From a purely technical viewpoint, it is no problem, to adjust the vocal apparatus to be able to transfer from one singing style to another. The crux is merely that when one starts to listen to something and learn, one wants to dig a little deeper, so it is a question of priorities, how to use one's time. When I started to work with Arabic music, my God, I was only scratching the surface. I could sing some songs, managed quarter-tones, had some idea about various maqams [2] and such things. But that is far from being able to interpret a song and improvise .... (aiff, 4:22, 80 K)

KE: In cultures where song has that kind of status, it is often a life-time achievement to be just good enough. The other day I read about an Indian singer, who had studied song for fifty years, and at any moment now he would be ready to perform publicly...

Marie: When Arne Forsén, Erik Billander and I organized the Vocal Festival 94, two years ago, we engaged a singer from Pune, just outside of Delhi in India - Veena Sahasrabuddhe. She was about 45 years old, and at her peek now. She had sung at least four hours a day all of her life, and she felt that she had her big break-through during that last year. That is interesting, if you compare how singers are regarded in Sweden, you can't be too old, your muscles get tired and you end up with to much vibrato ...

KE: Talking of vibrato, sixteen years ago we discussed performance practice. The theories have varied much through the years about how renaissance and baroque music should be executed - with or without a folkish song ideal. What's the belief now?

Marie: When it comes to vibrato we may notice that nobody sings baroque music with vibrato today. The approach has shifted completely, sixteen years ago this was still vividly debated.

KE: What did you do after your studies at the College of Music?

Marie: In 1984 our band Vargavinter [3] dispersed, I held some courses and lectured, and I did a lot of free improvisation. I collaborated with choreographers and dancers, and later also with the composer Tomas Bjelkeborn, who works with live electro-acoustic music. I also made some programs for children together with Bengt af Klintberg, some theater productions, and I played Swedish folk music with the group "Utdansbandet" ...

KE: When we made the previous interview, you were probably best known as a folk singer ....

Marie: I had started improvising a little together with drummer Raymond Strid and guitarist Peter Söderberg, and I also collaborated with pianist Sten Sandell and sax player Johan Petri. Around -89/90 Cecilia Wennerström and I started as a duo, with voice and baritone sax. We recorded most of our improvisations, in that way we got ideas to develop further. I also participated as a singer and soloist in some of Tuomo's [4] projects, "The continents move in the night" and "Water play in the Stream".

KE: You were guest lecturer at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki 1995-96. How did that come about?

Marie: Heikki Laitinen, a folk singer who sang with, for instance, Kankaan Pelimannit during the 70's, was the one who started the folk music education program at the Sibelius Academy. That program is much more versatile than the one in Stockholm. Since he has worked a lot with improvisation, those things were naturally implemented in the Finnish musical education. I met him at a folk music seminar in Växjö in Sweden, and he asked me if I wanted to visit them as guest lecturer and work with improvisation. I was there on two occasions, everybody was very enthusiastic and we felt really free. Then, all of a sudden, they called and asked if I wanted that professorship - and of course I said no. How could I work in Helsinki! But later I accepted, it would have been very stupid not to.

KE: You commuted?

Marie: I went there for one week, stayed home for two weeks, went there two weeks, home one week ... it was rather intense.

KE: Were there workshops or lectures in theory?

Marie: When I first arrived, I wrote a one-hour long piece, commissioned by a group of six female singers called "Me naiset". They sing in a Finno-Ugrian style, which is a little like Karelian, old Kalevala singing, polyphonic, like Bulgarian song, though still different, Russian, strong, tight parts ... I had worked with them before, so they wanted me to write something for the Sibelius Academy's vocal festival "Ihmisen ääni" (The Human Voice) in October of 1995. The first few times we got together, I worked with various formal concepts, and based on those exercises I wrote a piece called "Minne läpikuultava kissa". "Minne" has a double meaning of both 'memory' and 'whereto'. "Läpikuultava kissa" means 'the transparent cat', which is a poem by Ann Jäderlund. I used a couple of her poems and set music to them, plus two texts by Pentti Saarikoski and Mia Berner. The piece was composed for six singers, and certain choreographic movements and light were included, the first part was totally unplugged, and the latter used live electronics. Everything turned out fine, and TV, radio and the press reported from the event. So I was commissioned to do another piece for a festival in August in Järvenpää just outside of Helsinki, where we used "virtual acoustics". This results in indoor acoustics outdoors, an acoustic room for the audience is built outdoors.

KE: How is that possible?

Marie: With loudspeakers. This was sound engineer Tipi Tuovinen's idea. I did a piece called "Blåst" (Wind), which was much appreciated. It was fun, I could send MIDI files to him in advance, so he could prepare for the concert. Since I am a musician who plays by ear, it is really marvellous to be able to use a computer program for composition, with sequencer as well as notation features. I am not a good piano player, and yet I can easily get ideas from my head into the computer.

KE: You are composing more and more ...

Marie: Yes, I have done some stuff together with Tuomo, a commissioned work for a choir seminar at Skinnskatteberg, a piece for children's choir, "Lesson on swallows" [5] with lyrics by Bengt af Klintberg. It is written in both a traditional and a non-traditional fashion. I am always into formal thinking, and that tendency has grown much stronger over the last few years.

KE: Isn't it difficult to write music for somebody else, since you are used to being your own interpreter?

Marie: Yes, of course, I do not conduct. And when you listen to the singers, you think, "come on then, give it your all" or "My God, this improvisation goes on forever - stop it!" You wish it were possible to control it better.

KE: But that was during the concert, I guess you gave clear directions during rehearsals?

Marie: I certainly did. But when you improvise, you're not always aware of how long time you're carrying on. I was much more strict with "Blåst" , much of it is notated, and I functioned as a sort of conductor. Otherwise it would have been too risky.

KE: The trio you sing with now, is that a fixed group?

Marie: Yes, Cissi and I were a duo at first, then things cooled off for a while, I released my CD "Voicings" and Cissi worked with other things. Then we started again and Lise-Lotte Norelius joined us on percussion. With this new component everything was much more fun all of a sudden. We rehearse regularly, and this autumn we will do a tour, "Doubled Up", with Arne Forsén and Pia Olby - we call the group S NO W, Selander, Norelius, and Wennerström that is.

KE: Describe your style!

Marie: It is our own music, with influences from world music, folk music, jazz, very rhythmical. It is very improvisational and all acoustic. Cissi has a clear jazz affiliation and Lise-Lotte works a lot with world music and different sounds.

KE: Do you think your voice has changed over the years?

(Photography © Tuuliki Holopainen)

Marie: I think my voice has reached a new height. Once I sang rather low-pitched, heavy, and I got rather tired. It is easier now to sing high notes, I seldom get tired, my voice is in good shape. Partly I think that is due to intensive work with my technique, but also because I always have searched further. "Röstfrämjandet" (appr. "The Society for the Promotion of Voice") [6] is an association of researchers, voice physicians, singers, and voice teachers, who meet once a year. Johan Sundberg at KTH (The Royal Institute of Technology) is mentor. It is great fun, because the attitude is very open. There is a two-day seminar each year, where researchers and teachers discuss various findings.

They put a magnetic microphone on my throat when I sang a kind of herding song called "kulning". (aiff, 0:19, 141 K) One could see exactly how the larynx moved. Now I have voluntered to act as guinea-pig. They will insert a fibre-optical camera through my nose, and then it will be possible to study exactly what happens when you produce a certain sound. A guy read a paper and showed us on a large video-display exactly what happened when he sang in a falsetto voice, that was amazing.

KE: This high-tech support, is this something new within voice research?

Marie: Well, earlier one could X-ray the larynx, for instance, when singers like Elin Lisslass were doing "kulning", but this was a tedious procedure. Now with ultra-sound sensors attached to your throat you can get data instantly for further computer analysis. Swedish research in this field is as far as I know quite advanced compared to the rest of the world.

KE: Isn't this research closely related to the more general phonetic research about speech and how sound is produced within the vocal apparatus?

Marie: Yes, but it is possible to reach further now with new technology. Much has been guess-work before, for instance the theory that a liberated voice yields to vibrato, but that is not at all true. In olden days they used to sing according to various temperatures, and this made it hard to hit a note exactly. Tosi [7] claimed that keyboard instruments were trash, they are impossible to intone correctly. On the other hand, with bowed instruments and in singing it is possible to intone exactly.

KE: Are you referring to well-tuning as opposed to tempering now?

Marie: You can tune, for instance, the third by many methods, this interval is actually the greatest compromise in the whole scale. A third can be tuned naturally, tempered, or pythagorean, for instance. According to Pythagoras you just add pure fifths together.[8]

This spring, I heard a lecture by KTH researcher Sten Ternström, who talked about how musicians perceive the third. There is a great difference between what they think they do and what they actually do. In a choir, for instance, you think you sing pure thirds, but that is all wrong. It depends on where the third is placed in relation to the other parts. But the third is often pure at the end of a musical piece, when a chord is allowed to fade out.

KE: Is it not a big difference to sing a chord together with others in a choir and to sing the chord as consecutive notes, as an arpeggio in a melody?

Marie: Absolutely, and I believe many intervals are colored, for instance if you have a dominant seventh leading to the tonic, it all depends on where the chord is heading, so to speak.

KE: Is it different when the melody ascends and descends too?

Marie: Yes, it is almost shocking to see how big the variations of the intervals are. "How big is a third?" was the title of Sten Ternström's lecture.

KE: A striking title!

Marie: Speaking of the Sibelius Academy again, I had both a group I improvised with, and then several individual pupils. One of them wanted to work with Kalevala songs, of which I am no expert. But this was a good thing, since my knowledge of different scales came to use. I taught a special method for analysis, to write the melody down, find where the quarter-tones are, check for patterns. I taught them to sing the names of the notes, do re mi fa, up and down, like the old Arabic way of singing, we improvised a lot ...

KE: But this is a sort of enhanced learning, I suppose. Traditionally nobody analyzed it in that way, the skills were just inherited ...

Marie: Of course, they were subject to oral tradition. These melodies are called runo melodies, and they come with a five beat rhythm. There is a huge amount of variations, and the singer improvises both the text and the melody. The question is, how is the variation accomplished? How is the phrasing done? The breathing?

KE: It must be like adopting a dialect in speech, it is not done deliberately, like in India, were you study for a master.

Marie: All this has been integrated in people's social life, everybody sang lullabyes, for instance, although some got better at it than others. Some learned to lament, everybody knew a little of that technique, but some could express everybody's grief, they were psychics and could tell things about the dead. Recently I composed a lament  (aiff, 0:36, 135 K) for a presentation I had about music in mourning.

KE: It really sounds like real crying ...

Marie: Yes, and this sobbing ... it is remarkable that laments sound exactly the same in Karelia, Hungary, Ireland. It is some kind of pentatonic scale, you start up there, then descend, and it becomes more and more like crying. It's immensely moving. I sang to an audience of high school kids in Botkyrka, outside of Stockholm, many of them came from Turkey and Kurdistan, and they were really moved. TV-people were there and asked them what they felt had been the strongest - and it was the lament, they said ... I never thought I could do it justice. I developed the lament according to traditional scales, and that typical method of applying alliteration, this is about magic.

KE: Certain kinds of music sound the same all over the world. When children tease each other for instance. Is this also a matter of the supremacy of certain intervals?

Marie: I think Ove Ronström has written a dissertation about that. Why is it "tattletale ditty" - nah nah nah nah nah nah? It seems related to the natural harmonic series, like blowing a horn. Quarts.

KE: But sometimes it is the opposite, in some cultures they nod for no and shake their heads for yes .. it is funny that a fairly abstract notion like this is regarded in the same way.

Marie: It must be related to the vocal cords and which tones they produce. The laments sound like they do because crying sounds like that. The phrase is falling melodically.

KE: What about the yoik, is it typical for the Saami people (Lapps) only?

Marie: The yoik is the music of the Saamis. Similarities can be found in many cultures, I think. Eskimos in Greenland sing with their throats in a similar way, it resembles yodeling, although they don't use the glottal stop at the same time. What is common is the pentatonic scale, which is present even in the blues.  (aiff, 0:17, 56 K)

KE: Why are pentatonics so common, do you think? On the piano it is understandable, just press the black keys, but otherwise?

Marie: Its a method to divide the scale. If I do an overtone song  (aiff, 0:43, 320 K), it is very easy to produce pentatonics, those are the tones that come first. If you listen to singing from Tuva [9], that is exactly the case. If you divide a string in different parts you easily end up with a pentatonic scale, a chromatic scale is a much more difficult step.

KE: In 1980 we discussed education, how children were not encouraged but rather discouraged to sing. Has this improved?

Marie: Children often sing on one single note, and believe that they are singing.

KE: Song has become a kind of monotonous speech with legato only ...

Marie: Yes, but with the correct training, the singing voice can be regained. This is probably also due to all the cutbacks, the system with companion teachers is abandoned, a teacher is supposed to handle everything now, which is impossible.

KE: But where this kind of training still exists, do you think the attitude has changed? Last time we talked about those dreadful song tests that were made without warning, and even without any preceding teaching.

Marie: I believe things have improved drastically here and there, where there are talented people who work with kids, who do theater and musicals. And you seldom come across the attitude that children always must sing in the highest register.

KE: What kind of vocal role models do you think children have today?

Marie: Hit music is prevalent now even among the very young. Children sing in a very nasal timbre and with too much air. That is because many have never heard voices that sound differently, they scarcely hear purely acoustic music. I do a lot of musical programs at different institutions for children, and you can immediately hear if the staff sings together with the children - then they sing with a very open voice, at other places you only hear some kind of undefinable whisper.

KE: Do kids imitate much, are they trying to sound like Robyn, for instance? [Robyn, Swedish hip hop/soul singer that made her debut 16 years old. /Editor's note.]

Marie: Of course they do, and this has probably always been the case. I am not opposed to rock and pop, but I wish there was a somewhat wider spectrum of choices. Children love to sing in different ways, they like yodeling, as soon as they have grasped that technique. They have a curiosity, the urge to explore their own voice. I never forget when I discovered my register break. I listened a lot to Alice Babs, I walked the uphill slope on my way from school and suddenly I found it - wow - that was heaven!  (aiff, 0:24, 90 K)

KE: The last time we talked about voice liberation. Was that nothing but a temporary fashion?

Marie: I think some are still working with that, for instance Eva Lagerheim or Margareta Söderberg. Lena Klarström offers courses each year in Falun - some kind of voice liberation. I believe it might be useful to discover that strength, that you actually can sing in that way, but if you do it much, you get very strained, since you sing so hard, mostly in your chest register and very little in your head register. I think you must work fully with all of your registers, in order to find your true voice.

KE: Right, it is important to find your own way of singing, your own voice. But how do you do that?

Marie: My method was to dare to play and experiment.

KE: There must be layers and layers of influences to dig through before finding your own way to express yourself?

Marie: You must find your resources, your own personal pitch range. The voice pitch depends on how long your vocal cords are and the timbre is much related to language and environment.

KE: You work with so many different singing styles - do you feel that you have found your voice?

Marie: I know where my pitch range is, where I can be relaxed. I have a trick, when I have been giving it all, I always return to a relaxed pitch, I try it out and fit into my speaking voice as smoothly as possible and check so the vocal cords are closing tightly. In that way I won't still be up there, croaking. Many rock singers have problems presenting the next song, because they can't get back to their speaking voice again. I have helped several of them learn how to adjust the pitch, to find their own keys to get back to a relaxed mode.

KE: I heard that on "James Brown Live at the Apollo". He does precisely that - but too much, so the audience can't hear him. He explains how much they mean to him, and he doesn't get any response, and finally he realizes that he has lowered his voice too much, so he repeats it again louder.

Marie: He usually enters his full voice immediately, he works so hard. It is understandable that he must lower his voice to get into speech again.

KE: All this about finding your own pitch, that girls don't have to sing like little angels - is the speaking voice a good starting point, do you think, when it comes to finding your personal pitch range?

Marie: Yes, I think so, it is very important to find your speech pitch, if your vocal cords are long, this means you also have a low voice. I have a low voice, and I must be very careful with my students so I don't try to turn them into me.

KE: Do you accept private pupils now?

Marie: I do, when I have the time. It may be someone who wants help with their artistic expression only, in order to grow as artist, or people who want me to improve their technique.

KE: It is not unusual today to hear women sing in a rather low register.

Marie: The female voice in general has become lower in register now. Many female singers use a powerful low voice. I remember when Anita Lindblom appeared - wow, such power!

KE: And Brita Borg - or Zarah Leander of course ...

Marie: ... but Zarah Leander had a higher voice from the start, but she wanted to get darker. She worked hard to get down ...

KE: How strange, I wonder why she wanted that ...

Marie: Power! The prima donna with a full voice.

KE: I have seen articles lately about hoarseness among children, and I also read something about that in this booklet from KTH [10] Is this a typical phenomenon that children are hoarse?

Marie: Yes, it has been established that children are much more hoarse nowadays than before, that is also one reason why the "Röstfrämjandet" was founded. Teachers from the music classes of the Adolf Fredrik School in Stockholm drew attention to the fact that the voice quality had decreased. Boys are more hoarse than girls, according to a recent investigation. Especially boys in big citities are hoarse, they yell more, and it is easy to guess why: noisier environment, bigger classes, they strain their voices more, get tired easier and end up with a chronic imflammation of the vocal cords.

KE: Is hoarseness always due to inflammation? Think of different sound ideals, how singing was more ["strävare" - grating? rasping? harsh] a couple of hundred years ago and in other cultures. Couldn't it be another ideal?

Marie: But we're talking about children, I think they are to young to be influenced by some ideal. Stress makes you tense, and then you also get tired, using your voice. As a professional singer you have learned how to warm up and how to rest ...

KE: What about your courses for rock and pop singers. Is it not unusual that people in that genre take singing lessons at all?

Marie: Well, but it is very different nowadays. When I started singing pop in the 60's, it was unthinkable to take lessons, it would destroy your voice, and at that time it was probably true. Then they only taught one way of singing, the classical ideal, which has nothing to do with pop and rock singing - it is like black and white. But today you can take a course at the Kulturama, for instance, and different educational associations arrange courses too in what they call "afro song" - a stupid name for it, but still, it is a way to sing rock and pop. And they have teachers who are familiar with this ideal. It is tough to sing in that way, so you have to warm up.

KE: I saw Lisa Nilsson on TV, and she stressed how important it is for her to warm up before a concert.

Marie: This was unusual a couple of years ago, but most singers realize this now. I always advice people: if you haven't time for anything else, at least warm up before ...

KE: Will you damage your throat otherwise, or is it just because you can't hit certain notes unless you are prepared?

Marie: Both. If you are goin to run a marathon, you must be well trained and warmed up, otherwise you will get muscle ruptures and pass out along the way. Both classical and rock singers are actually accomplishing a sort of sports performance at top level [hm, Henrik, originalet har "ägnar sig ju åt en sorts elitidrottspretationer"] , to sing in an environment where you often cannot even hear yourself. To hit a high note, you must be warmed up, or else you will never get there, and your voice will crackle.

As a voice teacher you must have an intimate knowledge about your genre, it is not just about technique, but also about finding a way artistically. When I lectured at the "Röstframjandet" seminar in Gothenburg last year, I played a tape with examples of many kinds of rock singing, just to show that there is more than one type, there is punk, heavy metal, mainstream pop, or rap and hiphop - the differences are enormous.

KE: You don't sing rap and hiphop, it is usually scansion.

Marie: Sure, it is usually speech, Afro-American ... it is interesting that all of a sudden, the chords have disappeared. Since the 50's with Tommy Steele and later the Beatles and so on, there has always been rather fixed chord progressions, but rap, for instance, is built around a rhythm, even if you can discern Afro-American scales. And then this sampling of some old phrase from a soul record from the 60's, they lay it out as an ostinato or a riff, and the tune is built solely around that. This is an entirely new way to work.

KE: The collage has entered music.

Marie: Right, and this is very close to what the Last Poets were doing .. it is funny, when I have been away talking about rap and such things, once I met some Somalian boys. They didn't search for their musical roots in Somalia, it was all baseball caps and hiphop. When I asked them if they saw any similarities between that and their Somalian culture, they just answered "Nah!". But somewhere there is a similarity, even if they can't hear it. It is really rather obviously African, this rapid speech, that you can hear also in Mali or among the griots i West Africa ...

KE: Have you noticed that the speaking voice has become a sort of ideal in another way too. Some male rock singers, for instance Shane MacGowan in the Pogues, Stuart Staples in the Tindersticks or Gavin Friday, they all sing very low, both in register and in volume, rasping and half parlando.

Marie: It's a way of using the microphone ...

KE: Being very close to the mike is necessary for that.

Marie: One of the first who did that deliberately was Bing Crosby. He had a special microphone which amplified the low register, Gunnar Wiklund also used that technique. [G. Wiklund, Swedish baritone ballad singer, popular in the 50's and early 60's. /Editor's note.]

KE (playing "Travelling Light" with the Tindersticks):  Quite a lot of singers sound like this now ...

Marie: A very slack and laid back way to sing in the low register, it's almost country, by the way, almost like Jim Reeves, low, virile, relaxed - not exactly Tom Waits! (Gavin Friday is now on the stereo)  Very emotional guys this, very near, private, in your ear ...

KE: But Shane MacGowan also sings out of tune ...

Marie: Yes, he does, but he has so much expression. He sings in the same way as Luke Kelly in the Dubliners did. With great passion, nerve, expression and presence. He was a superb singer, I think.

KE: Strange really that the audience likes it - false notes and all.

Marie: Yes, but there is still a huge amount of musicality involved. If you listen to the singer in the band Nordman, on the other hand, he just sounds strained and totally unmusical. I get nervous when I hear him. People like Shane MacGowan or Tom Waits have nuances, but this guy has only two modes - on and off.

One big change since our last interview is that certain folk [or "folkish"???] techniques so obviously influence pop music. Björk and Dolores O'Riordan of the Cranberries - or Caisa Stina Åkerström - they deliberately use the register break as an effect in their singing. A totally egalized voice, with the same timbre from high to low tones, is definitely not an ideal any more. Now the singers rather exploit the differences between their registers. [C S Åkerström, Swedish pop/rock singer. /Editor's note.]

KE: So, now we have pointed out both a male and a female singing trend.

Marie: Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter published an article some time ago about Björk and P. J. Harvey. "Foreign whores and Swedish virgins," about Sweden not being able to bring about any female singers that could break new ground. I wrote a letter to Dagens Nyheter because I think they missed the point. Bjork would never have gotten a contract in Sweden. But someone saw her talent and [gav henne fria händer???] In Sweden there is [en flaskhals av talangjägare]. They don't let a person through if you don't fit into a certain mould. And those who do get through, are being promoted walking some sandy beach. Those two who wrote that article believe that the artists themselves decide this. But take a look beneath this bottleneck, see what those hard rock girls do or look at the small record companies. I get irritated when people make fun of things they don't know anything about.

KE: You are rather unique, I guess, since you combine all these styles. You started out with the female pop group Nursery Rhymes in the 60's and then you have added more and more. Do you get respect from people in different camps?

Marie: Now I do. People respect me for my knowledge and for what I do. When I studied at the College of Music, they didn't deal with pop or rock. I was actually [motarbetad???] Now this is an important part of their education.

Marie has also recorded a special improvisation (Voicings II) where she uses the techniques mentioned in this article.


1. Abdel Rahman El-Katib, composer and oud player, born in Cairo, presently living in Järna, Sweden. [Back]

2. Maqam is an Arabic, modal scale, which is the basis for melodic improvisation, like the ragas of Indian music. [Back]

3. Vargavinter, Swedish group founded in 1974, with Marie Selander, vocals, guitar etc., Jörgen Adolfsson, mandola, soprano sax, Christer Bothén, clarinet, bass clarinet, dousso n'koni, Tuomo Haapala, acoustic bass, Janne Hellberg, violin, guitar bouzoki, Kjell Westling, violin, flutes, sopranino sax, bouzoki, bass clarinet. The original setting also included Hans Wiktorsson on congas. [Back]

4. Tuomo Haapala lives together with Marie Selander and has played acoustic bass with the groups Iskra and Vargavinter. He is also a composer and has written pieces for instance for the Stockholm Water Festival. His most recent album is "Vattenvirvlar" (Caprice). [Back]

5. The score of "Lesson on Swallows" is published by Warner/Chappell Music and the music is recorded on Tuomo Haapala's CD "Vattenvirvlar" (Caprice). [Back]

6. You may contact "Röstfrämjandet" through Björn Fritzell, Fågelsångsv. 22, 191 44 Sollentuna, fax +46 8-35 92 46. "Röstfrämjandet" publishes the newsletter "Röstläget" (ISSN 1103-3983). [Back]

7. Pier Francesco Tosi (1654-1732), Italian falsetto singer and voice teacher. His treaty "Opinioni de' cantori antichi e moderni" was of great importance during the bel canto era. [Back]

8. There is for example a difference between the e that results from a progression of fifth, c-g-d-a-e, and the e you get if you just add a pure third to the basic c. The difference is appr. 1/4 of a semitone. [Back]

9. Tuva, in Southern Siberia, near Mongolia, is famous for its overtone singing, which makes polyphonic solo song possible, often with a buzzing sound resembling a jew's harp. [Back]

10. Annual report from the Research group for music acoustics, 1994. (Musikakustiska forskningsgruppen, Årsrapport 1994.) [Back]

© Copyright Karl-Erik Tallmo.

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