It’s been a while

As with all blogs, this one fell by the wayside a little bit as the year came to a close. What a great few months though, we had some brilliant workshops with the GSA choir and the Glad Cafe choir, trying out ideas for the scores and seeing what worked and what didn’t.

It’s been a really rewarding experience making work in this way, collaborating with choirs and having them feed back into the way the work develops.

I had a conversation with an artist Mikhail Karikis recently who makes work in a similar way. Have a look at his brilliant film Sounds from Beneath to see what you think.

Just for fun

This has hardly anything at all to do with accents. Other than the fact you can see a few examples of musical accents in the video. Still, it’s worth posting…


The Radio 4 accent

Rory, one of the musical directors of the Glad Cafe community choir put me on to this really good documentary about how we accents are used in our society.

Definitely worth a listen, and can’t wait to meet up with the Glad Cafe choir in October to workshop some of our scores!

Infinite Monkey Cage

The Infinite Monkey Cage, a podcast by Dr. Brian Cox, did a really interesting episode on the human voice the other week

Good listening for our project…

Pauline Oliveros

“What’s delicious is when those beats start, it’s really beautiful. We’ll at least it is for me, I like it a lot.”

Pauline Oliveros was, for me, one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. Her sonic meditations and thoughts on deep listening are central to my understanding of the way sounds, images and people relate. She unfortunately died in 2016, but left a legacy of music that was all about “community, the social power of sound, an extended recognition of its sources, and its deconstruction of hierarchy.”

Not only that but I think she was a deeply inspirational character as well.

Our workshops will usually start with one of her sonic meditations as they are a brilliant way to tune with each other, to listen and sound together.

Accents in Music

This is a great wee video by Howard Goodall from 2006 on what accents in music do. Not only because the whole thing seems to have been filmed in some kind of abandoned Victorian hospital/swimming pool, but because we can hear how it’s used in different musical styles too.

Alentejo, Alentejo

Really enjoyed watching this beautiful film by Sérgio Tréfaut, Alentejo, Alentejo, about a Portuguese choral tradition – Cante.


There’s also another short doc made for UNESCO with a bit more information by the same director.


What is our accent?


Everyone has one, and they’re all slightly different. We change them constantly, sometimes consciously but often not. They’re part of how we identify with each other and how we show other people who we want to be identified with.

I change mine all the time, I remember my mum doing it when she answered the phone when I was little, my wife does it when she talks with her mum and Gran. I have a “teaching voice” that I use when lecturing, so that when people don’t understand what I’m talking about at least I know it wasn’t my accent that got in the way.

So what is my accent? What is your accent? And are importantly, what is our accent?

That’s what I’m hoping to find out. Accents have as much to do with listening as they do with speaking, which is why I want this project to start with lots of workshops where we listen to our accents and the stories that they tell.


A woman goes to the dentist and settles down in the chair.

“Comfy?” asks the dentist.

“Govan,” she replies.

Setting off

Accents is underway!

Richy has taken up residence at a wee desk in Tramway’s office, learning about the music making work going on across the city and beginning to devise workshops exploring accents as musical material.