She Was A Visitor

“She Was A Visitor” is a vocal piece written by Robert Ashley in 1967. It is based completely on speech and is performed by one single speaker and number of singers that are divided in chorus groups. Earlier this year, I was attending a course by Nicolas Collins, where I did a recreation of this piece for a performance in the TU Berlin Electronic Studio on 12 speaker multichannel. The result is an attempt to model the chorus digitally using Max, allowing a computer to perform the piece on its own or interactively. You can download a standalone patch below.

Screenshot – She Was A Visitor

She Was A Visitor Max Patch

PERFORMING “She Was A Visitor”

  1. Start with the speaker by loading a file or click “record” to use your own input
  2. Use the “play” button (or hit the space bar) to start end end the speaker
  3. Each chorus leader will sustain a moment in time if you press the “choose” button
  4. The chorus group will follow the leader if it is switched on using the “note” button
  5. After switching a chorus group off, the sound will slowly decay
  6. The “size” parameter changes the grain size of the chorus, try it!
  7. See the README.txt for keyboard and MIDI mappings

Speakers Elias Emken and Tanja Geke were so kind to provide the speech samples that you can start with. Here is a stereo mixdown of my performance, using the German sentence “Sie liebte den Mond”:

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