“Heteroglossia” describes the coexistence of distinct varieties within a single language. In Ben Vida’s composition Heteroglossic Riot, software reads text scores, which in turn drive the synthesis of synthetic speech and abstract sound. Through the interplay and disparity between text, speech, and sound, Vida points to the idiosyncratic possibilities offered by computationally assisted translation.
The Heteroglossic Riot tracks took shape through the production of text scores created specifically to be voiced by the Speech option in MacBooks Pages software. Many virtual vocalist were auditioned and roughly a half-dozen were chosen. The scores were interpreted by each individual vocalist and this resulted in varied and unique permutations. These performances were used not only as sound materials but also as the main control source for all other synthesized sounds.Text production has been the starting point for much of the audio, video and visual work I have produced over the past few years. This includes the phonetic scores for Slipping Control and Reducing the Tempo to Zero and the librettos for Speech Acts and And So Now. And though, much like Heteroglossic Riot, those pieces started with text and morphed into synthesis, this new work is the first time that the text has been thought of as programming scripts or synthesis patches to be interpreted first and foremost through speech software.