Monday Afternoons was a unique project that grew out of Contemporary Choral Work With Boys. Much of the research reported in that book is informed by the Thousand Voices database which includes a number of longitudinal studies of boys approaching and going through voice change. Four of these studies were selected for further and more detailed treatment as “interludes” in the book. The aim was to provide a detailed picture of the kind of singer that might be found in some of the choirs described in the book. Max Matthew (pp 41 – 44) was selected initially to represent a young treble, which is how he is presented in the book. However, work has continued with Max, following his career as mature treble and into voice change. Monday Afternoons is the title now given to this unusually detailed case study. Conceived initially as a purely scientific investigation, it has turned into a fully fledged artistic product consisting of a professionally produced CD, a unique narrative of how the work was done and, for release later in 2016, a 20′ film.
What makes the science perhaps uniquely valuable is the monthly sampling frequency. Important longitudinal studies such as that of Harry Hollien have sampled somewhat less often. These have revealed much of significance, but monthly sampling promises more. Serious analysis of numerous recordings and measurements is now under way and it will be some time before the work is complete. But the CD album is available now for you to enjoy!
The CD Album. The CD is an album of nineteen tracks of varying style, beautifully sung by a boy treble. Its similarity to other treble albums ends there, however. Given that the album is actually the by-product of a scientific study each track has been recorded at a different age. The aim is to show different stages in the artist’s development. A boy’s voice is not static. It is constantly changing and developing. To record an album all at one time, therefore, is to miss 90% of the story – to fail to capture the real, human essence of that transitory, magical 4% of the singing life. There are delights to be discovered at each stage of development and the listener is able to appreciate how the boy voice transforms from that of a child with a certain degree of naïve charm to that of a fully mature treble with perspicacity and style. The album retails at £8 plus postage and packing.
The Story. Download the Monday Afternoons Story here. This unusual narrative needs to be read in order fully to appreciate the album. Strange as though it may seem, and bold a claim as it is to make, just about everything reported in the academic papers and books listed on this site is somewhere in this narrative! It is hoped that readers will find the narrative enjoyable and accessible, but above all, informative. The album and narrative together are a must for all those who enjoy or want to know more about the boy treble voice.
The Film. Currently in production and to be released some tine in 2016, Interlude No. 1 will give further insights into the work with Max. Meanwhile, Interlude No 2 about William Fielding can be watched now. Why is No. 2 available before No. 1? Well, William is four years older than Max!
The Science. At least one peer reviewed paper will result from this project, but it will be some time before this is published. There is a large amount of very detailed and painstaking work to undertake on the “dry” voice recordings abstracted from the album. The story explains more about this! In the interim, I shall be publishing here periodic updates of provisional findings.