Holy Week Traditions Around the World Print
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 02 April 2007 06:33

Check out this fascinating blog Throat Singing: in Pursuit of Overtones

Robert Beahrs of Minneapolis is on a mission to witness remarkable traditions of throat singing around the world. In Sardinia, he find a wonderful Holy Week tradition:

In the sacred tradition of Castelsardo, a quartet of men from the Catholic brotherhood sing together during Holy Week in an inward-facing circle in four-part harmony, manipulating their vowels and timbre in a such a way as to create what’s called a quintina, or a virtual fifth voice soaring above, from their harmonics.

In order to enhance one specific harmonic and achieve this effect, each of the four singers uses his vowels differently when singing the liturgical chants (in a sense, each one is speaking the vowels differently from the others) And Robert includes an analysis of the technique involved.

So when the four vocalists come together to sing a chant such as Stabba during Holy Week, they each have a different way of pronouncing the text (sung in Latin): “Stabat Mater dolorosa, Juxta crucem lacrymosa” in order to support the creation of this elusive and floating quintina, or fifth voice, moving melodically above the quartet.

The Monday of Holy Week, Lunissanti, is the most important of the Easter festivals in Castelsardo which includes “la prucissioni,” a grand procession through the Citta Storico and a midnight feast.