Why SongStream?

In 2006 as I approached the end of my 3-year term as Historical Musician in Residence at the Wighton Heritage Centre, Dundee, I thought about two problems. How best to leave a lasting legacy of the work of the Residency, and how to communicate, in a richer way than live events often allow, with the wide and diverse community around me.

Here are my thoughts from the Edinburgh launch of the first SongStream, Blowing Nordland’s Trumpet!

Only connect!

‘As a singer I work with two ‘musics’ – the music of the written score and the music of the text. Sound, language, meaning, and colour are my world. But how can I share this passion with those for whom the lyric art and the concert hall are unfamiliar things? Most of all, how can I encourage and enthuse and bring people together in new ways through my work?

sally-garden-oct04-hpdIt is a paradox of our times that we all of us live isolate in a world of increasing connectedness. Our lives are complicated, busy, and we live often at great distances from friends and family. Yet it is the gift of music, the privilege of the musician, to be able to reach out and make connection – often to make human contact in a very deep and fundamental way. Indeed, art, music and literature all thread our lives and our societies together in this way. So why not use a communication technology that is all about ‘connection’ to bind these things together and break through that isolation?

A space to think and feel

And so I set myself the challenge of developing new media as an extension of my art as a singer. The ambience of the concert hall is a special thing. Could we create a performance online – not a ‘download’ not a ‘slide show’ and not a ‘website’ but a virtual space with its own rhythm, complete in its own terms? A space to think and feel?

Developed with realisation engineer Tony Freeth, SongStream – an online stream of music, text and image - is the result’.

© Dr Sally Garden - Historical Musician in Residence, (May 2006, rev. 2010)