Great Spirit Song
Composed by Lydia Ayers
For Treble Choir, Native American Flute and Recorded Soundscape
Published by Lydia Ayers
Great Spirit Song, for treble choir, Native American flute and recorded computer music soundscape, is an invocation to the Great Spirit inspired by the culture of the Native American people. The choir sings a two-part adaptation of the text “Great Life-Giving-Spirit.” Interludes between the text sections include Yeibichai-inspired pow-wow changing in interlocking antiphonal rhythms. The pow-wow drum functions as the heartbeat of the piece. The recorded soundscape includes synthesized voices of ghost ancestors and Native American flutes created with Csound along with sampled natural sounds, such as birds and wind.
The piece is in five parts using the traditional minor pentatonic scales come from the four Native American flutes. Part 1 celebrates the North with Eskimo throat singing along with northern birds and animals such as wolves, whales, and polar bears. Part 2 celebrates the East, the direction of the sunrise. Part 3 celebrates the warm winds from the South, and features a ceramic imitations of an eagle bone flute. Part 4 celebrates the sunset in the West, as the flute merges with the mournful cry of the coyote. The soundscape also include rattlesnakes and ghost horses against the afterglow of synthesized Native American flutes in the background. As Part 5 celebrates the Earth and Sky, with eagles and fragments of the other sections, we may imagine that we have entered the Native American dreamtime, where we can travel in several places at once without physical limitations.
This piece may be performed in several versions. The original version is performed by treble choir and Native American flute. The CD contains alternative practice versions for the choir and for the flute. There are also notes about the unaccompanied Choir Version, unaccompanied Flute Version, notes about the Flute Part, and stage set-up. This piece was commissioned by The Hong Kong Composers' Guild for St. Stephen's College Preparatory School Senior Choir.