Aria is a movement for choir of nervous aliens who try to play a lost fragment attributed to Saint-Saëns. Considering how they have never heard this music, each creature reads a guideline from a different historical period to inform its use of vibrato and phrasing.
In Some Observations Concerning Baroque and Modern Vibrato, Frederick Kent Gable outlines some kinds of differences in vibrato that these aliens may have come by: “The ‘plaine note’ begins thinly and softly, thickens, and becomes louder in the middle, perhaps including a slight ‘natural’ vibrato, and then terminates as it began. The ‘waived note; begins as the ‘plaine note,’ but as it becomes louder in the middle it smoothly and noticeably wavers in pitch and continues wavering until it ends. The ‘trillo note,’ or normal trill, begins the same and then precisely alternates between a definite upper pitch and the main note, while slightly accelerating and dying away.” The result is an amalgamation of different unisons within a hint of the 19th century. Thank you to Justine Aronson, Nave Graham, Josh Graham, Jeff Stern, Hope Wilk, Sonya Belaya, Soo Yeon Lyuh, Kate Outterbridge, Lena Vidulich, Kieran Welch, and Nick Photinos.