“When I do the roar, it helps me get stronger, it brings the accordion closer to my body and it reduces the separation between the instrument and the self.”

The roar is what Sophie Aupied calls the specific moment when she uses her voice to connect with the accordion to release her negative energy. The voice is so finely tuned with the instrument that it blends in with the accordion tone, creating a unified texture barely perceivable as individual sound sources.

roar is a piece developed through a research process, as part of the Accordion Workshop at International Musical Institute Darmstadt where I set out to understand Sophie, what is specific to her as a musician and what her connection with her instrument is. During this, she showed me the roar. I explored the triggers and stimuli that help Sophie become emotionally charged and release the roar. Tailored specifically to her, the piece is presented as a performance in which the composer is making opposing demands from the musician. Her inward meditative journey is disrupted by musical directions shouted at her during the performance that are paradoxically helping her charge emotionally. Sophie’s resistance to these instructions is what brings her towards the moment of ultimate connection with the instrument when she produces the Roar.

Instructions for composers

1. Find what is specific to the musician you’re working with in the way they are connecting with their instrument

2. Challenge them and explore a range but also make them feel comfortable to share personal things

3. Settle on one or more particularities that directly relate to the musician

4. Explore a structure that incorporates this particularity and create a palette that you can work with

5. Trial external stimuli that can affect this particularity – this can be anything from music, visuals, fabric, smell, physical exercise, a reproduction of a particular situation that is emotionally charged, location, lighting

6. Remove the stimuli that don’t work and always listen to the musician and understand what they feel works – let this inform your choices

7. Once the right context/situation/stimulus is found, incorporate this in the piece.

8. Aim to get the best out of your performer/performance based on what you’ve found out about them.

9. If necessary, perform alongside them.