Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer 3: Sparrow-Chickadee Sandwich

June 24-26, 2011

All weekend the birds outside the music studio were distracting me from my work at hand .. especially that house finch which I have yet to transcribe! I was trying to focus on the recordings and birds from Aullwood, but it was maddening to hear so many birds outside at the same time.

At one point on Friday I ran out of the studio because I thought I heard a cool new bird outside. However, by the time I got out there, all that was left were the usual sparrows:

Saturday morning I made an excursion to Woodland Cemetery, where I heard the four-note call of the Carolina Chickadee that Tom Hissong had told me about. Here are two different birds going at it!

Chickadee #2 on his own:

The rest of the day was focused on getting sounds, ideas, and transcriptions together for the dancers for Translations, who would meet Sunday for the first time. I pulled a late nighter for the first time in a long while, and felt like an earnest college student when I left the music studio at 1am. I guess I don't usually have access to spaces where I can play and make music that late into the night!

I was pretty happy with my sound samples (mimics of birdsong evolving into musical phrases), especially the Carolina Wren and the Wood Thrush. These are two birds  I've recorded in the entrance area of Aullwood Garden, and they have great songs.

The Carolina Wren I tried to slow down by the "heart rate" principle, bringing the tempo (and thus pitch) more in relation with human heart rate:

The Wood Thrush is an amazing songster, I get to play double-stops (two pitches at the same time) to try to match the original bird:

The two birds fit nicely together, which is good since these two will eventually come together in one "super-pod" during the performance:

Today, Sunday, I did some final transcriptions and recordings for the rehearsal with dancers. It's a sparrow-chickadee-sparrow sandwich this weekend, as I ended up grabbing this recording of house sparrows during my lunch break. Am I crazy because I've been in intense birdsong mode, or are these birds jamming in a delightfully incidental way?


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