B is for Bird: A Chinese folktale for game-audio, pipa and resynthesized syrinx

Research output: Non-textual formComposition


Birdsongs have inspired humans and informed musical compositions, cultures and other art forms for centuries. This interactive music composition focuses on virtual representations of birds and nature (gardens, flowers and fruits), and how, in combination with virtual musical instruments (a four-stringed Asian lute), can provide new forms of musical expression at the intersections of interactivity, composition and storytelling.

Although composition scholars have created effective interactive virtual instruments (Hamilton and Platz “Carrillon”, 2016) and versatile virtual spatialisation tools (Dolphin “Cyclical Flow”, 2011), no musical work exists that combines such levels of interactive technology readiness, with a focus on the creative and intellectual advance of musical composition methods, informed by musical repertoire (mimicking birdsongs and forms of interaction with nature).

The research journey ineludibly starts with Messiaen's 1950's birdsong-inspired works and papers (HOLD, 1971; DEMUTH, 1960; HILL, 1994). It goes further by investigating how immersive technologies involving the Real, Virtual and Augmented (Climent, R., Pilkington, M., Mesárošová, A. , 2016) can match levels of musical expression found in related compositions. For instance, “Réveil des Oiseaux”, “Oiseaux Exotiques” and “Catalogue d'oiseaux (for piano)”; or Jonathan Harvey's “Bird Concerto with Pianosong”, often seen as successful choreographies of birdsong spectra via acoustic instruments. Furthermore, it explores how navigating the threshold between interactivity and storytelling can become a catalyst to construct form, embrace cultural meaning and to unfold the piece's sonic narrative. The storyline is informed by Master Zhuang, a 4th century BC Daoist philosopher, whose parables and folktales were often typified as a discussion between imaginary and/or real characters, as in this composition.

The syrinx interactive system is fully documented as a separate technical paper at OuvirOUver Journal; Climent, R.(2016), commission and published by Federal University of Uberlandia, Brazil.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLisbon
PublisherEditora da Universidade Federal de Uberlandia ouvirouver
Media of outputCD
Sizeca. 4 Gb
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2017

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