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The BirdSongSessions. Alive & Blended.

20-24 September 2021, and beyond…

The making of a piece including the concept of sound scores.

For the Bird Song Sessions, the inspiration and most of the sound materials are coming from field recordings in nature. For centuries the arts were interested in the non-human expressions around or communication and phenomena that we faintly or hardly understand. Think of Paul Demarinis who once said: “Music is sound to my ears” and you will laugh about the non-sensical and clueless explanation dictionaries give for 'Sound Score': “A musical score that consists of sounds rather than traditional music”.

What the hack is a sound score?
A score is a specific musical piece or incidental music that accompanies a scene or moment… A score is usually written down (from 1 line to an encyclopedia-size document full of instructions, signs and calculations). So a sound score is a soundfile you can use as a background guide for singing or playing another instrument. Nothing more than that. Oh yes, better not let your soundscore be heard in the end-mix. After all it is only a score.

The sound scores below will give you an indication of discrete and continuous time, pitches and amplitudes, complexities and silences, some combinatory ideas, etc. in the form of sounds you can listen to, sing/play along with or counter, imitate or enrich… The expressivity and performativity aims at providing a realtime interpretation of the sound score.
But the most important thing is to listen, be inspired, and sing or play along. Become natural and free, engaged in contageous chorusing, emotional and non-linear, noisy, … like a bird?

The method = now 100% online. But if you want it do it differently...

As a preparation, but not necessary at all… Listen to the track, open your mouth or pick an instrument. Listen till the end and as many times as you feel is comfortable or needed.

Use headphones and your usb-soundcard of choice, start up Sonobus, configure it. Find some friends to join you, give them time to prepare a little too. Sonobus may be limited to 3-4 peer-2-peer musicians, depending on topology and connections. Set the recording to (1) Full mix, (2) Yourself and (3) Each Connected User. Then simply hit the button to record, play/share the sound score and let all join in!
Please send the result to

Some warnings:

  • perhaps start with the shorter scores (they are 1-3-6-10 mins)
  • give yourself time to get accustomed with the overlapping sounds
  • concentrate on specific sounds and rhythms in the score
  • identify for yourself the types of sound, pitches and noises in the back
  • adjust how you want to sing or play, the character of your instrument, don't impose yourself or your artistic history
  • for the recordings, take care of the timings, first start the recording and then the soundscore (otherwise it is too hard to combine with other groups' recordings)

You can do this as many times as you please, with the same or promiscuously with other people, or with pets plants water wind stones wild animals. No silence allowed, unless there is a technical problem!

The final pieces

These little groups, live sessions, or bedroom recordings form an expandable piece, inspired by nature, and will be at one stage combined into an open-ended whole (is a hole?). The resulting at hoc band could be called Harmonia Ruina or The-Far-From-Equilibrium-Choir?

Some inspiration

The BirdSongSessions Sound Scores

Below are the several sound scores (sndskrz).
They are provided in .ogg format.
Ask for .WAV versions if needed.

ogg format, 2 channels, 06 mins
ogg format, 2 channels, 03 mins
ogg format, 2 channels, 01 min
ogg format, 2 channels, 10 mins
ogg format, 2 channels, 10 mins

The BirdSong Sessions

We were using field recordings of morning and evening concerts of birds, done over summer. By listening to these non-human birdmade compositions and joining in, our usual concepts of playing music alone/together got easily changed, inspired by the different rhythmical and timbral nature of birdsongs. Most of the participants played in a different way than they usually do.

ogg format, 2 channels, 32:57 mins
ogg format, 2 channels, 30:33 mins
ogg format, 2 channels, 10:23 mins

The next Marching Arts Fanfarý (at Next Festival Bratislava) with Ataxik-Gaits


For The Next Festival in Bratislava, which had to happen completely online due to the lockdown situation in SK, we assembled everything around the idea of a band. It looked like we were somewhere together, but actually we were playing at home or in the studio, and were only together as 3D avatars in the virtual Next Festival environment.

As an exercise in embodied music, we revived the good old concept of the fanfare/marching band/fanfáry/harsonaszó (?): playing while walking, presumably outdoors. Any small handheld objects that produce sound could do: battery operated electronics, resonating objects, your voice,… We used some megaphones and small amplifiers, but all wearable, like the sensors in the soles of our comfortable shoes. The advice to the musicians was clear. Preferred walking speed: about 2.0 metres per second (7.2 km/h or 2m/s) modulated by time to destination, motivation, and metabolic efficiency. Let’s move! And the audience walked along, in 3D as well and on the screens.

The Rehearsal, ogg format, 2 channels, 12:55 mins
The performance, ogg format, 2 channels, 27:19 mins

The Movie, mp4 format, 32:08 mins

birdsongsessions.txt · Last modified: 2022/02/08 09:31 by givanbela