Communauté électroacoustique canadienne
Canadian Electroacoustic Community
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Works » By Title » P » Planxty Bowerbird (8:15 / 1985)

Anne LeBaron

for harp and tape

The word ‘Planxty’ means ‘homage to’ and was frequently used by Irish harpers in the titles of music they created for patrons. “Planxty Bowerbird”, in the form of a fantasia for electronic tape and harp, was inspired by the mating rituals of the bowerbird. The male, known for his colorful plumage, is unique in his utilization of ferns, sticks, pebbles, key chains, flowers, fruit, and other assorted bright objects to build exotic-looking ‘bowers’ up to eight feet high. He finishes the bower by painting with twigs or leafs stems dipped in the vivid colors of crushed fruit. Finally, attempting to lure and mate with an enthralled female, the male displays his briliant orange crest, often holding a bright blue fruit in his bill for contrast, and utters a strange variety of calls. The fanciest bowers are built by the males with the dullest plumage. During the past fifteen years, my activities as a performer include the development of a number of unorthodox techniques, several of which are used in “Planxty Bowerbird”—bowing, creating combination tones with clips, and pitch bending. One unusual type of bowing called for in the score is done with a metal spring; it functions as a textured bow, producing timbres similiar to those on the tape as well as eliciting discrete pitches. The tape was realized on a Buchla 200 Series synthesizer at the State University of New York/Stony Brook Electronic Music Studios. ALB

  • Studio: State University of New York/Stony Brook Electronic Music Studios (NY, USA)

Radio CAP: Planxty Bowerbird

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