Referencing Riley's original 53 short melodic fragments, recorded bird sounds are composed into the phrases to create an unexpected cacophony of chirps, whistles, and hoots. As the conductor, users add different birds to the orchestra and advance each of them through the phrases. Graphic representations of the phrases allow users without knowledge of typical music notation to associate the auditory relationship with what they see, thus learning while performing the piece.
The original score for “In C” consists of short melodic phrases without chords or harmonies. Yet through it's performance, the individual phrases and patterns overlap, creating a layered texturing of sounds. Reinterpreting this dense sound, “Birds in C” instead manipulated bird songs.
Various iterations considered different ways visual information and animation could help users make sense of the unfamiliar sounds and compose the piece. The challenge lay in indicating what sounds were currently being played and how they might combine with futurensounds.
The project introduces a new form of graphic notation to represent the musical phrases. The representation allows users with no prior musical background to visually associate the graphic peaks and valleys with the auditory change in tone. Furthermore, the transformation of individual notes into a monolithic phrase-figure emphasizes the composition of overlaping phrases rather than individual performance.
A ‘live’ notation timeline represents the current state of play, overlaying all birds together. Below, the next phrases in sequence for shown individually for each bird. By seeing the potential outcome in the context of what is currently being played, the user is able to visually anticipate the auditory outcome of their choice of when to advance a bird.
Visit the live site to play the chirps, hoots and whistles of owls, sparrows, and other birds