Dirk Veulemans - Composer

1/2  Birdsong, abstracted

2/2  Birdsong, imitation

Birdsong in music

The blackbird and the nightingale are two compositions I made after listening to Baroque music in which birdsong is evoked. This set me to searching for how bird song might sound on my self-built pipe organ.

First there was my stopped attempt to make a nightingale register of the kind found on baroque organs and as I was able to see one on the church organ in Broechem. That consisted of a U-shaped metal whistle of which the open end stuck into a jar filled with water.

Birdsong and MIDI

Birds are very often included in old compositions, but it took until the middle of the last century before anyone actually notated birdsong and started working with it musically. That was Olivier Messiaen, by the way. I felt that with today's technology I had to take this a step further. That was why the idea of the nightingale register was abandoned and my research to imitate the birdsong via ( self-created) MIDI software. This worked out surprisingly well for me and natural-sounding birdsong now sounds from the pipes of my organs. A big advantage here was that I could intervene in the stream of MIDI data to create a composition with it.

The Blackbird and The Nightingale

The Blackbird became a rather abstract composition that includes silences which completely follow the rests in the blackbird's song.

In The Nightingale, which stays closer to the original song, a dialogue emerges between the realistic nightingale's song and a naive imitation created by an algorithm.

It is somewhat symbolic of dealing with our present time where algorithms and A.I. are becoming quietly ubiquitous.Artificial birdsong that used to be a sort of ode to our globe will become ersatz that we need to keep our environment livable.

laatste update: 2022.12.07

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