Landscape with figures I

 Jet whistle horn pheasant


The jet whistle horn pheasant fragments involve mixed ensembles of short and dry sounds, half instrument and half animal. Hybrid ensembles can formed, instruments coexist with animals or 'become animal'. If instrumental uses of sounds take them out of their recognizable habitats, a focus can be shifted to a process of 'becoming' something else. How will the isolated duck in a virtual room be different from an instrument?


"Becomings-animal are neither dreams nor phantasies. They are perfectly real. But which reality is at issue here? For if becoming animal does not consist in playing animal or imitating an animal, it is clear that the human being does not "really" become an animal any more than the animal "really" becomes something else. Becoming produces nothing other than itself. (...) What is real is the becoming itself, the block of becoming, not the supposedly fixed terms through which that which becomes passes."[1]


The materials are specific outbursts from 6 groups:


  • 1: Microtonally descending phrases performed by jet whistles on flute and alto flute.
  • 2: Occasional notes performed by a pheasant flapping its wings.
  • 3: Rapid phrases of variable tessitura performed by secco sounds qualities  on flutes:
    • Slaptongue on piccolo, flute and alto flute.
    • Lip pizzicato on flute and alto flute.
    • Tongue ram on flute.
    • Key clicks on alto flute.
  • 4: Rapid phrases of variable tessitura performed by a mixed ensemble of instruments and animals,  all samples of less than a second:
    • Short duck "bark".
    • Electric sound.
    • Flute tongue ram.
    • Woodpecker.
    • Short crisp sound found through processing of glass sounds.
    • Clacking glasses.
    • Nightingale "ratchet" sound.
    • Tuba slaptongue.
    • Violin short legno battutto.
    • Bush-cricket.
  • 5: Outbursts of horn attacks, from hand stop to open. The hand movements create ascending glissandi on all notes.
  • 6: Rapid phrases of variable tessitura are performed by staccato notes on piccolo, flute and alto flute.


All sounds are transposed through melodic phrases, even though pitches of woodpecker, glass sounds, and cricket are less perceptible. Classification by pitch gets highly speculative. Subtle microtonal tuning nuances are much less effective with noise sounds than with centered pitch sounds. Still, general patterns between high and low do make a difference. A miniature bush-cricket is a different animal than a gigant bush-cricket.


In the work Les Froissements d'Ailes de Gabriel , Brian Ferneyhough associated the rustling of wings to Pauls Klee's Angelus Novus, by Walter Benjamin interpreted as the 'Angel of history', and composed a work with whirling instrumental figures.[2] These installation fragments place concrete flapping of wings into constantly varied virtual spaces. Different associations can arise with a pheasant flapping it's wings in a tiny and resonant bathroom or in a gigant cave. At certain points it could form a 'Klang-kadenz'[3] for fragments of instruments and animals.


The following scores are used to generate the fragments of short sounds, while real perception of pitch strongly depend on the sounds involved.


Jet whistle pheasant  2.























Jet whistle pheasant 8.


























Jet whistle pheasant 35.
































 Jet whistle pheasant 43.






























Jet whistle pheasant 77.



























Jet whistle pheasant 94.































[1] Deleuze, 1987, a thousand plateus, p. 238.

[2] Toop, Concerto, que me veuz-tu? Booklet text for Les Froissements d'Ailes...,p. 13.

[3] Lachenmann, 2004, Musik als existentielle Erfahrung, p. 3.