The yellow garbage truck loudly plays Beethoven’s “For Elise” with a synthetic sound when driving around the island and collecting the garbage. The function of this melody is well established since decades in the whole of Taiwan, signaling that everybody should bring their trash to the street. Nevertheless Beethoven’s melody feels very much to be in the wrong place for many people on Lanyu as well as for us artistic researchers. Therefore the idea of composing an alternative song/melody, which is closer to Taos taste, came up.  




Artistic Strategy:

When composing the melody my basic idea was to start with something very similar to the beginning of Beethoven’s melody (measure 1-2 as well as measure 5-6), since the (social) function of the song should remain the same and be understood without much explanation. Nevertheless I modified Beethoven’s beginning into an (almost) pentatonic version. Measures 3 and 4 are quoting one of the love song l melodies from the Tao repertoire. Measures 7 and 8 – where the text gets rather serious – are slightly connected to the Tao’s Anood melody style, although in order to suit to the rest of the song, the relation to Anood was kept barely noticeable. In order to keep the song stylistically coherent, I did not use microtones nor the typical Anood ornamentations in this section.

Even the connection between the beginning of the song and Beethoven’s “For Elise” is probably not obvious for listeners unless they are explicitly pointed at it. The last two bars are again connected to the love song melody and provide an open end for endless repetitions.

As far as I know, there are realistic chances, that this song could be “officially” implemented into the garbage truck’s sound system on Lanyu. Interestingly another initiative by a elementory school teacher on Lanyu island, who created another garbage truck song for/with his pupils, shows, that the idea might absolutely make sense for the Tao.







Garbage Truck Song – 垃圾車改編曲

Text of the song 


Tao language:

Ponso namen o mavie a lalitan
manakawi o minanomana tamek
lidanan da no minakem a tao
mavonong du picavano vano vana
tayakmai mazngan a voawan
ili namen na jidanaganai
lolit na du ponso da du malaod,
oyama peni karaeraet siya
akma tarani mikasaso nakem
mamzatdu ponso ta du kalian.












On this island male ancestors came from a stone,
on this island women came from bamboo long ago.
all together we are the Tao of today.
sharing our live in six villages here,
precious are the people here, as dear as gold.
villages were clean and never full of dirt.
sticky waste of modern life - imported from outside -
should not be discarded, where it can do harm.
all should work together, let's do it, everyone!
help us to save our island here!

Another Garbage Truck Song by Tzu Yu Yen (school project on Lanyu island)