Bernd Härpfer - Composition and Audiovisual Art


Birdsong I
electronic music (8-channel)
45 min.
Ensemble I (part 2)
Interlude (part 5)
Ensemble VI (part 8)

Birdsong II
electronic music (stereo)
52 min.
Carduelinae (part 2)
Scolopacidae (part 7)
Podicipedidae (part 11)

The Birdsong project started in 2002, inspired by the opportunity to compose 8-channel electronic music for a performance in a public park. Based on recordings of birdsong the basic operation includes three phases. First birdsong is dissolved away from its context and background and becomes subject to acoustical and musical analysis. Then it is transformed and recomposed according to complex musical criteria. Finally the outcoming singings are released back to nature. Single birdcalls are turned into elements of a polyphonic composition by their selection and alignment to certain rhythmic and tonal specifications.

Birdsong I features rhythmic recomposition and polyphonic rearrangement of birdsong which is left in its original sound. Short repetitions occur on certain conditions becoming more frequent in the course of time. Subsequent episodes thus sound more artificial than former parts (first performed in Cologne, August 30th, 2002).

Birdsong II continues with the application of techniques developed already for Birdsong I. Furthermore microstructural changes of the recordings are introduced. Birdsong pitches are analyzed and gently altered. On the occasion of a simultaneous performance with the composition CREATING REALITY (2003) by Siegfried Koepf the total time and the duration of single episodes are synchronized with Koepf's piece which implements a symmetric tuning system. While birdsong melodies undergo a periodic alteration they fit into the tuning system (first performed in Cologne, October 24th, 2005).

Birdsong I, Birdsong II and Birdsong II/CREATING REALITY can be performed as concert pieces and as sound installations.