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Player-Piano Bird Migrations

Player Piano Bird Migrations, by Kathy Hinde are audio visual pieces for player piano and were created in collaboration with environmental scientist Dr. Lisa Thomas.

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Three migratory birds that are in decline were chosen for this series of pieces; the Lapwing, Starling and Marsh Tit. The audio-visual pieces are homages to these birds and translate these population changes into sound and image through different means of translation.

For the Lapwing and Starling, transcriptions of their songs were devised for piano, and repeated. During thre repetitions, notes started to be removed based on the statistics of the population changes of these birds. For example, starlings resident in the UK have dropped by a staggering 73% in the last 20 years. The piayed pian composition starts off very full of notes and thins out, until at the end, each note has only a 27% chance of being played. The piece of music used for the Marsh Tit was a transcription of Rameau's "Call of the Birds', and notes are removed gradually from this well known baroque, bird-inspired piano piece.

The visual element for starling piece was provided by a images of starling flocks printed directly onto the paper piano roll - the image becoming gradually paler - by 73% throughout the piece. The Lapwing and Marsh Tit performances had miniature videos projected onto the score that gradually faded out as a representation of their drop in propulation.

First perfromed at the Merlin Theatre, July 2009

player-Piano bird Migration 1
Lapwing Migration for Player-Piano, Photo: Raymond May
player-Piano bird Migration 2
Marsh Tit Migration for Player Piano, Photo: Raymond May
player-Piano bird Migration 3
Video images projected live from inside player piano