Thanks for your interest in Twitter Symphony Hummingbird!!
Why call it "Hummingbird"?
Firstly, Twitter is "birdy". Secondly, a hummingbird is delicate and beautiful creature, which conveys the fragile state of the arts in the US and other parts of the world. A hummingbird is also a metaphor for the fragility of children.
Ultimately, this project's goal is to help heal the arts through helping kids find community and healing through expression in the arts.
My hope is that creative people will give it a unique shared expression, a unified field of artistic and compassionate ideas. Hummingbird will evolve as it gets going, to be sure. That's the whole point, isn't it; to create through interaction and collaboration?
I propose a 5 movement collaborative symphony written by a group of willing composers (or amateur composers such as myself), inspired by bird calls
The bird calls are suggested "germs" to give the inspiration a common source of material. Any theme, or scale, or rhythm can be harvested from those samples and used in the symphony.
Here are 18 samples total. I have included the original 5 songs I posted a few weeks ago. Some of them are hauntingly beautiful slowed down. In some of them sound like Humpback whales songs. (The ones near the end)
Carolina Wren (Young Male)-sixteenth-speed-
Eastern Wood-pewee (Dawn Song)-sixteenth-speed-
Wood Thrush (Male Two, Quarter Speed)-
Winter Wren (Japan)-sixteenth-speed-
Winter Wren (Eastern & Western, One-sixth Speed)-
Black-capped Chickadee (Hey-sweetie)-
Marsh Wren (Eastern & Western, Slower Speeds)-
Fox Sparrow (2 Variants)-quarter-speed-
American Robin (Liquid Carols & hisselly)-quarter-speed-
White Throated Sparrow-
White Crowned Sparrow-
As for what you can specifically do, listen to the bird songs and pick what interests you from the structure listed above and offer some music to the process, a fugal theme, a chaconne variation, a chorale, a rondo variation on the third movement melodies from the Mozart clarinet concerto.
(To hear some bird songs slowed down, go to THIS post and listen. Perhaps you'll be inspired to write some music and contribute!)
Below are some basic ideas for musical concept, structure, instrumentation, lyrics and most of all, how to connect a panoply of creative ideas into a meaningful whole!
Structural Concept – A collaborative symphony in five parts:
1. Innocence- Chaconne
2. Community- Fugue
3. Lullaby- Choral w Solo Voice
4. Anthem- Rock Song (with orchestra)
5. Games- Rondo Variations
The method of actual composition will be completely democratic. However, in order to give the symphony a cohesive structure I propose the following:
1 Innocence (Chaconne)- I have written the Chaconne based on the Carolina Chickadee song. The bass line is secure, although I may edit the harmonies. That is the end of my creative input for now. You can take it where ever you wish. Each variation will be written by a different composer. 15 minutes +-
2 Community (Fugue)-- will be an Allegro “relay” based on 3 themes (submitted and democratically chosen); “compassion” “patience” and “faith” , each of which or all may be developed into a 32 bar or some semblance. Each composer contributing would pick up where the last composer let off. Relay order of composer will be picked by random lottery, to include some chance elements. 10 minutes +-
3 Lullaby (Choral w Solo Voice)- will be just that. The instrumentation will be for concert band (with optional strings), and will feature local Youth Orchestra/Band groups. Submissions for lyrics and one or two melodies will be chosen democratically and developed cooperatively by several willing composers. 10 minutes +-
4 Anthem (Rock Song with orchestra)- will feature a star rock band (my hope is that Wilco will be interested!) This movement will also have some orchestral and/or Gospel Choir (or any chorus) accompaniment. 10 minutes+-
5 Games (Rondo and Variations)- Based on the Scherzo themes (all of them) of the Mozart Clarinet concerto K 622 3rd movement, it will be in 6/8 Rondo, with each return to rondo as a harmonic variation (new composer) on the first theme in 6/8. This movement could feature open jazz sections inspired by the scherzo themes.
The orchestration will be modest sized – early romantic orchestra (as defined HERE) to allow performances by smaller orchestras (like my own Columbus Symphony).
Musical submissions can be compiled and voted on by the public. The voting results will not be used to exclude, but will help to narrow the choices if the work becomes too long. Who knows it may end up a really short symphony! I hope not.
I propose one person be elected “chief” technical coordinator (coordinating the logistics of instrumentation, transitions, order of joining of parts, etc). This person would of course require ample knowledge and experience in orchestration and harmonic or stylistic continuity. If you are interested, please let me know. It would be a lot of work. And I will make arrangements to find funding for such a task.
The Idea Behind the Twitter Symphony
Note: if you don't use Twitter, you can still contribute your ideas and your work. You can also follow the conversation about the project (without contributing) on Twitter by searching the word #TwitSym.
The piece would be dedicated to enhancing music education for inner-city kids, to help engage and connect them in expressive way, ultimately helping them survive the difficult circumstances they were born into.
My thinking was led in this direction by several factors. As a performing musician, I am experiencing first hand the radical changes sweeping the arts world. With funding drying up and private support turning to more humanitarian causes, professional performers are being squeezed to adapt.
In the video below, arts manager Ben Cameron paints a clear picture of the radical "reformation" shaking the long established traditions of classical music. The advent of infinite and cheap access to virtually any piece of music via the Internet has forced the old model of buying a ticket and driving somewhere to see a live concert to adapt.
Mr. Cameron suggests that the arts become more viable as healing act to benefit others. He urges arts organizations to rethink their value in terms of public connections rather than separation. Audiences are less and less willing to simply be passive admirers and instead wish to be engaged and to participate.
The healing and socializing nature of playing music has been developed brilliantly in Venezuela through El Sistema, an innovative way to help poor kids find engagement and expression through music. El Sistema is also being implemented in the United States, with good success.
Using Kickstarter to publicize a fund raising campaign, I propose the collaborative symphony be dedicated to improving music education for inner-city kids in the US. All work on the piece will be donated to that cause.
Let me know if you are interested.