Cacophony for B-flat Clarinet and Delay pedal


Cacophony For B-flat Clarinet and Delay Pedal invokes the sounds of many bird singing, using the colors of the Clarinet and the effects of the delay pedal. Commissioned by Chris Mothersole and recorded on his album “Feathers and Fables”.



Cacophony for B-flat Clarinet and Delay pedal

The inspiration for Cacophony comes from a large, canopied tree on my street. At dawn and dusk, the birds gather here and create an amazing cacophony of birdsong. In this work I wanted to recreate the sounds and textures of this effect by using both the lyrical and rhythmic abilities of the clarinet, but also the color opportunities that the delay pedal offers. You’ll hear a variety of birdsong, from a single bird singing just before dawn, to the back-and-forth calls of birds using the reverse delay. The digital delay creates a sense of duet and birds trying to out-sing each other.  Eventually all the birds arrive in the tree to sing, using the digital delay to create a hazy wall of sound as timbral trills break through the cacophony as individual songs of birds.

I am very grateful to Chris Mothersole for introducing me to the wonders of the delay pedal, and for commissioning, premiering, and recordingCacophony.

In one movement with sections, including the type of delay (reverb remains on throughout the piece):

  1. A single bird singing just before dawn (no delay)
  2. Sparse, open; like two birds calling to each other across a distance (Reverse Delay)
  3. Bird Duet: Competitive birds singing before dawn; like birds flying off in opposite directions, single bird sings again (Digital Delay)
  4. Hazy, like morning mist, a brightening in the sky (Digital Delay)
  5. Dawn arrives with a cacophony of song (Digital Delay)
  6. Contemplative (Reverse Delay, Digital Delay)

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