March of the Angry Sparrows: New Electronic Music

Maria Shesiuk

This composition began on an unusually warm September evening in a courtyard of Peabody Conservatory. The practice room windows facing the courtyard were open. Sounds of students practicing classical piano drifted through the air, competing for space with the sounds of rush hour traffic. The music, combined with the stench of car exhaust and the intoxicating bouquet of fried food from local restaurants, stirred up memories of my childhood in the music school I attended in Lviv, Ukraine.

I felt particularly inspired that evening after attending a very stimulating lecture on the subject of blending environmental sounds into music compositions. As I sat down in the courtyard I was also struck by the sudden intensity of the birds chirping in trees. It sounded like there were hundreds of them screaming, arguing, and debating with each other. The heavy aroma of modern “convenience” mixed with the chorus of sparrows and music written prior to the industrial revolution took my imagination into a strange daydream. I pictured sparrows gathering by the thousands, marching in the sky with tiny machine guns, and plotting a

revolt against humanity to save the planet. I recorded the birds on my smartphone, and this recording was utilized throughout this composition. Ironically, the Moog synthesizers sound so much like those birds that it is often difficult to differentiate between the machine and the birds in this piece.