Peter Batchelor: composer, sound designer

Reel

for stereo tape | December 1997, 13'00

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NOTES

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Using the uillean (Irish) bagpipe as its principal sound source, this piece was composed with a view to capturing something of the energy and intensity that characterises the traditional Irish reel. Such an 'upbeat' quality is achieved in this genre not least by the upbeat itself (the anacrusis being essential to its iambic rhythmic structure) and the preparatory gesture that opens the piece thus becomes an important feature throughout.
While a lively disposition prevails, reference is also made to other, more melancholy folk genres - in particular to the air and lament - in the latter half of the piece. At such times, the pipe sonorities are at their closest to their raw form; the sounds tend otherwise to be heavily processed and largely unrecognisable. Nonetheless, the essential quality of the instrument remains, as does the manner of its performance - particularly in the ever-present drone which underlies the intricacies of the surface material.

Reel was conceived at the University of Wales Bangor during the summer of 1997 and completed at the University of Birmingham. Grateful acknowledgements go in particular to Keith Powell who kindly provided the source material and who thereafter graciously allowed me to savage it completely.

 

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