Exhibition 8: Shadow Dancing

Shadow Dancing

for flute and power pole bells

Music by Taran Carter

performed by Caitlin Williams (flute) and Wendy Greenberg (power pole bells)
Duration: 9’24”


Composer’s notes:

Anne Norman’s innovative use of Australia’s suburban trees as a musical medium was the inspiration behind shadow dancing.

“Since 1996, Anne Norman has been collecting galvanised iron caps from the top of old electricity poles from various power company depots. These galvanised iron caps were made by the old SEC (state electricity company) to fit electricity poles made from tree trunks of varying diameters. Their function was to protect the poles from the weather and to mount insulators above the poles. These iron caps make marvelous microtonal bells and have been performed numerous times by Anne and her colleagues in Victoria and Japan and have been recorded and broadcast by the ABC. In Anne’s collection of pp caps, the diameters range from 18cm to 32cm with a pitch range of nearly two octaves from approx. 130 Hz to 440 Hz.”
(from Anne Norman’s website)

Shadow dancing, scored for flute and power pole bells, begins slow and meditatively with the flute and bells in constant dialogue. They weave around each other, occasionally finding a step together. Their interaction escalates until it becomes an increasingly more regular dance. This builds to a bold new statement of the opening three notes until we are left with only the whisper of a flute note and a repeated, unison bell tone. Within this framework the piece explores the rich resonance and harmonic diversity of the power pole bells coupled with the purity of flute harmonics. The flute’s material is largely based on the overtone series of the three notes we hear in the opening, which then relates to the dense harmonic overtones of the power pole bells.

Shadow dancing is dedicated to Caitlin Williams and was written for her post-graduate recital at the VCA in August 2003.

About the composer:

Born in 1980 Taran Carter has been writing music since he realised that to be a pop star you either had to look good, sound good or write nice tunes. He chose the latter.

Taran’s music aims to achieve a cohesive synthesis between many musical styles, most often between the popular and contemporary classical worlds. This approach has attracted performances by groups such as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Opera Australia, the Song Company, Jason Xanthoudakis and Anne Norman.

Taran has written music for film, television, theatre and in 1999 was asked to write two songs to which the Australian Synchronised Swimming Team swam at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Other highlights in Taran’s career include the sold-out premiere season of his first opera, Busking Hugs, (commissioned by Opera Australia) in October 2001 and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra commission and premiere of Moondani Music in March 2004. He has won many awards including the A.S.M.E. Victorian Young Composer’s Competition in 1998, the Art of Percussion Composition Competition in 2000, the Quip Quip Composition Competition in 2001, the Percy Grainger Composition Competition in 2002 and the Magpie Research Dance Collaboration Award in 2004.

Taran also formed the contemporary classical/pop group Tehai which has been an active part of the festival circuit in Australia. Taran is currently busy writing an educational music show, writing a saxophone work (commissioned by Jason Xanthoudakis) and promoting Tehai’s recently released debut album From the Inside-out.

Recorded for the Australia Asia Foundation’s Sonic Gallery

All sounds and texts copyright © 2005 by Taran Carter

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