Koala Extinction

Koala Extinction

Electro-acoustic composition
by Ros Bandt


Duration: 13:08 minutes


Ros Bandt

sound sculpture

Programme Note

A disturbing world on the brink of extinction. Humans pay no heed to the science through greed and inability to distribute fairly, refusing equitable and sustainable practices at great consequences to the other species and ourselves. The delicate layers of the food chain are broken through rampant exploitation. In Australia this devastation has been achieved in only 200 years ruining the careful symbiotic landcare of first Australians. This is the audible journey of how we have dug ourselves into this abyss leaving the wails of koalas to scream the terror, drought, fires, floods, polar icemelt,  shared habitat plundering towards annihilation.


The work was composed and mixed in Reaper by the composer. Raw koala recordings provided by Tony Bayliss (AWSRG) were set in the colliding submixes of the Glacial melt, an electroacoustic sub mix from the  digitalglass forest installation. A constantly changing realtime  electronically treated 6 channel sound installation was activated by kinetic glass sound tree sculptures of suspended glass. The amplified Tarhu with delay navigated the dangerous space which fed back into itself, the human not wanting to stop constantly biting its tail.

Ros Bandt multi channel sound installation, amplified tarhu with delay performance, electroacoustic composition

all sounds, images and texts © 2020 by Ros Bandt

Commissioned by the Australia-Asian Foundation, for Sonic Gallery,  thanks to Le Tuan Hung


Khai Tâm – Spiritual Initiation

For 29-stringed Vietnamese zither đàn tranh solo

Composed and performed by Đặng Kim Hiền.

Duration: 8 minutes 16 seconds


Programme Notes:

Khai Tâm [Spiritual Initiation] is the first composition from the series of twelve works for 29-stringed đàn tranh solo entitled Music of Inner Mind composed by Đặng Kim Hiền between 2015 and 2020. The experimental 29-stringed đàn tranh used in this performance was one of various instruments designed by the composer herself. Khai Tâm and other pieces in the series Music of Inner Mind weave elements of Vietnamese traditional music and sonic capabilities of the experimental đàn tranh to create a world of musical tranquility lingering in space and time.

The music is best experienced using headphones

For more information on 29-stringed đàn tranh and Đặng Kim Hiền’s music, please visit: Project 29

Khai Tâm là bài thứ nhất trong 12 bài Tâm Nhạc do Đặng Kim Hiền sáng tác cho đàn tranh 29 dây từ năm 2015 đến năm 2020. Tâm Nhạc lưu giữ tinh hoa của dòng nhạc truyền thống và khai mở một thế giới âm thanh êm dịu cho tiếng đàn tranh Việt Nam. Mỗi khúc nhạc là một không gian riêng biệt giúp thân tâm được an tĩnh trước những biến động của cuộc đời. Khai Tâm trình bày những thủ pháp truyền thống căn bản của đàn tranh trên âm vực rộng của 29 dây đàn. Tính cách dịu nhẹ và thanh thản của hơi Xuân cũng chính là linh hồn và phong cách của toàn bộ 12 bài Tâm Nhạc. Để thưởng thức đầy đủ âm thanh trầm bổng của đàn tranh 29 dây, xin nghe qua headphones.

Để tìm hiểu thêm về đàn tranh 29 dây và các sáng tác của Đặng Kim Hiền, xin vào trang: Đề Án 29

Videos, sounds and texts © 2020 by Đặng Kim Hiền

Commissioned by the Australia Asia Foundation

The Origin of the Dan Tranh

Nguồn Gốc Đàn Tranh Việt Nam

[The Origin of the Vietnamese Zither Đàn Tranh]

by Le Tuan Hung

New edition: 5th Vietnamese language edition
ISBN: 9780958534345

Previous edition: 4th Vietnamese language edition (2020)

A research paper on the early history of the Vietnamese zither đàn tranh. Tracing the development of the đàn tranh from Southeast Asian bamboo zithers, this paper provides archaeological and historical details on its origin and how its design has influenced the development of similar zithers such as the zheng, qin and se in China since 500 BCE

Language: Vietnamese

Nguồn Gốc Đàn Tranh Việt Nam 5th edition (2021) (PDF)

Ấn bản mới: Ấn bản tiếng Việt thứ 5 (2021)
ISBN: 9780958534345

Ấn bản cũ: Ấn bản tiếng Việt thứ 4 (2020)


Tiểu luận này trình bày sự phát triển của đàn tranh Việt từ những cây đàn tre Đông Nam Á thô sơ cách đây gần 2800 năm. Những chứng liệu lịch sử và khảo cổ cho ta biết rằng đàn tranh Việt là tiền thân của đàn zheng (ngày nay hay gọi là guzheng) ở Trung Quốc. Thiết kế của Đàn tranh Việt cũng đã có những ảnh hưởng lớn đến sự phát triển của đàn cầm và sắt ở Trung Quốc từ năm 500 trước công nguyên.

Bấm vào đây để tải eBook (PDF) xuống: Nguồn Gốc Đàn Tranh Việt Nam 5th edition (2021) (PDF) (2021)


Withers of Fragrance

Withers of Fragrance

Music by Brigid Burke

Duration: 8:14

Composer’s notes:

Withers of Fragrance comprises of Javanese Gamelan samples, acoustic and electronic clarinet sound integrated resulting in a timbral, dynamic and spatial composition. A layering of pitches is obtained from the whole range of the Javanese Gamelan and clarinets through a multiple pulses focusing on a central pitch. A continuous pulse is created through subtones and overtones using microtone exploration. Real-time Audio Mulching, enabled by the computer interface contributes further to the possibilities of a sonic world of layered Gamelan, clarinet, subtones and pulse-fragmented overtones throughout the composition. The repeated sections where rhythmic phrases are punctuated by flourishes of sound. Pulse varies throughout that changes the mood from peaceful to frenzied outbursts. Soft, slow chord abstract sections are interspersed with the constant rhythmic patterns leading into soft notes to a quiet, reflective ending.

All sounds and texts © 2020 by Brigid Burke

Commissioned by the Australia Asia Foundation 2020

About the artist:

Dr Brigid Burke is an Australian artist, clarinet soloist, composer, performance artist, visual artist, video artist, film maker and educator whose creative practice explores the use of acoustic sound, contemporary new music, technology, visual arts, video, notation and improvisation to enable cross media performances. Her work is widely presented in concerts, festivals, and radio broadcasts throughout Australia, Asia, Brazil, Europe and the USA. Currently she curates with Mark Pedersen SEENSOUND a monthly Visual Music series at the LOOP Bar Melbourne – seensound.com

She has been a recipient of an Australia Council Project Music Fellowship and numerous new work commissions, Commissions, Artist Residencies – USA, Europe, Australia and Singapore. Also most recently she has presented her works on the Big screen at Federation Square Melbourne, Tilde Festival, ABC Classic FM., International Media Festival Prague, Tenor Festivals, ICMC International Festivals, Generative Arts Festivals in Italy, Asian Music Festivals, Tokyo, She has a PhD in Composition from UTAS and a Master of Music in Composition from The University of Melbourne.


Oodnadatta Who

Oodnadatta Who
an existential duo for one

for solo shakuhachi
by Anne Norman

Recorded by Al Future at The Chapel, Hobart, Tasmania


Duration: 5:29

Artist’s notes:

Oodnadatta Who features alternating and simultaneously sung and blown elements, everchanging metres, and fast polyphonic passages. A contemplative oasis of shifting timbres and portamento brings a moment of respite in the midst of playful hocketing rhythms filled with existential riddles. Sustained notes on shakuhachi and voice provide an opportunity to revel in microtonal interference, alluding to shifting mental states, shimmering mirages and the throbbing heat of a desert.

Elements of this piece began when camping in desert country on the Oodnadatta Track* in 2016. Experimenting with ideas for playing shakuhachi while singing, I jotted down a list of words that worked well for initiating and sustaining blown tones. Unintentionally, the piece began to ask impossible questions… Who knows where? Who knows how? Who, How, When?

Bemused by its ambiguous lyrics, I finished composing this piece in 2019. Then, after recording it in early 2020, unanticipated meanings emerged.
* The Oodnadatta track is an unsealed road passing through desert country in the north of South Australia. The name is derived from the Arrernte language, utnadata meaning “mulga blossom.” (Wikipedia)


hu, hu, Who? hu, hu…
wee-ii-yuu, hu, hu, hu…
who, her, he
who, he, her
him, me, her
who, he, we

hu tu, hu tu, du du?

Oodnadatta in the flow
as we go flying, trying,
in the flow, I don’t know
when to go flying,
crying, lying, sighing
Who to ask?

hu, hu, who?
who knows where?
who knows how?
Who, how, when?

who to, who to, who
du, du, du, du

Oodnadatta in the flow
as we go flying,
lying… I don’t
know when to go flying,
Why die trying?

du, Who?
du, du, du, du, When?
du, du, du, du, How?
du, du, du…
Who? How? When?

An existential tale ~ Oodnadatta Who?

I recorded Oodnadatta Who on a C shakuhachi in outer Hobart in January this year in the Chapel Studio, situated on what was once a quiet country road. While struggling with new techniques demanded by this crazy score (who wrote this!) my silences were invaded by passing trucks. On a second trip to Hobart in March, my re-take of the opening section was rather more aggressive than my first attempt. I was louder, punchier and perhaps a bit angrier. We recorded late at night this time to avoid the noisy trucks. I was tired but had to push through, as I was scheduled to leave Tassie soon.

For the preceding week I’d been insulated from the outside world in an artists’ bush-retreat composing, performing in a resonant cave and giving workshops in a forest with my music colleagues Emily and Yyan. By the time I hit the studio with recording engineer Al (Alistair), I was becoming aware of planet-wide shut-downs and rising deaths due to the corona virus pandemic. While increasingly bombarded by social media hype, I received a call from my agent’s teary receptionist announcing that all my gigs for the next few months were “postponed”… ’til when?

That was yesterday, and this morning, since my school gig was cancelled, I stayed at the studio and mixed Oodnadatta Who with Al, then made several unsuccessful attempts to cancel flights. Airline companies were in damage control with call-centres in the Philippines closed. I gave up and with the mixed sound-file uploaded to my phone, I walked to a park where a young girl and her father were flying a kite.

Bathed in warm sunlight, I now lie on lush green grass listening to our edit through headphones, hypnotised by a wedge-tailed eagle circling high overhead. Hearing my agro tones and abstract lyrics, my understanding of this work suddenly takes on a whole new meaning. It’s about COVID-19!

I don’t know when to go flying, crying…
Why die trying?

Elements of this piece began beside my campfire in a desert three and a half years ago. Experimenting with new ideas for playing shakuhachi while singing, I’d jotted down a list of words starting with H or Wh, as they worked well for initiating blown tones, and words that did not end in a consonant proved best for sustained notes. Unintentionally, the piece took on an existential air…

Who knows where? Who knows how? Who, How, When?

It is phenomenal how fluid and flexible the interpretation of a work can be, by both the performer and the listener – totally different every time.

Now lying on the grass listening to my new recording, trying not to worry about a gig-less future, questions about “what next” swirl through my head. Who to ask?

I recall a short poem I wrote while camped on the Oodnadatta track – vignettes of my desert experience, yet here in Tasmania “kites” and circling raptors still watch me from above, and the way ahead is rapidly dissolving.


whistling kites circle
dragons stand motionless
the road dissolves
Oodnadatta who?


This is the first recording of a difficult piece that I one day hope to fully master. Thankfully, two excellent musicians – Kuroda Reison (Tokyo) on a longer A shakuhachi and Katharine Rawdon (Lisbon) on silver flute – are also practising Oodnadatta Who. Hopefully I can persuade them to record — him, me, her… How will the piece evolve? How many different moods, timbres and “meanings” is it capable of eliciting? What do you hear I wonder? What is your existential tale?

Anne Norman, 17 March 2020

Music and texts © by Anne Norman

If you wish to support Anne Norman to compose new works and write up the back stories to her music adventures, please consider becoming a patron at her Patreon site: https://www.patreon.com/AnneMNorman

An Australia Asia Foundation’s commission for the 15th Anniversary of Sonic Gallery (2004-2019)

World Voices Musics

World Voices Musics

Music by Warren Burt
(August-September 2019)



Composer’s notes:

This piece was commissioned by Le Tuan Hung and the Australia-Asia Foundation for the 15th Anniversary of Sonic Gallery. When he asked for the piece, Le wanted a variety of Asian sound sources to appear in the piece. (The purpose of Sonic Gallery is to highlight work that explores crossovers between Asian and Australian musical sources.) He specifically asked for some samples from the UVI World Suite, which is a sample set with a very wide assortment of sampled instruments and phrases from all over the world. Around this time, I also noticed that there were a number of iPad apps which featured sounds of some, or many, instruments from different countries as well. What finally got me going on the piece was noticing a little “drum machine” app from UVI called Beathawk, which could play a fairly large subset of the phrases from the UVI World Suite library. Beathawk was also an app in what is called the AUv3 format, which means that you can have more than one of them operating at a time. For this piece, I made 2 tracks where in
each I had three instances of Beathawk, each with 16 different sampled phrases in it. This meant that I could have 48 different phrases available at a time. I selected these randomly using a sequencer/control program called Quantum. Doing this twice, with a different collection of samples for each track, gave me two tracks of collaged “world-music”  samples – a total of 96 different samples in all. To this I added sounds from instrument-specific apps, such as Gender (sampled gamelan phrases), iShala (sampled timbura, swarmandal, and tabla phrases), Taqs.im Synthesizer (sampled Arabic drumming phrases) and Streemur, which is an app which will look for random short-wave broadcasts which are also carried over the internet. With that, I recorded speech in about 20 different languages – I think Hungarian was the main language I picked up that day, but there were a wide variety of languages represented. English appears only once, I think, and although for all the other language fragments, I used random processes to determine where they appeared in the piece, I chose to place that one at the end. The careful listener will quickly be able to tell why. The raw tracks for the piece were made entirely on my iPad pro, and were then transferred to my computer for final mixing. (I could have done the mixing on the iPad as well, but I felt much more comfortable with my computer-based mixing program. Why be fetish-isticly pure with your technology if your subject matter is from such a wide variety of sources?)

Knowing that using a wide variety of samples from many world cultures, and short-wave broadcast fragments of many different languages could be seen to be at least a “nod” in Karlheinz Stockhausen’s direction, I decided to amplify the reference even more by having the Beathawk tracks occasionally ring-modulated in the Elastic FX app. (In Stockhausen’s “Telemusik” he frequently has one sample ring-modulating another, or has a sample ring-modulated by an oscillator. This has the effect of producing distortions and transpositions of the samples, widening the timbral
palette even further.) The end result, though, doesn’t sound much like Stockhausen’s music – this piece has a thick texture that Stockhausen usually avoids. And I think I’m much more aware of the humorous side of the semiotics of the different sounds I’m using – that is, I don’t think I’m here doing a hymn of praise to technologically mediated multi-cultural activity (as Stockhausen does in “Telemusik”), but rather, having fun with the cultural combinations that result from my thick mix. So for example, a Chinese er-hu tune backed up by a Cuban piano riff mixed with a couple of Hungarian sports broadcasters seems not so much “Global-Village-y” as either just plain funny, or, if you happen to live in, for example, Melbourne (and especially being a frequent user of the public transport system here), normal. And the pace of change here is pretty relentless -if we are, for example, living in a metaphor of a number of world-radio stations being accessed at once, then the tuning dials are moving awfully fast, in a continuous manner. This is now not so much amazing as it is simply the world we live in. Listening to the piece now, several weeks after completing it, I’m actually impressed by the transparency of the mix. What had seemed really intense and dense to me when I was composing it, now sounds quite genial and relaxed. I hope you enjoy listening to my algorithmically assembled juxtapositions of fragments from around the world as much as I did in making them.

Music and texts © by Warren Burt 2019

An Australia Asia Foundation’s commission for the 15th Anniversary of Sonic Gallery (2004-2019)

In the Canopy: Meditations from Paparoa and Kapiti Island (Part 1)

In the Canopy: Meditations from Paparoa and Kapiti Island (Part 1)

Sarah Peebles, electroacoustic (2005; 2014 remix)


Composer’s notes:

In the Canopy was inspired by my experiences recording birds and bees in Aotearoa/New Zealand, by various people I met on my journeys there, and by sounds I encountered in Singapore and Canada en route to Aotearoa. A Māori concept shared with me by Gary Millan in Paraparaumu, across from Kapiti Island, especially resonated with my experiences gathering recorded sounds there: “That which is just beyond our perception,” an English translation of a concept within the Māori Ngā kete wānanga (Baskets of Knowledge). It reflects the essence of my experiences listening to birds and insects that were all around me, but seemingly invisible, and spending long, focused periods of time on the land while recording or simply being; taking time. The idea of pollinators became important to me, since historically many varieties of birds and only a handful of indigenous bee species were responsible for pollinating many of the flowering plants in Aotearoa. Those native bees are all solitary ground nesters, whose biology differs from the European honey bees and bumble bees later introduced from Europe. I began to wonder about that unique mix of indigenous pollinators, how it had come into being and how these native birds and bees and the plants that they’ve coevolved with have been affected since the first human presence in these islands.


In the Canopy is a 40-minute work in three parts and was commissioned by Radio New Zealand/Te Reo-Irirangi o Aotearoa for the programme “RPM” (produced by Matthew Leonard), with assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts. Composed at Studio Excelo in Toronto, 2003-2005. Full 40-min initial mix posted at sonus.ca. Part 1 remix assisted by Darren Copeland and released on Delicate Paths – Music for Shô | たおやかな歩み 笙の音 (unsounds 42U, 2014) | Sarah Peebles with Evan Parker, Nilan Perera, Suba Sankaran. SOCAN for Canada / ASCAP for the World except Canada (Peebles)

Delicate Paths CD cover

About the artist:

Sarah Peebles is a Toronto-based American composer, improviser and installation artist. She gathers and transforms environmental and found sound for live performance, radio and multi-channel contexts, performs the shō (the Japanese mouth-organ), and creates habitat installations which prominently feature sound. Her distinctive approaches to shō improvisation and composition, which include acoustic and digitally processed performance, draw from gagaku (Japanese court orchestra music), microtonality and psychoacoustic phenomena of this unusual instrument. Peebles’ installation practice focuses on BioArt which explores the lives of native wild bees, pollination ecology and biodiversity. Her activities span Europe, North America, Asia, New Zealand, and Australia and include collaborations with a wide variety of musicians, writers and artists.

For more information on the artist, please visit her homepage: Sarah Peebles homepage

© 2014 by Sarah Peebles

Resinous Fold 2+4+3 (for Malachite, Bronze & Cerumen)

Resinous Fold 2+4+3 (for Malachite, Bronze & Cerumen)

Sarah Peebles, shō performance & composition (2014)

sarah peebles sho

Composer’s notes:

Resinous Fold 2+4+3 is a composed multi-track audio-work comprised of three solo shō improvisations I performed and recorded in collaboration with recording engineer Ted Phillips. The eight initial Resinous Fold shō solos explore traditional gagaku harmonies of the shō (Japanese mouth- organ) and create paths between what I think of as listening zones. Unlike the more widely known chordal drones which underpin melody in the main body of gagaku, Japanese court orchestra music, resinous fold solos shift between smaller tone clusters drawn from gagaku’s harmonic centres, and is inspired in its flow by gagaku tuning pieces known as chōshi (music for one or multiples of instruments).

Resinous Fold refers to the mixture of beeswax and resin which tunes and holds the shō’s metal reeds in place; each solo and multitrack work is dedicated to present or historic elements of the instrument, and is contemplative in its own unique way. Introduced to Japan from China between 710-794 AD, the shō is free-reed instrument whose elegant external design alludes to natural forms, yet hides an intricate technology within. Simple tones from individual pipes transform to rich, complex timbres as air flows through several metal reeds, travels up and out smoked bamboo pipes, and collides as it emerges from multiple points from its circular body. Sum and difference tones and interference patterns of sound emerge and create an immediate, mesmerizing sound which envelopes the surrounding space. In 2+4+3 the listening experience becomes a dance between instrument, player, performance space, microphone, recording engineer, loudspeaker, listening space, and listener. Each of the solos works was recorded at close range and from different angles in a relatively dry room. This up-close, dry sound is how I have usually experienced playing the shō in traditional cultural contexts in Japan. The intimate, dry sound reflects the instrument in its most intriguing context. I have further explored acoustic and psychoacoustic characteristics of the shō in layering the three stereo recordings, where the 14 respective pipes of the instrument appear in a different position of the stereo field in each recording.

This composed work reflects traditional practice where multiple shō perform a specific chōshi, overlapping one another in a round-like fashion, while exploring the effects of multiple recordings (of different improvised performances) within a loud- speaker and headphone listening context.

Solo improvisations recorded by Ted Phillips, April 2007 at Studio Excelo, Toronto; multi-track composed by Peebles March, 2014.

Released on Delicate Paths – Music for Shô | たおやかな歩み 笙の音 (unsounds 42U,2014) | Sarah Peebles with Evan Parker, Nilan Perera, Suba Sankaran. SOCAN for Canada / ASCAP for the World except Canada (Peebles)

About the artist:

Sarah Peebles is a Toronto-based American composer, improviser and installation artist. She gathers and transforms environmental and found sound for live performance, radio and multi-channel contexts, performs the shō (the Japanese mouth-organ), and creates habitat installations which prominently feature sound. Her distinctive approaches to shō improvisation and composition, which include acoustic and digitally processed performance, draw from gagaku (Japanese court orchestra music), microtonality and psychoacoustic phenomena of this unusual instrument. Peebles’ installation practice focuses on BioArt which explores the lives of native wild bees, pollination ecology and biodiversity. Her activities span Europe, North America, Asia, New Zealand, and Australia and include collaborations with a wide variety of musicians, writers and artists.

“In the 80s, while I was studying music composition in Japan, I was intrigued by the seemingly esoteric role some traditional musics played in contemporary Japanese society. I was given the opportunity to study the shô—the mouth-organ used in gagaku, ancient Japanese court orchestral music and dances—at a small Tokyo shrine, Sendagaya Ward’s Hatonomori Hachiman Jinja. Via this shrine I became familiar with basic gagaku repertoire and played for Shinto ceremonies, weddings and related functions, and also learned how to tune and repair the instrument. From that time onward I’ve explored improvising with, writing for and toying with the acoustic, amplified and reproduced sound of the shô. I’ve often wondered who thought up this remarkable work of nature-meets-technology—this instrument, so elegant and deceptively simple-looking, which sounds so ethereal. The answer, of course, isn’t really who, but by which paths the shô has come into being.

The shô, a free-reed instrument, was introduced to Japan from China between 710-794 AD, and is one of a large family of Asian mouth-organs developed before and since that period. It has traditionally been played in Japan as a part of gagaku for court, temple and shrine functions. Contemporary compositions and improvisation have become a part of its repertoire since the 1960s, and its arresting pipe-organ sound has drawn fans from around the world. Asian mouth- organs likely originated in what is now Laos more than 3,000 years ago. They reflect an intriguing, synergistic relationship between human beings and the habitats surrounding us. Since ancient times, mouth-organs have utilized the nest materials of wild stingless honey bees (such as genus Trigona in Laos): honey-making bees in tropical regions that are cousins of stinging honey bees (genus Apis). The stingless bees that forest peoples of the tropics have used throughout the world are social bees that gather plant resins and produce mixtures of secreted wax and these collected resins (as well as plant gums, oils and other substances), which the bees combine equally and use within their nest as construction material. Indigenous peoples have gathered these materials from wild nests for millennia—often boiling down components and mixing them in specific proportions—and applied them to mouth-organs in many ways, as well as to many other cultural items.

Ecology and human culture intersected in new ways as bee husbandry and agriculture progressed in ancient Asia. The mouth organ that became the shô utilized wax from managed bees—eventually from Japanese honey bees, Apis cerana japonica, a subspecies of the Asiatic honey bee—along with human-gathered resin, ground malachite, lead, bronze, lacquered wood, buffalo horn, silver, and smoke-cured bamboo from the hearths of old houses. It has changed little since arriving in Japan, except for the occasional experiment”—Sarah Peebles, Toronto, 2014

For more information on the artist, please visit her homepage: Sarah Peebles homepage

© 2014 by Sarah Peebles

MusicSafari 14: The Way of The Flower (Review)


Primrose Potter Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre
27 February 2019

Review by Le Tuan Hung

The Way of The Flower featured a program of contemporary works for shakuhachi and koto. The concert opened and ended with two well-known 20th century compositions by Sawai Tadao: Flying Like a Bird (1985) and Song of the Waxing Moon (1979). Brandon Lee’s performance of Flying Like A Bird delivered a captivating experience: The sounds, the noises, the tone colours and the varied dynamics from the koto impressed listeners with an exquisite floating soundscape in the air.

After the opening piece, the program moved away from the Japanese heartland of the instruments to feature four 21st century works by non-Japanese composers: Rain Now and Then(2011) for shakuhachi solo, Far Below Me(2015/2019) for shakuhachi, spoken word, and bass koto, and Moon in Water (2018/2019) for shakuhachi and voice by Australian composer-performer Anne Norman, and I Thought About Eva (2018) for shakuhachi and koto by French composer Henri Algadafe.

Anne Norman performed her three original compositions with utmost mastery. Rain Now and Then showed a stream of beautiful melodies. Far Below Me incorporated alternating sections of spoken words and shakuhachi, supported by the deep and mellow sounds of the bass koto. In Moon in Water, the technique of incorporating voice while blowing the shakuhachi created a mesmerising experience: the voice within the music and the music within the voice. In both Far below Meand Moon in Water, the spoken or sung poetry brought an extra-dimension to the musical experience.

Henri Algadafe’s work with contrasting sections grown from five occurrences of a short motif provided an opportunity for both the shakuhachi and the koto to deliver brief but musically meaningful gestures interacting with each other to bring about a thoughtful outcome.

The program ended with Tadao’s Song of the Waxing Moon(1979) which was presented simultaneously with an ikebana demonstration by Shoso Shimbo. The juxtaposition of two elements made Tadao’s work the background music for the ikebana session. While one could appreciate the ikebana process in the musical atmosphere, it is more desirable for the audience to have the opportunity to listen to the musical work by itself as a way to honour Sawai Tadao. As most members of the audience had already seated 15-20 minutes before the concert, the ikebana session could have started then in silence. The sound of the scissors, the breaking of the branches and the footsteps of the ikebana master are the music of the flowers in itself.

For information about the artists and their works, please visit their websites:

Anne Norman

Brandon Lee

Shoso Shimbo


MusicSafari 13: Bart Hopkin’s Instrumentarium

Bart Hopkin’s Instrumentarium

The Instrumentarium is the online multimedia gallery presenting the collection of musical instruments conceived, designed, built and performed by the instrument designer extraordinaire Bart Hopkin. Instruments are organising nine sections as follows:

    • Winds
    • Plosives & Aerophonic Oddities
    • Lamellaphones
    • Free Bars
    • Bells, Forks, Gongs & More
    • Drums
    • Lutes, Harps & Lyres
    • Zithers
    • Uncategorizable

The video below shows one of Bart’s creation (from the Uncategorizable Section) called Bosky Jangle. This interactive sound installation was originally called Sound Chamber as it appeared at the Bolinas Museum in 2015, curated by Elia Haworth. It is a kinetic soundspace of bell trees and other instruments with a foresty kind of mood. For later installations the name was changed to Bosky Jangle.


Bart Hopkin’s Instrumentarium is located at http://barthopkin.com/instrumentarium/

Visitors will encounter a fascinating collection of creative and inventive musical instruments.

About the artist:

Bart Hopkin is a musician, instrument designer, music educator and author. Since 1974, he has worked as composer, arranger and performer in a variety of contexts. He has designed and built numerous musical instruments, and performed with them.

From 1985 to 1999, he edited the quarterly journal Experimental Musical Instruments. The journal served as an essential resource and clearing house in an otherwise scattered but lively and growing field. After the final issue of the journal, Experimental Musical Instruments continued as an organization serving people interested in inventive instrument design, producing and selling informational resources as well as hardware for instrument makers.