ripple (cello and tape, 1996)

Confronted with the whole sounding world as potential musical material, the composer must reassess not only the potential of his or her material as sound, but also the meanings and references which it carries.

ripple explores the cello - its nature as a sounding object, its role as a musical instrument and its expressive and gestural potential - in the context of the natural sounding world, and in particular, a colony of sea-birds. The cello takes on sounds and patterns from the environment, and the sounds on tape build bridges from the songs of the birds to the instrument, "tuning" their world, colouring it with the sonority of the solo instrument and blurring distinctions between the meanings and references and expectations we have of each.

ripple was commissioned by One Voice with funds from the Scottish Arts Council and was written for the cellist Rupert Waddington in 1996 in the electroacoustic studios at Edinburgh University and Dartington College of Arts. It was revised between 1998 and 1999 in collaboration with the cellist Frances-Marie Uitti.