Projects

Song Sessions

Learning from the musical minds of whales

  • Project Created By

    Barry Sharp

    Barry Sharp seeks to create an environment of inclusion and experimentation through new dynamics between performers, composers, and audiences. His works often develop out of a specific sound world from which he sculpts a landscape of harmonic, melodic, and textural ideas.

  • Project Location
    Ithaca, New York
  • Composer
    Performer, Collaborator
  • Project Dates
    Start Date
    September 1, 2019
    End Date
    December 1, 2019

Song Sessions

Learning from the musical minds of whales

In collaboration with New York-based Duo Helix (Eric Umble on clarinet and Izzy Gleicher on flute), our project investigates modes of composition in the songs of humpback whales. Entitled Song Sessions, we seek a dialogue between science, the arts and social activism through this project.

Song Sessions seeks to establish the connection between whale and human music. Humpback whales, the most innovative of the baleen whales, sing with a particular sequence of units. These sounds and their order are varied over time, producing new song material. Through innovation, a new idea is accepted or rejected by the collective body of whales. Over the course of twenty years, the song can become totally different altogether. These studies have provided a window into the creative world of another mammal, one that deals with innovation and memory just as our own.

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