winnowing Public

Winnowing – separating the grain from the chaff, letting the wind blow the lighter parts away; or the sound made as the air flows through the tail feathers of certain big species of bird during mating. My original idea was to compose music that would relate to Messiaens La Fauvette de Jardin; I started to plan the piece thinking of the relationship between birdsong and electronics. I was constantly traveling at the time and started little by little to think about the movement of birds: the migrating flocks of birds of the autumn and spring amongst the old maple trees of the central park in Stuttgart, wild geese and that single lonely swan which decided to spend its winter in Stuttgart taking off and landing on the subtly fluctuating surface of the pond: stir, quiver and slowly decreasing vibrations of water. Simultaneously I found myself to be more and more interested in the most subtle timbres of the piano. I listened the softly shivering piano harmonics through headphones and wanted to surround the audience with this gentle sound to let the audience experience the subtle timbre changes of these sounds and relax inside this fragile soundworld.

Winnowing is composed and dedicated to Jaana Kärkkäinen and it was composed with the support of The Finnish Composers Sibelius Foundation. The electronics were made at the Sibelius Academy SACMUS studios by the composer.

Winnowing is a work for pianoa and electronics inspired by the movement of birds. The electronics part brings another layer to the piece by introducing synthetic piano sounds that follow their own laws of nature. In the culmination of the piece the acousmatic birds appear.

  • 12
Performance Link


Associated Composition:
Performance of: winnowing
Composed by:



External links are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by COMPEL or Virginia Tech of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual. COMPEL and Virginia Tech bear no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.