music for magpies

for solo flute

Emily Doolittle

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for solo flute

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Composer Emily Doolittle

Year of Composition



ca. 8'

Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-ed1mfm1


Music for Magpies was commissioned by Karin Preslmayr for viola da gamba with quarter-tone frets, and was subsequently transcribed for flute at the request of Cliff Dunn. The first movement is a direct transcription of the song of the Pied Butcherbird, an Australian bird with a sense of musical pitch and structure remarkably similar to humans. The second movement takes the song of the Hoopoe Lark as a starting point, but I’ve shaped the form of the song into something more music-like. After writing these two movements, I found that I liked trying to think like a bird so much that I made up three fictitious birds, the Ringed River Snike, the Pileated Pocket Grouse, and the Green-Rumped Antstalker: their songs make up the remaining two movements of the piece.