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Le petit agneau : for harmonic and polytonal bells

by Andrián Pertout (2009)

Audio Sample

From the CD Rishis and saints

Rishis and saints


This item is not commercially available from the Australian Music Centre. We regret that we cannot offer it for sale.


Rishis and saints / Andrián Pertout.

Library shelf no. CD 2155 [Available for loan]

Le petit agneau


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Le petit agneau : for harmonic and polytonal bells / Andrián Pertout.

Library shelf no. 786.8848/PER 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

'Le petit agneau' or 'The Little Lamb' was especially composed for the Federation Bell Installation in Birrarung Marr (Melbourne, Australia), which was designed by Neil McLachlan and Anton Hassell in association with Australian Bell Pty Ltd and comprises of thirty-nine computer-controlled harmonic and polytonal bells. In the tradition of American composer, pianist and theorist Henry Cowell (1897-1965) and his monumental publication of New Musical Resources (1930), the work explores a variety of compositional techniques developed during the twentieth century by American experimentalist composer Conlon Nancarrow (1912-1997) and documented by Kyle Gann in The Music of Conlon Nancarrow (1995). The Mixolydian Mode (the fifth mode generated by the major scale) is adopted as the basic pitch material, while the simple seven-limit frequencies ratios associated with this heptatonic scale form the basis for rhythmic development: fundamental or unison (the frequency ratio 1/1), just major tone or 9th harmonic (9/8, or 203.910 cents), just major third or 5th harmonic (5/4, or 386.314 cents), just perfect fourth (4/3, or 498.045 cents), just perfect fifth or 3rd harmonic (3/2, or 701.955 cents), just major sixth (5/3, or 884.359 cents), septimal subminor seventh or 7th harmonic (7/4, or 968.826), and octave (2/1, or 1200.000 cents). The melodic elements of Mary Had a Little Lamb - the English language nursery rhyme of nineteenth-century American origin; set to music in the 1830s by American composer Lowell Mason (1792-1872) - also feature in the work, which are incorporated via a linear additive compositional process structured around tempo canons (or diminution canons, expressed as polyrhythmic ratios: 3/4/5/6 and 4/5/6/7/8/9) and two rhythmic sequences based on ouroborean rings for pairs and quadruplets (0111, 0100 and 1111, 0000, 1010, 0110).

Work Details

Year: 2009

Instrumentation: The Federation Bells (39 harmonic and polytonal bells) - Federation Bell Installation in Birrarung Marr (Melbourne)

Duration: 8 min.

Difficulty: N/A - Not for live performance

Commission note: Composed for the Federation Bell Installation in Birrarung Marr (Melbourne, Australia)

First performance: 12 Jan 10. Federation Bell Installation, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne, Australia

The composer cites the following influences on this work:

just intonation, tempo canons, mathematics

Performances of this work

23 May 15: Kunstausstellung Schloss Leuk, Ars Electronica, Forum Wallis 2015, Leuk, Switzerland

13 Oct 10: X Festival Internacional de Música Electroacústica de Santiago – Ai-maako 2010 (10th International Festival of Electroacoustic Music of Santiago), 7-16 October, 2010 Valdivia and Santiago, Chile Concierto Inaugural 12-speaker sound diffusion

26 Jun 10: ACMC 2010 (Australasian Computer Music Conference), 24-26 June, 2010, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, 8-speaker sound diffusion

12 Jan 10: Federation Bell Installation, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne, Australia

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