Anglesey schoolchildren create 'underwater symphony' for Bangor New Music Festival
The water music premiere will one of the highlights of the festival which also features renowned violinist Madeleine Mitchell
A group of musical schoolchildren have created an “underwater symphony” at their local swimming pool.
The youngsters from Ysgol y Graig in Llangefni worked with a music lecturer on the project for the Bangor New Music Festival.
As well as the splashing and gurgling sounds in the pool, they also recorded rain, dripping taps and rustling wind.
The premiere of their water music will be one of the highlights of the festival, which starts on Wednesday March 12.
The children’s musical mentor is Dr Ed Wright from Bangor University, who has helped them put together their composition on the theme of water.
He took the pupils from Years 5 and 6 to the nearby pool at Plas Arthur Leisure Centre to record underwater sounds using a hydrophone for their electronic piece.
It will be heard for the first time on March 13 during a performance by Electracoustic Wales in Powis Hall, featuring the renowned international composer Natasha Barrett.
Festival organisers say the line-up this year is one of the best ever, with violin virtuosoMadeleine Mitchell as one of the star attractions.
Among the other highlights will be a jazz workshop conducted by Israeli-born drummer Asaf Sirkis followed by a late evening concert of his jazz quartet at Greeks Taverna in Upper Bangor.
There will also be an open air lunchtime concert performed by Bangor New Music Ensemble at the Deiniol Shopping Centre in Bangor.
Dr Wright said: “The underwater sounds we managed to record, which includes splashing and waves hitting the side of the pool as well as echoes and gurgles, provide a basis that we can add to and sort of stretch.
“Having recorded the underwater sounds we will now put them together with what we have already recorded. We can then manipulate the sounds through a computer in a host of different ways, so that we lengthen and distort them to make a rhythm which we can then use as building blocks for our work.”
“The final piece will be around seven to 10 minutes long. Ysgol y Graig pupils have been wonderful, very enthusiastic and very keen to learn.
“They are really taking pride in what they are producing and are very excited about finishing their work and hearing it for the first time at the festival.”
According to Ysgol y Graig pupil Stephanie Smythe, 11, working on the project has been a lot of fun. She said: “I have really enjoyed recording all the sounds we have included in our music. We recorded water dripping from a tap and other sounds like the wind rustling.”
Fellow pupil Jac Davies, 10, added: “It’s been fantastic and really interesting. All the children have enjoyed learning how sounds are made and how we can use them in different ways. I can’t wait to see what the finished music sounds like and I will be really proud when it is played for the first time.”
Headteacher Eirianwen Williams said: “It’s fabulous for the children to see visually, not just musically, how these sounds are made, recorded and incorporated into their work.
“This underwater symphony is something completely different for our children to enjoy, a completely new experience. We do a great deal of traditional music in school so to see, hear and make something completely different is marvellous.”
Publication date: 4 March 2014