for bass clarinet and computer (10′), with versions for baritone sax, trombone or tuba


Jackdaw for bass clarinet and computer was commissioned by Harry Sparnaay with financial support from the Danish Art Council and premiered at the Musiana 95 festival in Denmark. A jackdaw is a small, European crow, and the character og the piece as well as many of the sounds are inspired by this audacious yet clever bird. Since I have a tame, pet jackdaw, I was able to record the bird under perfect conditions. Many of the sounds played by the computer consist of these recordings processed by the computer, such as jackdaw cries filtered by the formant of a bass clarinet or long bird calls stretched to 10 times their original length using the phase vocoder. Bass clarinet sounds sampled and processed by the computer abd computer controlled live processing that change the sound of the instrument during performance are also used. As the composition progressed my hunch was confirmed: the jackdaw and the bass clarinet are related!

Jackdaw has been performed widely by Harry Sparnaay in Europe and South America. Versions for bass clarinet and CD, for baritone saxophone and CD and for tenor trombone and CD are also available.

The score and performance CD are available from the composer (see contact page)


Harry Sparnaay, bass clarinet (CD)

Niels-Ole Bo Johansen (trombone) Apple Music

Juan Martí-Frasquier (baritone sax) Spotify

Video by Robert Sirvent Tolsà with performance by Joan Martí-Frasquier

Download progamme note as PDF: Jackdaw