Downloads (right click, "save target as ..."):
Wood Thrush Theme Info Doc ==> Info
Wood Thrush Theme Power Tab Score ==> Power Tab
Wood Thrush Theme Power Tab Audio File (389 kb):
What you just heard (0:24)
Wood Thrush Theme with Guitar Variations Audio File,
as heard on my Pesunqua CD (5.59 MB):
From Pesunqua CD (6:06)
Free Power Tab Software ==> www.power-tab.net/guitar.php
The Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina), an Eastern woodland bird, has a clear, melodious, flute-like song. Unlike most birds that repeat the same call over and over, the Wood Thrush improvises its calls. They will spend their summer afternoons and evenings singing one phrase after another. On June 12, 1990 (a Tuesday afternoon), I recorded one of these birds at my camp in Pesunqua, Pennsylvania. At a later date, I attempted to transcribe five phrases for the guitar. Each phrase suggested a chord, which produced a five-chord progression. This is the theme for the Wood Thrush Suite.
In performance, one musician can play the bird's phrases, (pretending to be the bird) and another can play the chord progression. This chord progression unwittingly suggested by the bird can also be used to improvise music over. My suggestion is for one musician to play the birdcall (the five phrases) a cappella once, and then run through the progression two more times with the accompanying musician playing the suggested chords, and then after that, to improvise on the progression for as long as one wishes. The lead musician may opt to return to the birdcalls at the end of the piece and finish a cappella.
On the recorded version of the Wood Thrush Suite, the actual recorded birdcall (with all five phrases) is heard first without any musical accompaniment. Even though there are other wildlife sounds in the background, it should be fairly easy to distinguish this particular bird. The wildlife soundtrack is then repeated twice with the appropriate guitar chord swelling beneath each phrase. The second repeat the guitar is a little louder. (So the wildlife soundtrack is used a total of three times.) After that, the actual wildlife soundtrack is no longer used. A distorted guitar continues playing the five-chord progression and a lead guitar is overdubbed, playing the transcribed phrases (pretending to be the bird). This is done three times - note that after each pass my interpretation of the transcribed birdcall gets a little looser. After those three run-throughs, the chord progression continues and the lead guitar just improvises over it until fadeout. The recording concludes with more Wood Thrush sounds.
Someday I hope to arrange this piece for a string quartet. Perhaps the Kronos Quartet would be interested?
Wood Thrush Suite Theme: Music, Text and Photo © Bud Tristano
New! Wood Thrush Themes
Each zip file contains powertab file, score (pdf), mp3s (suite with bird and theme with metronome), and where possible, a photo of the actual bird that provided the call.
Theme No. 1 is what I presented above, and the remainder are new themes from different bird calls:
Wood Thrush Theme No. 1 (7.80 MB) ==> WTT1.zip (right click, "save target as ...")
Wood Thrush Theme No. 2 (3.23 MB) ==> WTT2.zip (right click, "save target as ...")
Wood Thrush Theme No. 3 (4.45 MB) ==> WTT3.zip (right click, "save target as ...")
Wood Thrush Theme No. 4 (6.54 MB) ==> WTT4.zip (right click, "save target as ...")
© Bud Tristano