Eight Bells: Elegy for Violin and Soundtrack

Kefala-Kerr, John (2011) Eight Bells: Elegy for Violin and Soundtrack. [Composition] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Eight Bells commemorates the centenary of the celebrated American artist Winslow Homer, who from 1881-82 was a resident of Cullercoats. The piece takes its title from an 1886 painting of Homer’s depicting two seamen sighting their position with sextants. In nautical parlance “eight bells” refers to the striking of a ship’s bell at the end of a four hour watch. The expression is also a euphemism for death. The piece echoes the painting’s concern with time, place and finitude. It does so by triangulating three north east coasts of auto/biographical significance. Sounds were collected from these three locations (bells from St. Paul’s Church, Cullercoats, and Agias Marinas, Agia Eleni and Agios Efstathios churches in Pelion, Greece; sea sounds from Prout’s Neck, Maine; Cullercoats; Papa Nero and Damouhari, Greece; a fish-seller’s call from Volos, Greece; and footsteps from St. George’s church). Melodic material was borrowed from the traditional folk song The Cullercoats Fish-Lass, with its characteristic ‘Will ye buy?’ refrain. Research from the Dove Marine Laboratory (based in Cullercoats) has also found its way into the score in the form of melodic contours derived from bell-curve data taken from a study of ragworm biorhythms by Professor Peter Olive and a paper on bacterial olfaction by Professor Grant Burgess. At the end of the piece these “contours” become extensions to the ascending Will ye buy? motif of the folk song, bringing the eight variations of the piece to an ethereal close.

Eight Bells grew out of a Rednile Projects Factory Nights event, which took place at the Dove Marine Laboratory in September 2010. The piece was commissioned by North Tyneside Council in association with Rednile Projects.

Item Type: Composition
Subjects: Performing Arts > Music
Divisions: Faculty of Arts Design and Media > Department of Media
Related URLs:
Depositing User: John Kefala-Kerr
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2013 11:49
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2013 11:49
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/3861

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