The Life of a Beaked Whale
Siobhan Dyson


‘The Life of a Beaked Whale’ was in collaboration with St Andrews University
and Siobhan was allocated to a PhD Biology researcher who specialised in beaked whales.
Siobhan wrote music about beaked whales, predominantly those found in the North Pacific Ocean.
Siobhan uses techniques taken straight from whale song, techniques such as: Whale clicks; Whale song.

With these sounds she orchestrated them accordingly.
The whale clicks uses pitched ‘air only’ sounds with the flute and oboe.
The ‘whale song’ is performed through the clarinet (Bass and Bb).
She uses these techniques to create a story from life to death.
With sonar being one of the top killers of the beaked whale,
Siobhan decided to depict sonar through flute and oboe.
She first listened to sonar and pitched it accordingly and found that submarine
sonar has slight dissonance as the sound tails off.
Throughout this piece Siobhan was keen on having some sort of story to follow.
Hence the name “The Life of a Beaked Whale”.
She uses the story of a beaked whale from birth and throughout its adult life.
The journeys it has and to its ultimate demise.
The whale becomes frightened from the submarine sonar and decides to dive deep into the ocean,
ultimately killiing itself.

Instrumentation Genre Ensemble (no conductor)
Tag quartet
Collaborators St Andrews University
Duration 10 minutes

Performances of this work

Date Venue Performer Link
13/11/2019 (*premiére) St Mary's Place, St Andrews KY16 9UZ, Scotland, UK Full live performance

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