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Cowboy Song

  • Alexis Bacon (b.1975)
  • Solo, Electronic Media
  • 2008

In my electronic music I am often inspired to play with the boundaries between sound heard as speech and sound heard as music. The theme for “Cowboy Song” came to me as I was relocating to the Texas panhandle last summer and heard the sing-song call of commodities prices on the radio. After obtaining several intriguing but noisy recordings from the audience of the weekly Amarillo Livestock Show, I was able to meet in person with auctioneer Jack Howe, a practicing auctioneer since 1955, who was kind enough to answer my questions about the auction process and allow me to record several of his calls. The rhythms of the auction call suggested the use of percussion, which trades off patterns and imitates the pitches of the voice. “Cowboy Song” came about as a result of the 2008 ASCAP/SEAMUS Student Competition Commission, and would not exist in its current form without the dedication of percussionist Gregory Beyer, for whom it was composed. – Alexis Bacon

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