Birds by their Feet, Men by their Tongue
Composed by Nick Didkovsky for New Century Players

Premiered March 4, 2004 at the REDCAT Theatre (Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theatre, Los Angeles).

flute, oboe, bass clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, drum set, piano, electric guitar, electric bass, violin.

Some comments:
First half of the piece was composed "by hand" with some use of algorithmic transforms. Last four minutes generated algorithmically: instruments gradually veer away from the repeated material and follow linearly interpolated statistical trajectories that begin with the pitch mean and event density mean of pre-composed material and end with a very low event density and pitch mean and of the intervals of the final chord. A thinning algorithm was applied to the drum set material to gradually reduce the density of its repeated rhythm.

Composed using JMSL's Score notation program. All algorithms coded in JMSL and transcribed by JMSL. For more on JMSL, visit

  • Listen to premiere performance by New Century Players conducted by David Rosenboom (Mar 4, 2004).
  • Listen to computer performance. Includes live guitar solo. There is also a violin solo that begins at 3:30 but there is nothing dropped into the mix for this (use imagination). Instrument sounds performed by JMSL instruments using JSyn sound engine, and include voices sampled from Kawai K1m synth, Alesis HR-16 drum machine, and Siedlaczek bowed string library. Trumpet sound is simple FM coded in JSyn (
  • Download full ensemble score.
  • Download parts.
  • Comments on notation.

    This piece is dedicated to my father.

  • Contact Nick Didkovsky,
    (c) 2004 Nick Didkovsky , Punos Music (BMI)

    Punos Music