questions for ron nagorcka
(these questions written as a kind of "trial" by students to see if we're on the right track)

music 8/85
dartmouth college

1) Do you feel a connection with Messian and his interest in ornithology?
2) What is it about birds that especially interests you rather than the calls of another animal?
3) Do the native aboriginals use "just" tuning in their music (I assume so, since the didjeridu uses natural harmonics?) and if so, have you seen how they experience music with tempered tuning?
4) What composers influenced you most and what composers today do you enjoy listening to?
5) Is there something specific about Australian birds that you are particularly attracted to?

1) How exactly does one electronically control the addition or subtraction of "cents" from a tone?
2) When did musicians/composers start manipulating this stuff?
3) How do we know what an unadulterated C (or any other note) sounds like?  What makes the "standard"?  Is it done simply by intervals or is there a constant recorded somewhere?  Or do we use tuning forks?
4) (this sounds silly but I mean it) Do specific birds sing on certain pitches?  Like, are their songs (within a species) in a certain key?
5) How exactly did one edit analog tape before the whole digital revolution?

1. Do you write and compose your music dependant upon the melody/ harmony of the birds or do you write the music and than find bird sounds that coincide with the music?

2. What inspired you to initially combine bird sounds with a dijridu; is that common or did you take credit for its innovation?

3. Do diffeent pitches of bird sounds coincide with certain pitches of the instrument?

4. Do you ever incorporate any other instruments other than the dijridu in your songs? Why the dijridu?

5. What type of feeling are you attempting to reach in people with this music? Classical music and rock both touch different parts of the mind; where does this music come into play?

1.  Is there a specific reason why you have chosen to write music using just intonation instead of equal temperament instruments? Is the dijridu used in your music important in the production of the just intonation intervals or can you use other instruments to create the same effects that you have in your music?

2.  In altering the bird sounds/melodies, do you test certain tempo slowing or quickening and find what works well, or do you have a distinct method in choosing specific speeds at which to control the mixed sounds?  If you test speed changes, is there a specific quality or timbre of sound that you are looking for?

3.  Is the dijridu the only aboriginal instrument that you use in your music?  Are there other aboriginal instruments that you have played or heard throughout your experiences?  Why did you choose to use the dijridu specifically in most of of your music?

4.  Since much of your music is dependent on nature, how often do you think about composing or mixing music in daily life?  Do you make notes on your surroundings and certain observations and try to incorporate them into your music?  Do you make notes beforehand and try to match them with future sounds or experiences?  Or do you compose only at a specific time?

5.  Has your "style" of living affected the way in which you write music besides the use of the instruments and the bird sounds/melodies?  Are there other messages or intentions that you mean to convey by the composition of this "type" of music?  Do you think that you have an "intention" or do you like to leave your music open to public interpretation?  Do you believe that your music should be interpreted a certain way or is there a certain theme that you try to project through the composition or the playing of your music?

1. In your talk you described the revolution from tape to digital in your musique concrete compositions, and the early "workarounds" you had to develop due to the limits of technology.  Twenty years later, do you ever feel limited in your compositional scope by the technology of today and, if you don't, does that take anything away from the compositional process and/or final product?
2. Based on you and your wife's work in environmental awareness, and your "walk the talk" lifestyle, how would you feel if your music was co-opted in some way?  For example, if the American Petroleum Institute used your music in a documentary about how oil companies are helping the environment, would this offend you? Would you care?  Would this be any different than if say Al Gore used your music in one of his documentaries?
3. Aside from playing an Aboriginal instrument, are there any other influences on your work from indigenous Australian culture?
4. Do you find any intrinsic benefit in the use of just intonation besides the larger scale of microtones?  It seemed like in class you wanted to drive home the differences between a justly intoned interval as opposed to an equally tempered one.  Have you reached the point where you actively prefer the sonority of one to the other? When composing in a more traditional 12-tone system, do you specify that instruments be tuned with just intonation?
5. What in your music would be lost if you composed and lived in a flat in Sydney as opposed to the middle of nowhere?  I assume you weren't born in the bush, and if that is true I could re-phrase the question as, what changed in your compositions once you moved into the bush?

1) I would like to know how his environment or life Tanzania has affected his music? Naturally I understand that it affects the types of birds he uses and such, but has the actual experience or culture of Tanzania become an integral part of his music?
2) Why did he decide to move to Tanzania? Did he do so for reasons related to his music-- did he find that changing life styles and moving to a new country was a form of inspiration?
3) I would ask him what his goals are or reasons for producing this type of music. What does he hope to accomplish by composing this music?
4) Is creating music, as a professional musician and composer a sustainable career in Tanzania? Or, does he have to at times supplement with passion for music with other trades? If so, what are these other jobs-- and do they affect his music?
5) I would ask to him to outline a typical day. Is music something he is constantly thinking about or simply something he can turn on and off whenever he sits down to compose? Is music an integral part of his life?

4.)    For Ron:  When mixing together natural bird song with other instruments, do you find that nature uses just intonation or does the natural tuning of bird songs mimic the standard tuning system of a piano?
5.)    For Ron:  Is each didjeridu tuned differently depending on the size and construction of it? Does this impact your use of the instrument when combined with synthesized and natural sounds in your compositions?

how did you first get started in playing the digeridoo?

is the musical notation for "just" pinch differnt from normal notation?

what is the audience/performer interaction when the digeridoo is performed live?

how does the comtemporary music written for the digeridoo differ from the aboriginal music?

is there any feedback from the aboriginals on their thoughts of how the modern digeridoo is played/performed/