Date for your diary: Symphony for Singing Bicycles: 7 July 2007

The Bike Show is organising a performance of Godfried Willem-Raes’s second symphony for ‘singing bicycles’. It will take place in the morning of Saturday 7 July, starting outside Scooterworks Cafe, 132 Lower Marsh, SE1 This is the day of the Prologue Time Trial of the Tour De France, in Central London, so it will be possible to take part in the Singing Symphony in the morning and watch the Prologue in the afternoon!

If you would like to equip your own bicycle and come along, you’d be very welcome. If you would rather we supply you with the necessary equipment, we’d be happy to do so, though we will need the money beforehand: dynamo & bracket (£10), speaker & connecting wires (£5), resonating tube (free, hopefully), white suit (£5). We will have sound engineers and bicycle mechanics on hand on the day to help with the set up, which will take place from 10am. We hope to begin the performance shortly after 11am. Email to confirm your participation and your equipment requirements (if any) to or by phone 07973 155 278.

For more on the Symphony, pasted below is the lowdown. Or you can listen to the Bike Show’s feature on the symphony.

“Have you ever dreamt of playing in a symphony? Have you heard of the early-20th-century-futurists favoring the street over the palette or the theatre? Maybe Godfried-Willem Raes’ ‘2nd Symphony’ could be your chance. And, it isn’t even very difficult: join the symphony with your bicycle. Then, together at the occasion of a workshop, we carefully prepare and tune your instrument; you and your colleagues cycle in a long row at a regular pace; the last cyclist overtakes the whole group. The Singing Bicycle’s Symphony you perform, will delight you and your audiences in a wonderful and exciting way.

The ‘Symphony for Singing Bicycles’ is an open air event scored for a minimum of twelve cyclists with their own bicycles. A workshop of two hours is enough to prepare the instruments for the performance:

1. each bike -if it doesn’t already has one- receives a dynamo to generate its own electricity (6 Volt / 3 Watts);
2. a impedance-matched loudspeaker (15-15 Ohms) is connected to the dynamo. The power rating of the speaker should be at least 3 Watts, corresponding to the average power delivered by the generators.
3. each loudspeaker gets a carefully calculated length of tube in order to obtain a specific musical scale ;
4. by cycling at different velocities, (the last cyclist overtakes continuously the whole group), glissandi are obtained. At very specific velocities, resonance will occur in the tubes.
5. by cycling on different pavements, timbre-variation and frequency modulation is obtained. Cobble-stones provoke tremolo’s, narrow streets reverb and echo the sounds
6. every cyclist wears a white overall-suit labeled -in large numbers- with the resonant frequency and the interval ratio (between 1/1 and 1/2) of her/his individual instrument.