The Bike Show presents the British premier of Raes’s Symphony for Singing Bicycles

Have you ever dreamt of playing in a symphony? Have you heard of the early-20th-century-futurists favoring the street over the canvas or the stage? Maybe Godfried-Willem Raes’s 2nd Symphony could be your chance. And, it isn’t even very difficult: join the symphony with your bicycle. We carefully prepare and tune your instrument; you and bicycle orchestra ride in a long row at a regular pace; the last cyclist overtakes the whole group. The Symphony will delight in a wonderful and exciting way.

Godfried-Willem RaesThe Bike Show is organising a performance of Godfried-Willem Raes’s (pictured, right) second symphony for ’singing bicycles’. It will take place on the morning of Saturday 7 July on London’s South Bank. This is first day of racing of the Tour De France’s Grand Depart in London, and the Symphony will almost certainly be the most eccentric contribution to a weekend of cycling in the capital.

The ‘Symphony for Singing Bicycles’ is an open air event scored for 12-24 cyclists with their own ‘prepared’ bicycles. The London premier performance will aim to have a full complement of 24 riders. There are still a handful of places for anyone interested (see below for details about how to book your place). These are the technical specifications, and bicycles will be ‘prepared’ by our technicians starting at 10am.

A singing bicycle1. each bike -if it doesn’t already has one- receives a dynamo to generate its own electricity (6 Volt / 3 Watts);

2. A small loudspeaker (15-15 Ohms) is connected to the dynamo. the dynamo’s current powers the speaker, generating a unique tone according to how the bike is moving.

3. Each loudspeaker gets a carefully calculated length of 8-inch diameter tube in order to obtain a specific musical scale. the lengths vary from 60cm to 180cm (which will require a tandem).

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 road surfaces, 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.

The performance will begin outside Scooterworks Cafe, 132 Lower Marsh, Waterloo, London SE1 8AE. If you want to take part, please contact the organisers via email or leave a comment below. Or call on 020 7928 1626 and leave your name and a contact number.

The time of departure is shortly after 11am and the route is yet to be determined, though we will be seeking out include tunnels, cobblestones as well as passing the sights of the West End. It will be neither fast nor strenuous. We attempted to notify the Metropolitan Police’s division for avant garde performance art, but our calls were not returned…

    Notes to Editors

1. Resonance 104.4 fm is London’s first radio art station. It started broadcasting on May 1st 2002. Its brief? To provide a radical alternative to the universal formulae of mainstream broadcasting. Resonance 104.4 fm features programmes made by musicians, artists and critics who represent the diversity of London’s arts scenes, with regular weekly contributions from nearly two hundred musicians, artists, thinkers, critics, activists and instigators;On air 24 hours every day, Resonance104.4fm is the only station of its kind in the UK, providing access radio for London’s astoundingly talented and cultural diverse arts community.

2. The Bike Show is the UK’s only bicycling radio programme, broadcast weekly on Resonance FM at 6.30pm on Mondays. Over three years it has built up an audience in London and via the internet in the UK and the rest of the world. Its objective is simple: to bring to listeners the transcendental pleasure of riding a bicycle. The show features ‘rolling interviews’ with London’s artists, musicians and writers, and outside broadcasts from further afield (including New York, the Alps, Brussels and Berlin).

3. Godfried-Willem Raes, born in Ghent, Belgium in 1952, is known worldwide as a musicmaker in the largest sense of the word: as a concert-organizer he’s been responsible from 1973 until 1988 for the new-music concert programming of the Philharmonic Society at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, in addition to which he also organized and still organizes all the concerts which take place at the Logos Foundation in Ghent, in total about 150 international new music concerts a year.