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Ten Pieces - Anna Meredith
Clapping needs no special equipment!

Ten Pieces - Anna Meredith

If you have enjoyed the Ten Pieces at BBC Bitesize, you may also enjoy this KS2 Music quiz about Anna Meredith, the only female composer to make the 'top ten'.

There have been plenty of female composers down the years, but only one makes it onto the BBC Ten Pieces list - Anna Meredith. She was born in 1978 in Edinburg and she has become known for her electronic and her acoustic music. Many of her works use dancers who clap their hands, stamp their feet and even shout to create music. She has performed her pieces in some strange venues - including the M6 motorway!

Anna Meredith may still be young, but she is certainly making her mark! Let's find out a little bit more about her and her works.

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From which corner of the British Isles does she hail?
Her surname has a Welsh ring to it but she is Scots through and through
Her first major broadcast work went out over BBC television in 2008 ... and instantly reached an estimated audience of how many people?
15 million
25 million
30 million
40 million
This was partly because of the nature of the special concert during which it was played: see next question!
The BBC holds the world's largest music festival in London every summer, broadcasting each of several dozen concerts over a number of weeks. The final night is known as ... ?
Friday Night is Music Night
The Last Night of the Proms
The Concert of the Year
Music for the Millions
The 'Promenade' concerts were originally begun by Sir Henry Wood in 1895 (the year before Marconi demonstrated any form of radio or broadcasting to representatives of the British Government), but have since become famous worldwide thanks to radio and television
More than one of her works has broken fresh creative ground, including a concerto for orchestra with what form of soloist?
Player of the 'musical saw'
Steel band (on oil-drum 'pans')
Quite a surprise!
In 2012 the National Youth Orchestra premiered Meredith's HandsFree. What was intentionally surprising about this performance?
None of the players were holding an instrument
Everyone was playing down their mobile phone and the overall 'mix' was relayed to the auditorium
None of the players were in the actual room where the audience sat
The music was made without any of the performers using their hands (e.g. to clap, click, finger or bow their instruments)
Yes, the music was all made using their hands, bodies and voices ~ but no instruments (and no written 'parts', either)
From Mozart's hunting-horns onwards (and probably before, too) musicians have enjoyed weaving natural and not-intentionally-musical man-made sounds into their pieces. Which of the following is genuine?
The Cuckoo, in pieces from Dacquin's harpsichord work of that name ... to Strauss' charming (if, to us, a little unfortunately-titled) polka Im Krapfenwald'l
Steam trains, e.g. Honegger's Pacific 321, Vivian Ellis' Coronation Scot and Sidney Torch's Wagon-Lit
Sandpaper and a traditional mechanical typewriter in novelty pieces by Leroy Anderson
All of the above
... And that's without starting on the work of Erik Satie, nor of the 1950s comic musician Gerard Hoffnung (who famously used a cafe-size espresso machine for the special effects in a dramatised cantata based on William McGonagall's wonderfully awful ballad The Great Tay Whale. And then there's zany bandleader Spike Jones (' ... and his City Slickers') with his cowbells and car-horns ... all great fun listening, in their respective ways!
Which of the following CANNOT be done by a human without special equipment?
You need shoes with 'jangles' (or 'clackers') on to make the specific noise; all the others can of course be done 'as-is'. (If you're one of the few people that doesn't know how to whistle ... too bad, we fear; there's little we can do about that from inside your computer!)
What was Meredith's first non-traditional composition?
Axeman for electrified bassoon
Wolves for sirens and synthesiser
Tides for recorded sound (waves, whale-song etc.) with nose-flutes
Cliff Face featuring live sounds of metal ladders and a concrete-mixer
The mind may well boggle! (See Axeman, just below the lower picture of her standing in the black outfit)
How does Meredith set about collecting her ideas for a new piece?
Sitting in front of her computer
With a blank sheet of music manuscript paper
With a blank sheet of graph paper
Sketching her ideas in graphic form onto completely blank paper
This appears to come across from the same Pitchfork article cited above
What was Meredith's progression of cities during her education and early career?
Glasgow ~ Birmingham ~ London
Edinburgh ~ York ~ London
Aberdeen ~ Manchester ~ London
Dundee ~ Liverpool ~ New York
These represent her schooling, university and music-college phases


Author:  Ian Miles

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