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Birds on the Wires ~ Jarbas Agnelli

May 11, 2014.Oliver.0 Likes.2 Comments


“I was eating breakfast and reading a newspaper
when I saw this picture of birds
sitting on electric wires
that resembled a music score.

I had an impulse to try that melody…”

That’s how Brazilian filmmaker and composer Jarbas Agnelli recalls the moment that has been this unexpected spark of inspiration. He cut out the photo and while playing the tune on the piano he realized what a “sweet, simple melody” just appeared seemingly from nowhere. The artist decided to turn this fragment of creativity into a classical arrangement and passed the piece on to photographer Paulo Pinto. Amazed by the tune he shared his enthusiasm with his editor, so Agnelli’s discovery ended up as newspaper interview and turned into a global internet phenomenon.

The multimedia artist wasn’t the first who had this idea and according to himself “seeing a score out of a bunch of birds sitting on wires is not the most original idea” either, but the composition resonated with so many people around the world. The intriguing idea of “reading nature”, birds “genuinely composing an enchanting symphony” or as Agnelli puts it “seeing poetry anywhere, depending on the way we look at things”. It was an impulse, a mundane observation that has been turned into a magnificent spectacle, a gentle one. Or using some musical lingo: “piano”, quiet…

“Silence is the fabric upon which the notes are woven. ”
― Lawrence Duncan

There’s also an official TEDx Talk from São Paulo including the artist explaining the story behind the composition and a live performance playing an extended version of the song along with other musicians.
(In order to get subtitles for the presentation simply enable “YouTube Captions” by clicking on the icon left to the “Settings” gear wheel at the lower right hand side of the video frame.)

{header image by Antonio Picascia, not the photo composed}

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Comments (2)

  • Dan @ A Cruising Couple . May 13, 2014 . Reply

    What an incredible bit of inspiration! Very cool 😀

    • (Author) Oliver . May 13, 2014 . Reply

      Hey Dan, glad you like it! A marvellous piece of creativity indeed… : )

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