"The Wild Elephant," page 2, by Michael Basinski


:a at after the

The Wild Elephant: a at after the is a sound poem for voices. The text was harvested from the book The Wild Elephant by Sir J. Emerson Tennent. - London: Logmas, Green, and Co. 1867. The text utilizes the first 105 appearances of the word elephant or a variation of words, e.g., elephants and a chance system based on selecting word after the word "the" and the words "a" and "at".

The performance of the text requires a minimum of 7 voices or an odd number of voices above 7, e.g., 9, 11, 13, etc., up to 105 voices. The more voices the greater the impact of the piece.

A central voice, voice 1, presents the body of the text. The remaining voices present the word Elephant, when it appears in the text, in some fashion as the text proceeds. An elephant presentation voice may simply speak the word elephant or modify the word's pronunciation, make the sound of an elephant or elephants, or a syllable of the word elephant may be substituted.

Each elephant presentation voice is assigned a number, e.g., 43: Voice 43 presents each appearance of the world elephant from 1 through 43 and then leaves the performance area.

The tone of the elephant presentation voices is expressionistic.

The text calls attention to the fact that each day there are less and less and less wild elephants in the world.

Michael Basinski
January 1992

If you'd like to perform this work, please feel free to do so. We'd like to see (and hear) as many versions of this work as readers of work at this site would like to make. Although the author retains all other rights to duplication of this work in multiple copies, anyone wishing to use the work as a performance score for non-profit purposes (charging money for maintenance of this and related projects, of not-for-profit arts centers, etc. is fine with us; surplus and corporate profit use is not) should feel free to print out as many copies as they need for their performers. If you do perform the work, please send a copy of the taped performance to:

Light and Dust Books
P.O. Box 4190
Kenosha, WI 53141

The recording may be used on either a recording of work by Michael Basinski or a general CD-ROM anthology of performances and readings of works at Light and Dust.

- Karl Young

Okay, let's get on with the Elephants!

Copyright © 1997 by Michael Basinski

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