The White-Crowned Sparrow

I've been quite taken with multi-instrumentalist Joe Weed's concept album, WALTZ OF THE WHIPPOORWILL (Highland Records NCD-201 1987). This is a lovely collection of tunes in the styles of traditional American folk dances, but based on the actual songs of American birds.

This tune extends Joe's concept to the song of the white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys). The sparrow song fits pretty well with a traditional jig, "The Bride's Favorite". This arrangement has a Celtic session flavor ... arranged for fiddle tuned GDAD, pennywhistle, virtual squeezebox, and guitar accompaniment. The beginning of the MIDI sequence has a couple of close approximations of the actual bird song. I used the transcription of "The Bride's Favorite" found at Henrik Norbeck's ABC Tunes website. Henrik's site is a marvelous collection of traditional melodies and folk tunes. The site offers the ABC format of melody transcription to ASCII text, as well as GIF images of the sheet music.

White-crowned sparrow songs vary considerably from region to region. This song variant is common to the sparrows that inhabit downtown Oakland, California. Oakland was built around estuary wetlands, so we humans enjoy the company of a great deal of avian (and other) urban wildlife ... some year 'round, others stopping by on their journeys.

This sequence uses the default pitch bend range. But if you don't play the file all the way through, then hit that old reset button anyhow ... just to clear other possible parameters which may affect how the next file is played.

click for MIDI reset