The Shy Anne
by Dan Senn
Studio Recordings 1997-2002
Fifteen Improvisations on Hand Made Instruments
Total duration of about 40 minutes.

The Shy Anne Studio Recordings were released to promote a European tour of mine where some of the instruments presented here would be performed. The instruments from that tour included in this collection are 6 lyde instruments, a Fayfer and Shmoos Harp, these mostly recorded in 1997.

The works on the original promo CD were performed and recorded in the studio given in the banner, Shy Anne Studio, located on Cheyenne Street in north Tacoma. This wide open space was built in 1993, the first of 3 studios I built from scratch and by hand as I as roamed the globe. The nearby white house in the photo included a small ceramic studio, an amazing vegetable garden just outside (see Leeks, Center Left). Tacoma was a wonderful place to live.

Click recording titles below to hear work.
Please use headphones or an expensive sound  system.

01 - Ms Schlei (1'56") was performed on a Fayfer Harp, as described here. For this recording, the strings are struck by the frayed stem of bamboo. The work was titled as a tribute to my third grade teacher at Webster Elementary in Watertown, WI an exceptional woman even after I socked a fellow classmate (self-preservation) Jim Schuelke in his big metal cowboy belt braking my right hand. The upside of this was the discovery I was ambidextrous and that my grades improved when writing left-handed.

02 - Four Bells Turning (6'04") was multi-tracked using four lydes. In live performance a fifth lyde may have been added, me playing, or more if the audience was game, this track acting as backing sound. I have used this strategy often over the years with the version called Rybanaruby (2006), most frequently used. Turning a lyde with special mallets enables long tones of extraordinary timbral complexity and is akin to turning one's wet finger around the top of a wine glass.

04 - Es so einfach zu sterben (2'14") was performed on a Fayfer Harp, the German title recalling the last words of Carl Schurz on May 15, 1906. Schurz, born in 1828 in a castle near Cologne, Germany, lived in Watertown, WI during the time my childhood house, and now Studio FMEra, was built. Schurz was a musician, politician, writer and general in the American Civil War, plus a close friend of Abraham Lincoln, and has long interested me. The title, that translates to "It is so simple to die.", while evoking emotions, are a "retrofitted metaphor" playing no part in the making of the piece. Your reaction is of equal value.

04 - Thoroughfare 3'00",
05 - Waiting  1'16",
06 - Reasoning  1'20", 07 - Hovering  1'30",
08 - Close Call  0'45", 10 - The Approach  1'38",
11 - Whistling Through  (0'34") were all performed on a Shmoos Harp with which I interacted minimally. The Shmoos is usually played by applying manual weight or spin to the main resonator, this changing the length of the nylon lines threading the silver platter and the piezos (mics) above. The instruments is tapped, bowed, the frame struck, strings plucked or pulled using additional strings, etc. In this improv, the plate is put in motion by lightly pushing the horizontal edges of the resonator plate while responding to the preset mic tunings and degree of live amplification. Again, the titling is arbitrary amounting to "retrofitted metaphors" and played no part in the  improvisations.Your titles are of equal value.

11 - Big Brown Lyde (1'40") was made using a single found brown enameled aluminum lyde with its attached wooden handle pointed down, a  mallet lying flat on the inside of the bell, another mallet in my right (or left) hand. Panning effects were realized in post processing.

12 - Hissy Fit (1'47") uses a roughly turned mallet, the untreated end, to scrape the inside bell of a lyde causing a white noise/percussive effect along with the more typical lyde ringing sound.

13 - Bipolar Bird Cage (0'47") is a recording of a simple installation by the same name at the Cornish School of the Arts in Seattle—a sound stem similar to those in my Flutter Harp Schematic here. As an installation piece, the sound depended on patron interactivity as suggested here.

14 - m(me) (14'06") is a recording of me playing a bass violin with all strings tuned to E-natural using a cyclical bowing technique as described in a work by the same name presented here.

15 - Late Takes (5'15") is performed virtually on Scrapercussion #7 using Joel Chadabe's brilliant M software. This sound sculpture, now in the Sylvia Smith Archive at the University of Akron, Ohio, is sampled thoroughly and algorithmically performed via a Mac over a stereo sound system, this, while the actual sound sculpture was perform by audience members tossing coins at the instrument. A humorous work, coughing political overtones while sonically very effective. Invariably, I made the comment to the audience that "I like seeing money thrown at my art."

NOTE: The quality of these recordings is high but you may want to attenuate some of them. They were re-engineered in April of 2024, at Studio FMEra in Watertown, WI, USA. DS 040924

Dan Senn (Prague-Watertown) is an intermedia artist working in music composition and production, kinetic sound sculpture, experimental and documentary film. He has been a professor of music and art in the United States and Australia and travels internationally as a lecturer, performer and installation artist. He lives in Prague where he directs the Echofluxx festivals, and Watertown, Wisconsin, the USA, with his partner-collaborator, Caroline Senn. Dan's work moves freely between expressive extremes and languages depending upon the aesthetic joust at hand. Dan is cofounder of Roulette Intermedium in New York City, Cascadia Composers of Portland Oregon, and the Echofluxx media festivals in Prague. (read more).

Shy Anne Studio in Tacoma, WA, 2003.