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Music Boxes

Music Boxes


Nostalgia for Hand Crank Music Box

commissioned for the University of Michigan

(Re)Making Memory in Southeast Asia

single performer on 30-note hand crank music box This work is a critique of the motives of colonization of the timbre and auditory imagination.


I.Lover, sister, mother


II. Lullaby (on Nina Bobo and Ah! vous dirai-je, maman Theme Mozart K265)


III. Düş (Dream- Falling) (Min duration is full performance of three movements without interruption.


Max duration includes sheet retrogrades, inversions, retrograde inversions, and primes with tempo variations)

Program Notes:


Can Bilir had composed Nostalgia, built this music box, its analog scores, and scratch drawings on the scores in response to the Occidental musical singulars of European customs.


First movement in three parts, is a musical critique of the female protagonists and harmonic simultaneity of the Ghibli Productions.


The second movement is a counterpoint between an Indonesian lullaby Nina Bobo and vous dirai-je, maman (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) Theme Mozart K265. It has historical connection to Eva Gauthier's New York Tour (including one in Cornell University Bailey Hall) after her experiences in Java in early 1900s.


The music and keyboard has been dominated by the white male European genius composer. The last movement is in connection to the 19th century European harmonies and performative aspects.

The very feeling of nostalgia is a tactile friction between constructed codes of social imaginaries and the person's own experience of memory in his or her id and subconscious; which is an intimate personal manifestation of nows and the pasts.

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