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Stories Told

Robin Dawes, Daniel Scheidt

Programme notes

Stories Told (Robin Dawes, text) results from an interest in the common experience of listening to storytelling. In an attempt to explore the act of story telling, rather than any one particular story, the text is made up of a computer-generated pseudo-language. It is designed to sound like an intelligible language, but is important to Stories Told as speech that no one can understand. All listeners, regardless of linguistic or cultural background, share the experience of listening to a story told in a foreign tongue.

The text was generated by a program written by Robin Dawes. His software uses a statistical analysis of the Oxford English Dictionary to produce new words which exhibit the same distribution of letter combinations as English. These words have been grouped into specific phoneme classes to create four distinct ‘dialects.’


Stories Told was commissioned by Catherine Lewis with assistance from the Canada Council [for the Arts] (CCA). It was premiered by Catherine Lewis on November 13, 1989, during the CEC Electroacoustic Days, >convergence< at The Banff Centre for the Arts (Alberta, Canada).


  • November 13, 1989, Catherine Lewis, soprano • >convergence<: Concert 7, The Banff Centre for the Arts – Project Studio, Banff (Alberta, Canada)

About this recording

The present recording was realized at the Luscar Studio of The Banff Centre for the Arts in July 1990.

  • Composer(s): Daniel Scheidt
  • Writer(s): Robin Dawes
  • Year of composition: 1989
  • Instrumentation: soprano and interactive system
  • Commission: Catherine Lewis, with support from the CCA
  • Publisher(s): Yul média
  • Duration: 12:29
  • ISRC: CAD509110003