Copy of the Music Score, "Mr. Babbage is Coming to Dinner"!
Photocopy of a graphic score for chamber orchestra with hand colouring.
‘Mr Babbage is coming to dinner!’ It was a coup for any gathering in mid-19th-century England to secure the presence of mathematician Charles Babbage. Composer Barry Guy composed the work with pencil and ink on the staves created by himself. The graphic score was inspired by engineering drawings prepared by Charles Godfrey Jarvis, and Babbage’s texts concerning the production of his Calculating Engine. Babbage’s engines were the first automatic computing engines, some of which were programmable using punched cards, an idea borrowed from the Jacquard loom used for weaving complex patterns in textiles.
The movement of the percussionist during the piece echoes the relay of packets of information in Babbage's engine. Through the visual score and precisely choreographed musical movements, the composer calls on spontaneity and improvisation from the musicians.
Mr. Babbage is Coming to Dinner was performed at the evening drinks reception of the Crafts Council Make:Shift 2016 by Manchester Camerate.