Bubble and Squeak

Etude for Singer, Computer, Video Camera and Microphone.

Performance Instructions

This document contains all the information needed to perform Bubble and Squeak. A reduced performance score is also provided which contains just the important information needed in a performance.

Setup Instructions

A fast Macintosh computer with a Power PC processor is currently required to run the Bubble and Squeak performance software application although other platforms may be supported in the future. A good video card is important and a processor clock speed above 1.5 MHz is recommended. A DV video camera must be connected to the firewire port of the computer and set to send its live signal, and a microphone connected before the software is started. Please contact p@peterreid.org for the performance software.

The performer must be facing a computer screen. Ideally the audience should see a screen as well. Either a separate projector should be used so that the performer can face the audience or the performer may face away from the audience and use the same projector that the audience sees. Position the video camera about 2 metres away from the performer or so that they can reach the edges of the screen with their on screen reflection. The camera should be positioned directly in front of the performer, preferably above or below the screen. The camera can also be positioned directly behind the performer, and in this case, the 'm' key should be pressed in order to toggle Bubble and Squeak out of 'mirror mode'.

Position the voice a suitable distance from the microphone so that the input signal is a good level and the sound of the speakers is not picked up too strongly in order to prevent feedback.


The Bubble and Squeak performance settings are set to 'Prelude'. Sequences of broken triads are sung. Each note should be held for between about two and five seconds. The suggested note sequence below may be followed (transposed to any comfortable key) or new sequences composed or improvised by the performer. A pause is left between chords where the bubbles may be either left to pop at the bottom of the screen; popped by a wave of the performer's arms; or allowed to overlap into the next triad. The final tonic note should be held for about 10 seconds and the sound of the last bubble left to die away before the end of the piece.

Suggested note sequence

Suggested note sequence


The Bubble and Squeak performance settings are set to 'Game'. The same basic rules are used for each game, but each game has a different starting sound.

  1. The starting sound lasts about three seconds, generating about 12 bubbles.
  2. The bubbles are popped, preferably one at a time as quickly as possible.
  3. The resulting sound is imitated as accurately as the performer can manage.
  4. The previous two steps are repeated until there are only two bubbles left and they are both popped simultaneously or when the performer chooses.
  5. The game is repeated with the starting sound reversed.
  6. The whole game may be repeated as many times as the performer chooses.

The starting sound for each game is as follows.

  1. Glissando ascending from tonic to dominant (further if the performer is brave) and descending from dominant to tonic for second part.
  2. Vowel sounds joined smoothly: 'a e i o u' ( ay-ee-eye-oh-you) and in reverse: u o i e a (you-oh-eye-ee-ay)
  3. Detached consonant sounds: 'b t f g d' (/b/ /t/ /f/ /g/ /d/ in linguistic notation) ('d g f t b' in reverse)
  4. Unvoiced whoosh sound - the shape of the mouth is altered to create a white noise like 'shhh' sound with ascending pitch. ('sshhoouw' in reverse)


The finale is constructed in five short sections. For the first four sections, the corresponding nonsense word is chosen from the list below and repeated as quickly as possible, starting quietly and getting stronger until the first bubble bursts at the bottom of the screen. When the last bubble has burst, the performer may move onto the next section when ready. For the final section all the words are repeated all together. At the very end when all the bubbles are popped, shout a happy sound like hey or yeah!

The words for each section are as follows.

  1. kitty (unvoiced)
  2. chica (unvoiced)
  3. digga
  4. bogga
  5. kitty-chica-digga-bogga