Tour’s opening ceremony to feature ‘sounds of cycling’

Variety of bikes recorded to supplement the opening music

The opening of Stage 5 of last year's Tour

The 2014 Tour de France‘s opening ceremony is set to involve music with a special cycling twist. Acclaimed composer Philip Sheppard, who will conduct the orchestra and chorus of Opera North at the Tour’s curtain-raising event, has written new orchestral works based around the ‘sounds of cycling’.


Musical innovator Sheppard, who has worked with the likes of David Bowie, Jarvis Cocker and Jeff Buckley, has raided his own shed to record samples of bikes for working into the ceremony’s music.

“In a very, very rudimentary way, it was a case of setting up bikes of different sizes with different microphones and hitting them in all sorts of different ways,” explained Sheppard.

“The spokes, when you sweep them, make an incredible sound, and the frames have got their own pitches… and I can then take those pitches and build instruments out of them.”

Various bikes were used to record from in a variety of ways – including the use of children’s bikes and a tricycle, said Sheppard, who arranged all 206 national anthems for the medal ceremonies at the 2012 London Olympics.

“All of the rhythm parts and all of the electronica that I’m using… comes from bike frames. I was interested in the grass roots level of of it,” said Sheppard.

“The cheaper the bike the better the sound… Carbon fibre, when you hit it, doesn’t sound great.”

To hear a clip of the music that will be played at the opening ceremony by Opera North and Philip Sheppard, including the ‘sounds of cycling’, visit here.

Yorkshire band Embrace and Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh are also set to feature at the pre-race party at the Leeds Arena, at 6.30pm on Thursday 3 July at the Leeds Arena. 


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