Michael Dyer


I was always fascinated by Rimsky-Korsakoff's "The Flight of the Bumble Bee" which I used to play on the piano. What fascinated me was that, when played at just a moderate speed, the piece would sound awful -- only when played extremely quickly would the chromatic notes begin to "merge together" to create the interesting sound-effect of a bumble bee in flight.

So I decided to write an instrumental guitar piece, titled "Hummingbird in Flight" that would be mostly chromatic in nature and would also require high speed to sound interesting.

Although it should remind the listener of "The Flight of the Bumble Bee" my composition is its own unique piece. "Hummingbird in Flight" contains musical themes that are completely different from Rimsky-Korsakoff's piece. Only one short theme is somewhat similar and is intended to remind the listener of R-Korsakoff's bumble bee.

Here are the the themes you will hear in "Hummingbird in Flight", in the order in which they appear:

1. Hummingbird trying out its wings (chomatic notes played relatively slowly and just at the very beginning of the piece).

2. Hummingbird hovering while rising up and down (consists of chromatic scale fragments -- 5 notes up/down -- played very rapidly).

3. Hummingbird darting about (non-chromatic riffs).

4. Hummingbird picking at flowers (consists of each note played 4 times in rapid succession).

5. Hummingbird feeding (consists of a guitar picking pattern with some strings being hammered/pulled to make interweaved grace notes).

6. Hummingbird sounding like a bumble bee (these brief chromatic riffs are similar, but not identical to, those found in Rimsky-Korsakoff's "The Flight of the Bumble Bee").

7. Hummingbird stepping down on steps of air (requires fingers to chromatically "crawl down" the neck of the guitar while crossing back and forth across two strings).

8. Hummingbird dancing (consists of non-chromatic riffs that employ Arabic scales).

Some of these themes are then repeated, followed by the hummingbird flying off.

9. Hummingbird flying off (consists of each note played 4 times, as grace notes, while jumping octaves, followed by notes played glissando while plucked rapidly as they rise past the upper frets of the guitar).


This is an instrumental piece (no lyrics) that is 3 min. 13 sec. It is NOT on any of my CDs. This arrangement includes some bass and keyboard. I imagined that the hummingbird is flying about just as a dark storm is brewing, so I add some synthesized sounds in order to give it a slightly ominous mood. I made this arrangement on June 19, 2007. If you're a guitar player and want the challenge of learning this very fast, mostly chromatic piece, then the musical score is available in the photo area, but please get my permission before using this piece (or any of my songs) in any commercial venture, thanks!

Join Michael Dyer Music Email List