Angela's Ballet

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Delia created a piece of music which she called Angela's Ballet, later rebaptised as Gravel, for Angela Rodaway's radio play Death of the Jelly Baby, produced for the BBC by Michael Bakewell in 1964, consisting of "music created from EEG readings of Authoress Angela Rodaway and Michael Bakewell".[1]

... a collaboration with Angela Radaway (presumably a spelling error) referred to as "Gravel" in the BBC Written Archive (WAC R97/9/1) and "Angela's ballet" on Delia archive documents. Gravel, described as an "electronic ballet score" in a letter from Briscoe, was apparently played (along with The Dreams) at the 1964 Congress for Experimental Music in Berlin. The same letter makes reference to ECG graphs.[2]

Delia's notes "R.W - 26.7.63"[3] list Gravel as one of her immediate tasks, along with "Doctor Who sig" and "Anamorphosis", though its Radiophonic Database entry is dated 1964 and from "cost year" 1964.


The Performing Right society list of works by Delia Ann Derbyshire has:

Title: Gravel
Writer(s); Derbyshire Delia Ann
Publisher: BBC Worldwide Music
Creation date: 11 August 1999


  • According to the Tape Library List, Gravel was never broadcast.[1]
  • Played at the 1964 Congress for Experimental Music in Berlin,[2] most likely in the second week of October.[4]
  • On Attic Tape DD221: "Angela's Ballet 1 master": early version of Gravel[5]
  • In the BBC Sound Archive on tape TRW 6064: "Gravel", whose notes say that TRW 6062 contains two bands of inserts, then "Master", then a copy of the inserts" and that TRW 6064/A was originally "Gravel Speech Chords".[1]
  • In the BBC Sound Archive on tape TRW 4: Radiophonic Workshop Archive Tape 4 (1961-1964).[1]
  • The BBC Sound Archive's tape TRW 6667: "Gravel - Germany" is missing.[6]
  • When Teresa Winter tried to hear Gravel for her PhD thesis, Mark Ayres told her that both master and makeups were ‘sadly not digitised and in unknown condition”.[7] The copy on TRW  4 was not mentioned.
  • “there was also a tape labelled Angela’s Ballet, with the descriptive label ‘Early Version Gravel’ (DD221) in Delia Derbyshire’s archive at the University of Manchester. David Butler initially believed that the tape had not been digitised, but during one visit he came across two digital files labelled with the corresponding catalogue number. These consisted of recordings made from Derbyshire’s tape—the same tape played at two different speeds, as archivists had been unsure of which one was right while digitising the original reel. The tape contained a surprising piece of music of around twenty minutes, consisting of a very strong, regular, driving proto-techno pulse, a siren-like sound, and a melody centring on a major triad.”[8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The Tape Library List's entry for TRW 6064: "Gravel".
  2. 2.0 2.1 Message from James Percival to the Delia Derbyshire mailing list on 19th November 2012.
  3. DD074230
  4. The 1968 Congress for Experimental music was held from 7-12 October so, if 1964's dates were similar, the corresponding Monday-to-Saturday week in 1964 would be from the 5th to the 10th.
  5. The Initial Catalogue's entry for DD221.
  6. The Tape Library List's entry for TRW 6667: "Gravel - Germany".
  7. Teresa Winter's thesis, pp.91 and 92.
  8. Teresa Winter's thesis, p.92.