A friend recently sent me a link to a performance of Arthur Honegger's Pacific 231, popularly regarded as an orchestral homage to the steam locomotive. Listening to Honegger reminded me of Pierre Schaeffer’s Etude aux Chemins de Fer, a piece of musique concrète—“real” sounds of life, in this case the sounds of locomotives, put together as music. Music evoking machines, and machines evoking music. Evoking? Achieving? You be the judge. An orchestra playing Honegger is on YouTube here, and Schaeffer playing locomotives is here. Happy listening.
Above: a sketch from Locomotive of a musician, maybe, on the Johnson bar.