This score was composed for the concert cycle named Leitmotif (#12 edition) curated by Bernardo Álvares, to be reinterpreted/complemented visually by Nuno Martins and performed sonically by Yu Lin Humm, cello. The concert took place at Zaratan gallery, Lisbon, in June 2016.

The Flight of the Queen (an Ode to a Drone)
score by Mestre André (2016)
for cello Hummmmmmmmmmm…

[You are Queen, and the cello Drone. Queen manipulates Drone, has power over him.

A sonic drone of subtle variations is intended, spectrum dominantly horizontal like a field of flowers of different colours. Double bowing, re-tuning, preparation of the cello and resourcing to other objects or instruments is welcome, provided that the cello is not neglected. A Drone emerges…!

A laying worker bee exclusively produces totally unfertilised eggs, which develop into Drones. Because the male bee technically has only a mother, and no father, its genealogical tree is rather interesting. The first generation has one member (the male). One generation back also has one member (the mother). Two generations back are two members (the mother and father of the mother). Three generations back are three members. Four back are five members. That is, the numbers in each generation going back are 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, ... — the Fibonacci sequence.]


1. Cynara Cardunculus

1. Lavandula Stoechas

2. Echium Plantagineum

3. Cystus Striatus

5. Trifolium Repens

8. Melilotus Officinalis

13. Papaver Rhoeas

21. Brassica Oleracea

Transformations of a Drone

1. Egg (hatches on day 3)

3. Larva

9½. Drone is capped

11. Resting period

14. Metamorphosis inside the chrysalis

24. Emergence

Transformations of a Queen

1. Egg (hatches on day 3)

3. Larva Growth
When conditions are favourable for swarming, the Queen will start laying eggs in Queen cups. A virgin Queen will develop from a fertilised egg. The young Queen larva develops differently because it is more heavily fed royal jelly, a protein-rich secretion from glands on the heads of young workers. If not for being heavily fed royal jelly, the Queen larva would have developed into a regular worker bee. All bee larvae are fed some royal jelly for the first few days after hatching but only Queen larvae are fed on it exclusively. As a result of the difference in diet, the Queen will develop into a sexually mature female, unlike the worker bees.

8½. Queen cell is capped
Queens are raised in specially constructed Queen cells. The fully constructed Queen cells have a peanut-like shape and texture. Queen cells start out as Queen cups. Queen cups are larger than the cells of normal brood comb and are oriented vertically instead of horizontally.

9½. Resting period

11½. Metamorphosis inside the chrysalis

15½-17. Emergence
Piping describes a noise made by virgin and mated Queen bees during certain times of the virgin Queens' development. Fully developed virgin Queens communicate through vibratory signals: "quacking" from virgin Queens in their Queen cells and "tooting" from Queens free in the colony, collectively known as piping. A virgin Queen may frequently pipe before she emerges from her cell and for a brief time afterwards. Mated Queens may briefly pipe after being released in a hive.
Piping is most common when there is more than one Queen in a hive. It is postulated that the piping is a form of battle cry announcing to competing Queens and the workers their willingness to fight. It may also be a signal to the worker bees which Queen is the most worthwhile to support.
The piping sound is a G# (aka A♭). The adult Queen pipes for a two-second pulse followed by a series of quarter-second toots. The Queens of Africanised bees produce more vigorous and frequent bouts of piping.

Growth of a Queen

17-20. Virgin Queen
A Virgin Queen is a Queen bee that has not mated with a Drone. Virgins are intermediate in size between workers and mated, laying Queens, and are much more active than the latter. They run across the comb, climbing over workers if necessary, and may even take flight if sufficiently disturbed.
Virgin Queens appear to have little Queen pheromone and often do not appear to be recognised as Queens by the workers.
When a young Virgin Queen emerges from a Queen cell, she will generally seek out Virgin Queen rivals and attempt to kill them. Virgin Queens will quickly find and kill (by stinging) any other emerged Virgin Queen (or be dispatched themselves), as well as any unemerged Queens.

20-24. Nupcial Flights
The Drone penis is designed to disperse a large quantity of seminal fluid and spermatozoa with great speed and force. The penis is held internally in the Drone (an endophallus). During mating, the organ is everted (turned inside out), into the Queen. The eversion of the penis is achieved by contracting abdominal muscles, which increases hemolymph pressure, effectively "inflating" the penis. Cornua claspers at the base of the penis help to grip the Queen.

Death of a Drone

> 24.
Mating between a single Drone and the Queen lasts less than 5 seconds, and it is often completed within 1–2 seconds. Mating occurs mid-flight, and 10–40 m above ground. Since the Queen mates with 12±7 Drones, and Drones die after mating, each Drone must make the most of his single shot. The Drone makes first contact from above the Queen, his thorax above her abdomen, straddling her. He then grasps her with all six legs, and everts the endophallus into her opened sting chamber. If the Queen’s sting chamber is not fully opened, mating is unsuccessful, so some males that mount the Queen do not transfer semen. Once the endophallus has been everted, the Drone is paralysed, flipping backwards as he ejaculates. The process of ejaculation is explosive—semen is blasted through the Queen’s sting chamber and into the oviduct. The process is sometimes audible to the human ear, akin to a "popping" sound. The ejaculation is so powerful that it ruptures the endophallus, disconnecting the Drone from the Queen. The bulb of the endophallus is broken off inside of the Queen during mating—so Drones mate only once, and die shortly after. The leftover penis remaining in the Queen’s vagina is referred to as the “mating sign”. The plug will not prevent the next Drone from mating with the same Queen, but may prevent semen from flowing out of the vagina.