Stockhausen – A piece of electro-acoustic music utilizing both synthesized and vocal sounds

October 13, 2010 · Posted in Uncategorized 

Karlheinz Stockhausen: “Gesang der Junglinge” (Song of the Youths) (1955-56). A piece of electro-acoustic music utilizing both synthesized and vocal sounds. The vocal syllables are derived from the “Song of the Youths in the Fiery Furnace” from Daniel. Unfortunately, due to the time constraints of youtube videos, the last couple of minutes of this beautiful and historically important work of Stockhausen,were deleted from this recording.”

You can find a great interview with Stockausen here. Stockhausen was given some music by Aphex Twin, Plasticman, Scanner and Daniel Pemberton. You can find his critique in the interview.

As this site is primarily about the gear:

“Going back to Kreuzspiel – that was around the time you first started using technology…

‘Yes. 1952 I started working in the studio for musique concrete, of the French radio. Because I was very intrigued by the possibility to compose one’s own sound. I was allowed to work in the studio of Pierre Scaeffer: I made artificial sounds, synthetic sounds, and I composed my first étude: Étude Concrète. At the same time, I was extremely curious, and went to the musée de L’homme in Paris with a tape recorder and microphones, and I recorded all the different instruments of the ethnological department: Indonesian instruments, Japanese instruments, Chinese instruments; less European instruments because I knew them better, but even piano sounds… Then I analysed these sounds one by one, and wrote down the frequencies which I found and the dynamic level of the partials of the spectra, in order to know what the sound is made of, what the sound is, as a matter of fact; what is the difference between a lithophone sound or, let’s say, a Thai gong sound of a certain pitch. And very slowly I discovered the nature of sounds. The idea to analyse sounds gave me the idea synthesize sounds. So then I was looking for synthesizers or the first electronic generators, and I superimposed vibrations in order to compose spectra: timbres. I do this now, still, after 43 years.

Remember this was composed before the synthesizer as an instrument wasn’t really invented although oscillators where available however digital samplers was not invented until mid 1970s. Even more, this was composed for a multi-speaker listening experience not unlike the current surround solutions, obviously lost in the Youtube track.


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