TextsScenes from no Marriage
When I opened my stall at the serious music market about ten years ago, I was astonished to find that only scores were exchanged and traded there. Every time a customer left my stall with a score under his arm I asked him if he wouldn't like to hear what his purchase sounded like? The answer was mostly 'No'; he had studied how to read such scores and didn't need a recording. I confess that this always took a load off my mind, since I hadn't got one; the piece had never been played.
Long ago, the scoring of new music became a fetish, gaining ascendancy over the sounding result. Now the appearance of the score is of greater importance than what its performance sounds like.
The turn towards electroacoustic music, that is, towards the production of pieces for instruments and tape, or various combinations of instruments with electronic means, was for me the way out of the soundlessness of the symbolic score.
Conditioned by my contact with electronic compositional aids, I soon underwent a change in my way of working. I learned to compose by ear.The immediate acoustic feedback I get allows me, at any time in the composing process, to evaluate the result simply by listening. The work grows in front of my ears as a pointing before the eye of a painter. It is impermanently, that is to say always changeably, engraved in an electronic memory.
At the end of the work I even have a sonic result, a musical simulation, and I don't need to wait (sometimes months or years) until musicians perform it.
This simulated pre-performance in my own work room brings immense benefits, both in productivity and in the pleasurability of the work.
The work prozess is more important to me than the final result.
The first composition produced in this way was ...'und war es noch still!' for the Ensemble Moderne, first performed in Witten in 1989. This piece was generated at the computer, that is to say, composed by simulation. I worked without the depiction of notes, but rather with a kind of bar script, which only afterwards, when I was aurally satisfied with the result, was transposed into a score to make it playable for the musicians.
Simulation an composition are for me at the moment inseparably linked.
Today, the music industry offers systems with which one can simulate different sound situations relatively well. I can combine acoustic instruments, noise and purely electronically generated sound to simulate different unfoldings of musical events.
A doctor can simulate an operation. An architect can look at a building from the inside before the outer walls have been erected and a composer can listen to a composition before it is performed. We are living in a time of technological change. Cyberspace and other systems for the simulation of optical or acoustical processes are already being developed.
I am at a point where I have learned to accept the simulated form as a possible form.
For me, the method of working on a tape part is no longer distinguishable from that of working on a real sounding instrumental part. Only the material is different: for the instrumental part I work with authentic instrumental tones whereas for the tape part I process sounds and build up a virtual sonority,
A purely fictitious sound that has no body any more ...
Exactly this distinguishes electronic music from traditional music. Electronic sounds have no body from which they spring. When I hear a violin, I see and smell the violin; I see the violinist and I know that the sound comes from a violin. When I hear an electronic sound, a synthesizer sound, I don't know where it comes from. There is no optical counterpart.
The question is, what relation do the different forms of existence have to each other; the virtual and the real?
A musician plays an instrument on stage.
I hear the instrument live and see the musician.
A musician plays an instrument on stage into a microphone.
I hear the instrument through the loudspeakers and see the musician live.
A musician plays an instrument on stage behind a curtain into a microphone.
I hear the instrument through the loudspeaker and miss the musician.
A CD-player takes over the role of the musician behind the curtain.
I hear the instrument through the loudspeaker and ...???
Today more than 90% of all music is known to the listener only from sound carriers. Mostly it was never performed in real time, but was assembled only virtually on CD, tape or soundtrack. That whith sounds is almost never spoken of since it is beyond verbal judgement. In making decisions and evaluations, the ear follows different paths in the air than does the eye an paper. And here the wheel turns full circle I don't want to cling any more to note material, but to handle things more freely and I notice that I do not restrict or constrain myself so much any more.
... Often I have had on idea that was really spontaneous sometimes
only a mood or a feeling but it might take days or weeks to work
it through by means of o score, and already all spontaneity is lost. This
gap between the speed of ideas and their written embodiment has always
restricted me. I always wanted intuitively to escape this dilemma, but
I did not know how. After the experience of the last years, I suspect,
however, that the development of a brain-to-score (or brain-to-sound,
or computer) system is only a question of time: I mean, a universal recording
system for instant music recordings that will be, on the one hand, at
the disposal of the consumer for entertainment purposes and, on the other,
will constitute for professionals the basis for new compositional approaches
a system, far more individual than MlDl today.