Kontakte

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Kontakte
Electronic music by Karlheinz Stockhausen
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F004566-0002, Darmstadt, Internationaler Kurs fur neue Musik.jpg
The composer in 1957
Catalogue12 · 12½
Related Originale
Composed(and realized) 1958 (1958)–60
DedicationOtto Tomek
Scoringelectronic (12)
  • electronic
  • piano
  • percussion
(12½)

Kontakte ("Contacts") is an electronic music work by Karlheinz Stockhausen, realized in 1958–60 at the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) electronic-music studio in Cologne with the assistance of Gottfried Michael Koenig. [1] The score is Nr. 12 in the composer's catalogue of works, and is dedicated to Otto Tomek  [ de ].

Contents

Work history

The title of the work "refers both to contacts between instrumental and electronic sound groups and to contacts between self-sufficient, strongly characterized moments. In the case of four-channel loudspeaker reproduction, it also refers to contacts between various forms of spatial movement". [2] The composition exists in two forms: (1) for electronic sounds alone, designated "Nr. 12" in the composer's catalog of works, and (2) for electronic sounds, piano, and percussion, designated "Nr. 12½". [3] [4] [5] [6] . A further, theatrical work, Originale (Nr. 12⅔), composed in 1961, incorporates all of the second version of Kontakte. [7]

Section and subsection numbers

The score is divided into sixteen sections with many subsections, numbered I A–F, II, III, IV A–F, V A–F, VI, VII A–F,VIII A–F, IX A–F, X, XI A–F, XII A1BA2, XIII A, Ab, Ad, Ae, Af B–F, XIV, XV A–F, and XVI A–E [and F].

Technique and form

According to the composer, "In the preparatory work for my composition Kontakte, I found, for the first time, ways to bring all properties [i.e., timbre, pitch, intensity, and duration] under a single control", [8] thereby realizing a longstanding goal of total serialism. On the other hand, "Kontakte is arguably the last of Stockhausen's tape pieces in which serial proportions intervene decisively at anything but the broad formal level". [9] The most famous moment, at the very center of the work, is a potent illustration of these connections: a high, bright, slowly wavering pitch descends in several waves, becoming louder as it gradually acquires a snarling timbre, and finally passes below the point where it can be heard any longer as a pitch. As it crosses this threshold, it becomes evident that the sound consists of a succession of pulses, which continue to slow until they become a steady beat. With increasing reverberation, the individual pulses become transformed into tones once again. [10]

Stockhausen also made advances over his previous electronic composition, Gesang der Jünglinge , in the realm of spatial composition, adding the parameters of spatial location, group type, register, and speed. [11] Kontakte is composed in four channels, with loudspeakers placed at the corners of a square surrounding the audience. With the aid of a "rotation table", consisting of a rotatable loudspeaker surrounded by four microphones, he was able to send sounds through and around the auditorium with unprecedented variety. [12]

Editions

There are several published editions of the score, in part because of the two versions of the piece, and in part because of the transfer of copyright from Universal Edition to the Stockhausen-Verlag in the mid 1990s. Universal Edition refers to both versions of the work as No. 12, whereas the Stockhausen-Verlag distinguishes the electroacoustic version as No. 12½.

Filmography

Related Research Articles

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References

  1. Morawska-Büngeler 1988, 109.
  2. Stockhausen 1964, p. 105.
  3. Frisius 2008, p. 132.
  4. Heikinheimo 1972, p. 115.
  5. Stockhausen 1964, p. 104.
  6. Stockhausen 1971, p. 384.
  7. Stockhausen 1964, p. 107.
  8. Stockhausen 1962, p. 40.
  9. Toop 1981, p. 189.
  10. Clarke 1998, p. 225.
  11. Toop 2005, p. 170.
  12. Maconie 2005, pp. 208–209.

Cited sources

  • Clarke, Michael. 1998. "Extending Contacts: The Concept of Unity in Computer Music". Perspectives of New Music 36, no. 1 (Winter): 221–246.
  • Frisius, Rudolf. 2008. Karlheinz Stockhausen II: Die Werke 1950–1977; Gespräch mit Karlheinz Stockhausen, "Es geht aufwärts". Mainz, London, Berlin, Madrid, New York, Paris, Prague, Tokyo, Toronto: Schott Musik International. ISBN   978-3-7957-0249-6.
  • Heikinheimo, Seppo. 1972. The Electronic Music of Karlheinz Stockhausen: Studies on the Esthetical and Formal Problems of Its First Phase. Translated by Brad Absetz. Acta Musicologica Fennica 6. Helsinki: Suomen Musiikkitieteellinen Seura.
  • Maconie, Robin. 2005. Other Planets: The Music of Karlheinz Stockhausen. Lanham, Maryland, Toronto, Oxford: The Scarecrow Press. ISBN   0-8108-5356-6.
  • Morawska-Büngeler, Marietta. 1988. Schwingende Elektronen: Eine Dokumentation über das Studio für Elektronische Musik des Westdeutschen Rundfunk in Köln 1951–1986. Cologne-Rodenkirchen: P. J. Tonger Musikverlag.
  • Stockhausen, Karlheinz. 1962. "The Concept of Unity in Electronic Music (Die Einheit der musikalischen Zeit)". Translated by Elaine Barkin. Perspectives of New Music 1, no. 1 (Autumn): 39–48.
  • Stockhausen, Karlheinz. 1964. Texte 2: Aufsätze 1952–1962 zur musikalischen Praxis, edited and with an afterword by Dieter Schnebel. Cologne: Verlag M. DuMont Schauberg.
  • Stockhausen, Karlheinz. 1971. Texte zur Musik 3: 1963–1970, edited by Dieter Schnebel. Cologne: Verlag M. DuMont Schauberg. ISBN   3-7701-0493-5.
  • Toop, Richard. 1981. "Stockhausen's Electronic Works: Sketches and Worksheets from 1952–1967." Interface 10:149–197.
  • Toop, Richard. 2005. Six Lectures from the Stockhausen Courses Kürten 2002. Kürten: Stockhausen-Verlag.

Further reading