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DATE: July 15 2003


Stuart W. Gerber

hereby submit this as part of the requirements for the degree of: Doctor of Musical Arts in: Percussion It is entitled: Karlheinz Stockhausens Solo Percussion Music: A Comprehensive Study

Approved by:
Russell Burge James Culley Allen Otte


A thesis submitted to the Division of Research and Advanced Studies of the University of Cincinnati in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of DOCTOR OF MUSICAL ARTS (DMA) In the Division of Performance Studies Department of Percussion of the College-Conservatory of Music 2003 by Stuart W. Gerber BM, Oberlin College, 1996 MM, University of Cincinnati, 1998

Committee Chair: Allen Otte, MM

ABSTRACT Title: Karlheinz Stockhausens Solo Percussion Music: A Comprehensive Study Author: Stuart W. Gerber Committee Chair/Advisor: Allen Otte, MM Performance Studies Division, Percussion Department, College-Conservatory of Music Karlheinz Stockhausen (b.1928) is one of the most well-known and influential composers of the past fifty years. From his earliest music, dating from 1950, he has exploited the use of percussion and has, therefore, contributed immensely to the growth of the genre. Although much has been written about Stockhausen and his music, most of it is theoretical and/or biographical in nature. There has been relatively very little scholarship regarding the interpretation and performance practice of his music. This thesis is an indepth study of Stockhausens three percussion solos Zyklus (1959), Nasenflgeltanz (1983), and Komet (1999) from an interpretive standpoint. Each of these pieces presents unique interpretive problems that are manifest in indeterminate elements whose decisions profoundly affect the final realization. Stockhausen leaves these decisions to the discretion of the performer therefore giving him/her a large responsibility in matters such as form, aesthetic, and instrumentation. The intention of this study is to create an interpretive guide to the aesthetic and technical demands that these works make on the performer and how to tackle these demands for the best possible interpretation.

Copyright by Stuart W. Gerber 2003 All Rights Reserved

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I wish to express my sincere appreciation to Allen Otte, James Culley, and Russell Burge for their support, scholarship, and willingness to serve on my committee, as well as for their guidance, insight, and inspiration during my advanced studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. My time at CCM has had an immeasurable impact on my artistic life. I am therefore indebted to these three incredible musicians. I would also like to thank my two other principal teachers, Michael Rosen, and Andreas Boettger, for leaving their indelible mark on my development as a musician. I am especially grateful to Karlheinz Stockhausen not only for the creation of these wonderful works discussed herein, but also for his willingness to help with this publication as well as interpretation of these (and other) works and his continued support of me and other young musicians. Finally, it is with the deepest humility that I thank my family: Thomas and Sarah Gerber, and Miquette and Barry Rochford. Their continued encouragement, and undying love have helped shape me as a person. Their support is immeasurable and has allowed me to follow this artistic path in my life. Without them this thesis and degree would not have been possible. Special acknowledgement is extended to European American Music Distributors and Universal Edition (London), for granting permission to reproduce excerpts from Zyklus as indicated below:
Stockhausen ZYKLUS Universal Edition (London) renewed All Rights Reserved Used by permission of European American Music Distributors LLC, sole US and Canadian agent for Universal Edition (London) Ltd., London

Special acknowledgement is also extended to the Stockhausen-Verlag for granting permission to reproduce excerpts from Nasenflgeltanz and Komet as indicated by:
Karlheinz Stockhausen

All scores, CDs, books, and videos of the Stockhausen Complete Edition are available from the Stockhausen-Verlag, 51515 Krten, Germany.


List of Figures Chapter 1. Introduction ....


1 3

Biographical Background and Repertoire Overview 2. Zyklus Overview Instrumentation

10 12 31 35 41 44 47 49 53 61 66 71 73 77 80 83 89

Interpretation/Preparation Period One Period Two Period Three Period Four Period Five Glissandi Period Six

.... .... ........ .... .... ....

Period Seven .... Period Eight Period Nine Period Ten .... ........ ........

Period Eleven ..... Guiro Glissandi ...

Period Twelve ....

ii Period Thirteen Period Fourteen Period Fifteen Period Sixteen Period Seventeen Score Preparation Conclusion 3. Introduction to Licht 4. Nasenflgeltanz .... ........ ........ .... 93 98 100 101 101 105 112 114 119 121 124 137 150 158 160 160 166 171 177 193 200 202


Synopsis of Samstag aus Licht Samples Instrumentation

Interpretation Conclusion 5. Komet

Synopsis of Freitag aus Licht Instrumentation-Acoustic Instrumentation-Electronic

Interpretation Electronic Manipulation Conclusion 6. Conclusion


iii Bibliography Appendix A. Discography 208 205


Figure Zyklus 1. Diagram of order of instrumental entry in Zyklus 2. Guiro gesture, period nine, pulses 25-30 3. Pitch collection in Zyklus 4. Photo of Indian bells


12 14 16 19 20 26 34 36 37 38 40 42 45 46 47 49 50 51 54 55

5. Photo of snare drum pedal mechanism 6. Period three, pulses 7-20

7. Instrumental attack density chart 8. Structure-type chart

9. Period one 10. Performance realization of period one, pulses 1-10 11. Period one, with delineation of measures 12. Structure-type two, period two, pulses 1-10 13. Structure-type three, period three, pulses 1-5 14. Performance realization of period three, pulses 1-5 15. Period four, pulses 1-6

16. Performance realization of period four, pulses 1-6 17. Period five, pulses 1-8

18. Performance realization period five, pulses 1-8 19. Marimba glissando period one 20. Vibraphone glissando, period two

v Figure 21. Vibraphone glissando period two, written out 22. Marimba glissando, third period 23. Vibraphone glissandi, fourth period 24. Vibraphone glissando period five 25. Marimba glissandi period five Page 56 57 58 59 59 60 62 64 65 67 68 72 74 75 77 78 79 80 81 82 84 85

26. Marimba glissandi period five, written out . 27. Structure-type six, sixth period, pulses 1-12 28. Performance score of the sixth period, pulses 1-12 29. Second gong gesture, sixth period 30. Period seven 31. Mandolin roll


32. Period eight, pulses 1-10 33. Period nine

34. Gong/tam tam gesture, period nine 35. Period ten, pulses 1-18


36. Performance realization of period ten, pulses 1-18 37. Period ten, pulses 19 through 30


38. Performance realization of period ten, pulses 19-30 39. Period eleven, pulses 1-10


40. Performance realization of period eleven, pulses 1-10 41. First guiro gesture, period eleven

42a. The hand position for the highest pitch on the guiro

vi Figure 42b. The hand position for the lowest pitch on the guiro 43. Period eleven, pulse 16-19 Page 85 87 88 90 92 94 97 98 100 102 104 107 108 110 111

44. Period eleven, guiro gestures in pulses 28-30 45. Period twelve, first 9 pulses 46. Period twelve, last 12 pulses 47. Period thirteen, pulses 1-6

48. Accelerando/ritardando gesture, period thirteen, pulses 19-30 49. Period fourteen, pulse 8

50. Period fourteen, pulses 22-30 51. Period sixteen, last 18 pulses 52. Zigzag tom tom set up

53. The tenth period as it appears in the score 54. The authors realization of the tenth period 55. The third period as appears in the score 56. The authors realization of the third period Licht 57. The super formula for Licht

115 116

58. Outline of the various days, and their meanings, in Licht Nasenflgeltanz 59. Layout of instruments, p.2 of score 60. Andreas Boettgers EX timbres

120 125 131

61. EX sounds this author uses in Nasenflgeltanz

vii Figure 62. Nasenflgeltanz p.1 Page 134 139 140 141 142 142 143 147 147 148 152 153 154 156 157 158

63. Nasenflgeltanz, measures 21-22 64. Hi-hat gesture, measures 57-58

65. Hi-hat gesture, measures 149-151 66. Hi-hat stroke m.68 67. Hi-hat gesture m. 112

68. Hi-hat gesture, measures124-127 69. Laurence Kaptains Nasenflgeltanz set-up 70. Andreas Boettgers Nasenflgeltanz set-up 71. Measures 27-8 72. Measures 21-30 73. Measures 61-72

74. German text with English translation of vocal line 75. Measures 11-20

76. Measures 117-121, EX sound 14 77. Measure 122 Komet 78. The twelve couples used throughout Freitag 79. The scenic form of Freitag 80. Harmonic content in measures 1-3 81. Instrument list for Komet 82. Measures 9-12

161 163 167 170 172

viii Figure 83. Text to Nachtmusik (Night Music) from Aus den Sieben Tagen 84. Page 1 of Poles Page 179 180 183 185 186 187 188 190 192 192 194 196 198 198 199

85. Performance directions for Hymnen mit Solisten 86. Measures 1-3 with percussion realization

87. Measure 6 88. Measures 94-5 89. Measures 103-106 90. Measures 10 and 11 91. Measures 109-112

92. Instrumental realization of measures 109-112 93. Measures 29-33

94. Measures 133-137 95. Measures 52-57, original score

96. Measures 52-57, percussion realization 97. Measures 78-83



Karlheinz Stockhausen has often been seen as an enfant terrible of twentiethcentury music. He has been in the forefront of the avant-garde for more than fifty years while his music and his personality have often caused great misunderstanding and animositymost recently his unfortunate comments regarding the September 11th 2001 attacks.1 Although one can argue with his utopian political ideals or ideas on the function of the contemporary musician, no one can argue the fact that he has been one of the most important figures in contemporary music for the past half century. Much has been written on Stockhausen and his music, probably as much as, or more than, any other living composer. He himself has contributed his own writings about his music and aesthetic ideas with his Texte zur Musik (now containing ten volumes) as well as the extremely detailed performance directions that accompany most of his selfpublished scores. In addition, there are two full-length books devoted to an introduction to his music by other authors,2 two biographies,3 four collections (in addition to his own

Since the initial aftermath of the these comments, it has come to light (mainly through his innumerable supporters throughout the world) that his comments (although questionable as to whether or not he should have said anything so soon after the horrible events in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania) were taken out of context by a reporter of questionable moral fiber and suspect integrity. Robin Maconie, The Works of Karlheinz Stockhausen, with a foreword by Karlheinz Stockhausen, 2d ed.(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990); Jonathan Harvey, The Music of Karlheinz Stockhausen: an Introduction, (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1975).

2 Texte) of interviews and talks dealing with his aesthetic and spiritual views about music,4 as well as a seemingly infinite number of articles appearing in journals and periodicals around the world. Yet very little of the aforementioned writing deals with the most important issue confronting any musician performing his works: interpretation. Despite all that is in print about Stockhausen and his music, he still recommends that interested performers study with him directly, or with sanctioned interpreters who have dedicated much of their professional life to playing his music.5 Why is this? Stockhausen has often commented on inferior performances of his music.6 What aspects of his music prohibit correct interpretation? Why arent his ideas transferable through musical notation and/or written theoretical analysis? How does one go about preparing and performing these difficult works at a level commensurate with Stockhausens ideals? This thesis will tackle the issue of performance practice/interpretation in Stockhausens solo percussion pieces Zyklus (1959), Nasenflgeltanz (1983), and Komet (1999). Each of these pieces presents unique interpretive problems that are manifest in indeterminate elements whose decisions will profoundly affect the final product. Stockhausen leaves these decisions to the discretion of the performer, therefore giving

Michael Kurtz, Stockhausen: A Biography, trans. Richard Toop (London: Faber and Faber, 1992); Karl H. Wrner, Stockhausen: Life and Work, trans. and ed. Bill Hopkins (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1973). Mya Tannenbaum, Conversations with Stockhausen, trans. David Butchart (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987); Jonathan Cott, Stockhausen: Conversations with the Composer, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1973); Karlheinz Stockhausen and Robin Maconie, Stockhausen on Music: Lectures and Interviews, (London: Marion Boyars Publishers, 1989; Marion Boyars Publishers, 1991); Karlheinz Stockhausen, Towards a Cosmic Music: Texts by Karlheinz Stockhausen, ed. and trans. Tim Nevill (Longmead: Element Books ltd., 1989). Michael Udow, An Interview with Karlheinz Stockhausen, Percussive Notes Research Edition 23, no. 6 (1985): 15.
6 5 4

Ibid., 17.

3 him/her a large responsibility in matters such as form, aesthetic, and instrumentation. The intention of this paper is to create an interpretive guide to the aesthetic and technical demands that these works make on the performer and elucidate how to tackle these demands for the best possible interpretation. The modus operandi for this study will be first to define what the specific interpretive problems are with each work: instrumentation, structure, context, aesthetic concerns, indeterminate features, technical demands, etc. Then, using writings by and on Stockhausen that deal with aesthetic and technical issues of his music, various published recordings of these and other appropriate works, as well as the knowledge and insight gained by preparing and performing his music for him in Germany, I will proceed to illustrate how a performer should set out to interpret these works.

Biographical Background and Repertoire Overview Karlheinz Stockhausen was born in 1928 in Mdrath, Germany, near Cologne. He studied music education, musicology and German literature at the Musik Hochschule in Cologne from 1947-51. He also studied in Paris with Olivier Messiaen in 1952, during which time he began to conduct experiments in musique concrte with Pierre Schaeffer. In 1951 he became associated with the Darmstadt Summer Courses in New Music, first as a student and later as a lecturer. It was herealong with other notable composers such as Pierre Boulez, Karel Goeyvaerts, and Luigi Nono (who had also been influenced by Olivier Messiaen)that Stockhausen began to implement precompositional techniques, more specifically total serialism, as a formal blueprint for his compositions. Stockhausen was one of the first composers to utilize total serialism, and

4 the rigor and necessity for pre-compositional design remains a part of his technique to this day. Darmstadt was also the forum where Stockhausen introduced his first music utilizing percussion. He first incorporated percussion instruments in Kreuzspiel (Crossplay) for piano, oboe, bass clarinet, and three percussionists, written immediately after his first summer of study at the Darmstadt courses. Influenced by Messiaens handling non-pitched parameters in permutational manner anagolous to that of pitch serialism7 in the piano work Mode de valeurs et dintensits, Stockhausen utilizes a pre-determined serial formula in Kreuzspiel to derive not only the pitch material but also the rhythmic values and individual dynamic levels of the instruments: i.e. total serialism. The culmination of Stockhausens percussion writing from the Darmstadt era is his solo piece, Zyklus (Cycle) from 1959. This work is important for a number of reasons. It was the first major percussion solo for a prescribed collection of instruments in the history of Western Music. Stockhausens penchant for pre-compositional formulas is evident in Zyklus as wellthough, as the title implies, it deals with cycles of notes and densities of sounds in addition to mathematically related values. Its construction allows the performer choice in performance but still maintains a formulaic distribution of notes and an adherence to an overall structure. The performer is often required to make decisions concerning specific ordering of notes and instruments and often has alternate phrases to choose from. Since the score and instruments are set up in a circular fashion, s/he must choose where to begin, and which way to travel, clockwise or counterclockwise, thus having a vested interest in determining the overall form.

Paul Griffiths, Modern Music: the avant garde since 1945 (New York: George Braziller, 1981),


5 In the mid-1960s, Stockhausen moved in a new direction. He became more interested in the unlimited sound world of electronic music and, later, with the unlimited intellectual capabilities of what he called intuitive music. In 1960, Stockhausen combined elektronische musik with live performers in Kontakte (Contacts, 1960): a work that explores the timbral qualities of the piano, assorted wood, metal, and skin percussion instruments, along with sine-wave generated electronic music. As the name implies, Kontakte attempts to explore not only each of the sounds individually, but to unite them as new timbres and seamlessly flow between all of the timbres, acoustic and electronic. He uses the electronic music on the tape as a means of transforming the acoustic sounds into electronic sounds and vice versa, as well as connecting the individual acoustic sounds (i.e. wood transforming into metal.) Mikrophonie 1 (Microphony 1, 1963) deals with sound on a microscopic level. A huge tam tam (1.55 meters in diameter) is exploited as the only source of sound material in this work. Four musicians, two with implements and two with hand-held microphones, play the surface of the tam tam in a number of ways, most of which are non-traditional.8 Two more performers, stationed at electronic equipment in the audience, amplify and manipulate these live, often subtle, sounds via variable-bandwidth filters and potentiometers. The result is a sound world never experienced before this piece. As in Kontakte, the electronics are used to produce new sounds previously unheard; but unlike the fixed tape music of Kontakte, the electronic manipulation happens in real time in Mikrophonie 1.

The percussionist plays the tam tam in a number of different waysfor example, scraping with a cardboard tube or popping a balloon on the surface, while microphones, situated directly above the instrument, pick these sounds and timbres up, many of which are almost inaudible without proper amplification.

6 With these aforementioned pieces Stockhausen not only established himself as one of the first masters of the genre of elektronische musik , but he defined another important aesthetic of his work: a preoccupation with sound manipulation and transformation. These ideas, which are so important to his electronic work of this time, begin to pervade his acoustic pieces as well. The other approach to music that Stockhausen worked with in the later 1960s is what he called intuitive musicmusic produced by an individual using only his/her intuition rather than rational thought. The most famous of these is the fifteen-piece collection Aus den Sieben Tagen (From the Seven Days). In this music Stockhausen gave up all traditional control; in fact, these pieces consist merely of texts, often only one line long, used as a vehicles for inspiration. They are not improvised, but are instead pieces intended for players who are able (in part through Stockhausens texts) to reach a higher level of musical consciousness. Stockhausen feels that he has always been able to do this, and describes his method of composition as being a process flowing from intuition.9 His composition of these intuitive text pieces was a way for him to try to bring other performing musicians to that same levelto create a new way of making music as a group. At about the same time as these intuitive pieces, Stockhausen produced a series of process compositions in which the score consists primarily of transformation processes. 10 Two notable examples are Spiral (1968) and Poles (1969-70). These process-scores exist as a means of manipulating and transforming short waves received at
Karlheinz Stockhausen, Towards a Cosmic Music: texts by Karlheinz Stockhausen, ed. and trans by Tim Nevill (Longmead: Element Books ltd., 1989) 36. Richard Toop, Karlheinz Stockhausen, in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians,, 2d.ed., Stanley Sadie (London: Macmillan, 2001), 24:399.
10 9

7 any given time via a short wave radio. This, in effect, has the same goal as Kontakte, but utilizes live electronics like Microphony 1 (and also a level of intuitiveness akin to his text pieces, such as those in Aus den Sieben Tagen). Hymnen (Anthems) for electronic tape, written between 1966 and 1967, is a huge work composed of fragments of nearly 200 national anthems from all over the world. It is in four parts (or regions) and last nearly two hours. More than merely a collage of anthems, his treatment and manipulation unite these works into a larger whole: a not-sosubtle attempt to create a truly universal piece of musican attempt at reaching a universal brotherhood. In 1967 he wrote Hymnen mit Solisten (Anthems With Soloists), which weds the mammoth electronic piece with the intuition of Aus den Sieben Tagen and live manipulation of Poles. The performers, unspecified in number, are encouraged, through a series of explanations and directions, to make contact with the electronic tape and to expand and transform it. Many of the techniques he describes for the soloists in Hymnen are very similar to the instructions in Poles. Now, however, the material is precomposed electronic work, not random short waves. The 1970s saw Stockhausens increased concern with divine inspiration. In works such as Sternklang (Star Sounds, 1971) and Musik im Bauch (Music in the Belly, 1975) Stockhausen took inspiration from star charts and dreams respectively. It was during this time that he first defines a direct connection between his music and another spiritual realm. With Mantra (1970), Stockhausen began to compose using a predetermined formula. In this formulaic approach he uses a relatively small amount of music (perhaps only a few measures long) as a means to generating an extended work. The Super Formel (super formula), as he calls it, then becomes a nucleus whose

8 properties are explored and expanded to create a larger work. He still utilizes this method of composition to this day. The year 1977 is pivotal in Stockhausens compositional output. In this year, he had the inspiration for, and completed, his first opera Donnerstag (Thursday). This was to be the first of seven operas in a cycle called Licht (Light), a project that occupied Stockhausen for twenty-five years. Five of the operas have been staged in their entirety and in January of 2003 Stockhausen completed the seventh opera of the cycle. Although various scenes have been staged, both the sixth and seventh operas, Mittwoch (Wednesday) and Sonntag (Sunday), are awaiting their premiere. His use of the word light refers to the almost universal use of that word as a divine source of energy and inspiration. He describes this further in an interview with Michael Kurz, Stockhausens biographer : The word Light came fairly quickly since that has been used, time and again, by our great teachers- whether Christ or Aurobindo, and whether within the sacred or profane sphere or in abstract philosophy. One person says I am the Light, or God is the Light, or Father is the Light-and another The Universe is the Light, Being is Light, or The Idea is Light. Light is obviously Spirit per se, manifestations of the Spirit. That is the meaning of this universal word, and it cannot be replaced by any other as the title of my work.11 Licht is thus a kind of culmination of Stockhausens already large body of work and a pinnacle of his compositional techniques. Kurtz describes the cycle in the following manner: Licht is Stockhausens Gesamkunstwerk ; singing, instrumental music, tape sounds, movement, costumes, and lightingeverything that happens musically or theatricallyis conceived as one unity. It is a work on the grandest scale with an equally grand goal: connection to a divine spirit, and perhaps an attempt at reconciling Mans relationship to the divine.

Stockhausen, Toward a Cosmic Music, ed. Neville, 85.

9 Although Stockhausens repertoire spans over fifty years and represents a body of very unique pieces totaling close to two hundred compositions, it nonetheless retains common aesthetic trends throughout. He has always been interested in breaking new ground and creating works that tackle a new sound world, or technique. He continues to show a fascination with the spiritual aspects of music and sound. Lastly, his music contains strong transformational qualities: he has exhibited an ongoing interest in how sounds change over time, and expanding the perceived time scale to thoroughly explore these changes.




Zyklus was written in 1959 as a test piece for percussionists for the Kranichstein Music Competition prize associated with the Darmstadt Vacation Courses for New Music summer courses. The work is dedicated to Wolfgang Steinecke, the director of the Darmstadt Courses at the time. Although Christoph Caskel worked with Stockhausen during the planning and composition of the piece, and performed the world premiere on 25 August 1959 during the opening concert of the Darmstadt courses, Hanz Hdler actually won the interpretation competition.12 This piece is the first major example13 of a work for a solo multiple percussionist for a prescribed group of instruments14 that, in effect, functions as a single instrumental entity.15 Zyklus shows the pioneering vision of Stockhausens compositional path, and is equally important for its historical significance as an early piece for solo percussion.

Karlheinz Stockhausen, Programme for the Interpretation and Composition Courses and concerts of the music of Stockhausen, (Krten, Germany, 2001), 44.


Although a few small precedents have been discovered, these works do not hold the importance

of Zyklus. It should be noted, however, that Zyklus is not the first example of a solo multiple percussion work. In fact John Cages 2710.554 for a Percussionist was composed in 1956. Cage, while prescribing four types of sounds produced by varying materials (metals, woods, skins, all other), does not prescribe which particular instruments are to be used. In theory one could use a single metal-shelled snare drum (skin of drum, wooden sticks, and metal shell) along with his/her voice to perform the piece. Although this would not necessarily produce the most interesting performance possible or follow Cages expectation, it could be donetherefore resulting in a work for a solo instrument. Steven Schick, Multiple Percussion, in Encyclopedia of Percussion, ed. John H. Beck (New York: Garland Publishing, 1995), 259.
15 14

11 Because of the historical importance of the work, there has been much written about Zyklus. Articles by Niel DePonte and B. Michael Williams cover the theoretical concerns with the piece, while articles by Jim Lambert and Max Neuhaus deal with some of the mechanics of the piece: how to read the notation, set up the instruments, and what mallets to use.16 While biographical and theoretical books by Karl Wrner, Jonathan Harvey, and Robin Maconie, focus instead on theoretical issues (all much more in depth than the DePonte and Williams) concerning the work.17 Yet, with all of the material out there, including some written by performers, there is very little in the way of performance practice. This is unfortunate, for aside from theoretical innovations inherent in a piece of music, it is first and foremost a piece of music: appropriate study should be devoted to interpretation for performance. Furthermore, Zyklus is not only of interest for its formal design (as will be shown below), but Stockhausen also utilized graphic notation to compose the piece therefore adding another level of difficulty to the interpretive process. Because the notation is not traditional the performer must spend a fair amount of time interpreting the symbols and gestures. Since so much theoretical analysis already exists, this study will deal primarily with performance-oriented scholarship: how one should realize the score to Zyklus to give a properly informed and accurate performance.

Niel DePonte, No. 9 Zyklus: How and Why, Percussionist 7, no. 4 (1975): 136-149; B. Michael Williams, Stockhausen: Nr.9 Zyklus, Percussive Notes, no. 3 (June 2001): 60-67; Jim Lambert, A Students Preparation of Zyklus, Percussionist 11, no.1 (1973): 15-18; Max Neuhaus, Zyklus, Percussionist 30, no.1 (1965): 6-12. Karl H. Wrner, Stockhausen: Life and Work, ed. and trans. by Bill Hopkins (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1973); Jonathan Harvey, The Music of Karlheinz Stockhausen: an Introduction (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1975); Robin Maconie, The Works of Karlheinz Stockhausen, with a foreword by Karlheinz Stockhausen. 2d ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990), 108-111.


12 Instrumentation The first important issue to tackle is that of the proper instrumentation. Stockhausen calls for a fairly specific group of instruments, and also includes a diagram of the appropriate positions for those instruments.18 Although the specific placement of the instruments will need to be decided by the percussionist (at least concerning the exact distances between instruments), the general placement prescribed by Stockhausen must be followed. The title of the work (cycle in English) refers to at least five different aspects of the piece.19 With regard to instrumentation Stockhausen says: The 17 periods of Zyklus and the two semi-cycles are characterized by timbres (instruments). I have arranged the instruments so that they encircle the player. The order of the instruments in which they successively enter and after 5 periods each drop out, is:
tom toms

snare drum


wood drums





Figure 1. Diagram of order of instrumental entry in Zyklus Thus during the course of a performance, the main position of the player rotates either counter-clockwise or clockwise (depending on the direction in which he reads the score for his version).20

Karlheinz Stockhausen, Zyklus: No.9 (London: Universal Edition, 1960), iii. Stockhausen, Programm for Interpretation, 43. Ibid., 43-44.



13 The general plan of the percussion placement as prescribed by Stockhausen is not intended for ease of performance for the percussionist; instead it refers specifically to the structure of the composition. However, within this pre-determined aspect by this wellknown proponent of total serialism, there is room for performer choice and innovation (as well as a need for clarification). The marimbaphone listed first is the standard marimba, common to all percussionists. The range of the instrument needed is only four octaves, C to c3 . An instrument of a smaller size, like that of the four-octave Musser Brentwood model, is a possibility. Its bars are of uniform width, so the instrument takes up much less space than one that utilizes graduated (thicker to thinner from low to high) bar width. If one uses a larger instrument (perhaps a 4.3, 4.5, or even a 5 octave instrument within this set-up) the extra barsthose not used in the composition which are those in the lowest range of the instrumentmay be positioned so that they extend past the four tom toms. This placement will relieve some of the many (already) difficult spatial negotiations required of the performer. However, there are two concerns with the marimba choice that should be considered. First, one should choose an instrument with a superior sound quality. Second, one very difficult aspect of Zyklus is the issue of balance and instrumental projection. As will be seen later, the work is highly polyphonic and it deals with very extreme dynamic contrasts. A smaller, uniform-sized bar construction does not have the potential to produce the louder dynamics as well as the instruments with larger, graduated bars do. In order for a performer to have the greatest dynamic range possible on the marimba, and to therefore have as many options as possible for interpretive ideas, it is

14 recommended that a four-octave, graduated-bar marimba be chosen (for example, a Musser M-150). The guero (guiro) refers to the standard notched Latin American gourd instrument. As Stockhausen prescribes, it must be affixed to a stand. Stockhausen utilizes a graphic notation for the guiro, as he does for the all of the instruments. With the guiro however, he draws lines that imply a shape, both in pitch and volume. To have the widest range of possibilities for the shaping of these guiro glissandi, a guiro that is extremely long, and, if possible, multiple guiros, is advisable. For example, one moment (in the ninth period) is written where the guiro has solo moment written as a simple up and down graphic (see figure 2): Figure 2. Guiro gesture, period nine, pulses 25-30

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This moment lasts about four time units described by Stockhausen as left up to the performer, ranging from MM=60 to MM=35. Since a guiro takes a certain amount of pressure and speed to produce an evenly sustained sound, if a performance is on the slower side (this author performs the work at MM= 38) this guiro gesture will not be sustainable on a smaller-sized standard instrument (i.e. c.15 cm.). A longer, perhaps homemade, instrument (c. 50+ cm.) will allow the performer to produce an appropriate gesture without sacrificing the proper time requirements of the sound.

15 Similarly, a common aesthetic thread that runs through all of Stockhausens percussion writing is that of constantly changing the sounds produced by the instruments. The constant goal of my searches and efforts: the power of transformationits operation in time: in music. Hence a refusal of repetition, or variation, or development, of contrast.21 With that in mind, a second, or even third guiro, perhaps made of different materials, is appropriate, and in fact desirable. This author utilizes two guiros, both made of bamboo, but the secondary instrument (placed above the vibraphone as suggested by Stockhausen in the set up drawing)22 is of a smaller diameter (c. 6 cm. as compared to about 10 cm. on the primary guiro) and the carved ridges are much thinner and closer together on the secondary instrument. This allows for a kind of dialogue and combination of the two similar, yet distinct sounds. Stockhausen also calls for two wood drums (African tree drums), each of which has two specific pitches. These instruments, known more commonly as log drums, are not to be confused with the plywood-headed tom toms he uses in Kontakte. It is standard to have two pitches per drum (or even more), but Stockhausens insistence on specific pitches is an issue because these instruments are not typically thought of as being tuned instruments. Instead, the pitches of a given log drums are typically approached by composers in a relative way, that is, one pitch simply being higher than the other. Stockhausen asserts, however, that for a correct interpretation of Zyklus it is imperative to use the correct pitches prescribed.23 The performer can either purchase instruments

Karl H. Wrner, Stockhausen: Life and Work , trans. and ed. Bill Hopkins (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973), 30.
22 23


Stockhausen, Zyklus, iii.

Michael Udow, An Interview with Karlheinz Stockhausen, Percussive Notes Research Edition 23, no. 6 (1985): 7.

16 with the proper pitches or make them. In the performance directions he specifies tuning of the wood-drums, tom toms, and cowbells to specific pitches from the collection seen in figure 3: Figure 3: Pitch collection in Zyklus

Each four-note set of log drums should comprise four adjacent pitches in this scale.24 Stockhausen uses these instruments again in Kontakte (1959-60) and limits the pitches further to F, B-flat, e , and a.25 As seen above, these four pitches constitute four adjacent pitches in the pitch collection for Zyklus; therefore it is recommended that one acquire log drums with these four pitches so that they are appropriate for use in both pieces. Stockhausen describes the suspended bunch of bells as bells of an Indian variety and/or [a] tambourine fixed to a stand, struck with a stick or with the hand.26 This instrument requires some discussion. There are no photographs in the score to Zyklus merely pictograms representative of the actual instrumentso it is difficult to visualize what Stockhausen had in mind. The score to Kontakte, which also includes a suspended bundle of small Indian Bells, includes a picture of the instrument Stockhausen had in mind. In the article Zyklus, Max Neuhaus includes a picture of the tambourine-Indian bell instrument he used. He says: With the suspended Indian bells and tambourine I


Ibid. Karlheinz Stockhausen, Kontakte, New ed. (Krten: Stockhausen-Verlag, 1995), IV. Stockhausen, Zyklus, iii.



17 found it necessary, in order to have a fortissimo that matched that of the other instruments, to construct a sort of spring cradle for it.27 Dynamic range is a very important issue concerning this instrument. On page 15 of the score, where the bells reach their peak of activity with nine attacks within an eight-pulse time span, the volume of the instrument (as dictated by the size of the note head itself) is the same as the volume of the rim shot tom tom attacks happening simultaneously.28 The performer must choose (or construct) an instrument capable of competing with the attack and sustain of the tom tom attacks. Neuhaus constructed an instrument by hanging a handful of Indian bells on a wire suspended within a headless tambourine. This seems to be the correct approach, one that follows Stockhausens intentions; however, upon hearing Neuhaus recorded version, 29 even with the addition of the Indian bells, this instrument produces a very dry and tambourine-like sound. It lacks the aural spectrum and dynamic capabilities intended by the composer. Similarly, the instrument used in the recording by the French percussionist Florent Jodelet30 also fails: in this version, the performer plays (what sounds like) nothing more than a tambourine with a head. It sounds much more like a skin instrument, implying a connection to the tom toms and snare drum, rather than the noisiest (farthest from a clear pitch) of the metal group. The performer must choose an instrument that fulfills Stockhausens relatively vague prescription of a suspended bunch of bells, yet

27 28

Neuhaus, Zyklus, 11. Stockhausen, Zyklus, 15. Karlheinz Stockhausen, Zyklus, Max Neuhaus, Columbia MS 7139 Karlheinz Stockhausen, Zyklus, Una Corda 202742



18 still be loud enough and unique enough to be clearly discernable as an individual, metal instrument on the noisy end of the noise-to-pitch continuum. After much experimentation, and help from Andreas Boettger (Stockhausens percussionist from 1985-2001), I found the key to this instrument to be in the adjective suspended that Stockhausen uses to describe the bells. He implies that this instrument should have some amount of resonance, therefore a simple tambourine placed flat on a table or music stand does not suffice. One very good solution is to start with a headless rock and roll tambourine. Rather than affixing this instrument to a cymbal stand via the hole in the body of the instrument and tightening it with a wing nut to the threaded spindle of the stand, tie three strands of nylon chord around the body of the tambourine and hang it freely from a cymbal stand with a boom arm. Then attach many strands of other types of bells (such as camel bells and varying sizes of Indian bells) to it. The idea here is to create a bundle of bells that will have enough bells to allow the performer to play the very loud attacks on page 15, and simultaneously have a rich and very colorful sound with a certain degree of resonance. This resonance will allow the bells to be combined with other timbres, thus meeting Stockhausens aesthetic aim of the piece. Figure 4 below shows a photo of the instrument I constructed. Although my solution seems distant from Stockhausens original description of the instrument, it fulfills the requirement while giving the performer a sound that will be unique to him/her. An instrument with sustaining capabilities (albeit somewhat random) such as the one described above will also allow the performer to sculpt this sound into the overall tapestry of the work more easily than the mere chink produced by a tambourine with a few bells on it.

19 Figure 4. Photo of Indian bells

Next, Stockhausen calls for a side drum. He writes: if the snares rattle too much when the other instruments are struck, they may be disengaged.31 An interpreter must be careful with this statement. The snare drum is clearly related to the other skin instruments in the set: the tom toms. However, on the continuum of clear pitch to noise as described by Stockhausen, this instrument represents the noisiest version of the skinned instruments. Therefore, the disengaging of the snares refers only to their sympathetic vibration when other instruments are played; when the snare drum is played, the snares must be utilized. This poses a huge problem in performance practice: there is not enough time before and after most of the snare drum attacks to turn the snare cables off and on. Thus, the performer must make conscious decisions as to when the snares are to be turned off when the drum is not in use, and when to leave them onresulting in the unacceptable sympathetic buzz of the snares when playing other instruments.


Stockhausen, Zyklus, iii.

20 Professor Boettger employed a most ingenious tool to solve this problem. He constructed a very simple pedal to attach to the snare strainer that allows the performer to turn the snares on and off with his/her foot at specific points in the piece. This pedal consists of two, light-weight metal rods: one c. 80-90 cm. long, connects to a nut and bolt affixed directly to the snare strainer. This rod runs perpendicular to the snare drum stand and connects at a ninety-degree angle to the second, much shorter piece of metal (c. 15 cm. long) that functions as the footplate. This footplate then attaches to a bolt (c. 0.5 cm. in diameter) in one of the legs of the snare drum stand via a drilled hole. The bolt anchors the entire mechanism to the snare drum stand (see figure 5 below). Figure 5. Photo of snare drum pedal mechanism

The performer then positions this foot pedal so that when s/he plays the snare drum, a simple tap on the pedal will engage the snares. As soon as the foot is removed from the pedal the snares are disengaged. While it may not be an essential device, it is recommended that the performer come up with a way to minimize the sympathetic

21 buzzing of the snares. If nothing else, the use of cable or gut snares (instead of the crimped wire variety) and/or the addition of a carpet or cardboard barrier around the instrument will greatly reduce the coloring of other sounds by the sympathetic vibrations on the snares. The four tom toms prescribed by Stockhausen are, for the most part, relatively self-explanatory and require only a brief discussion. It should be noted that these instruments have two purposes. On the one hand, they represent the clearest of the skinned instruments with regard to pitch. Secondly, Stockhausen utilizes the somewhat specialized technique of the rim shot (concurrently striking the head and the rim of the drum) as a second, noisier sound. Although tom toms usually fall within the realm on non-pitched instruments, Stockhausen makes it clear that in this work (and indeed all of his other works that utilize them)32 the tom toms are to be tuned very specifically to pitches chosen from the same pitch collection mentioned in reference to the log drums (see figure 3 above).33 One possibility for the tom toms that works quite well is: 16, 14, 12 and 10 drums tuned to F#2 , B2 , F, and Bb respectively. This combination holds true to the pitch collection Stockhausen established, and it also contains the correct pitches for Kontakte, again illustrating a connection between these two pieces.34 In addition to the specific pitch of the tom toms, Stockhausen employs a more colored, less pitch-specific tom tom sound: the rim shot. This sound is very important to


Kreuzspiel, Grppen, Kontakte, and Nasenflgeltanz all utilize tom toms tuned to specific


Stockhausen, Zyklus, iii. Stockhausen, Kontakte, VII.


22 the structure of the work (it functions as its own cycle, separate from that of the tom toms), and also represents a sound that is one step noisier than the relatively clear pitch of the tom toms. The performer must make every attempt to clearly differentiate between the traditional sound of the tom toms and the sound of the rim shots on the tom toms. There is one more question regarding the tom toms: should one use single-headed or double-headed instruments? There are two considerations to be made with respect to this issue, which are 1) clarity of pitch and 2) resonance of the instruments. In Michael Udows interview with Stockhausen, the composer states that he would prefer twoheaded instruments because they [single-headed drums] dont carry far enough in context, as in Zyklus where the membrane instruments mix with the metal instruments.35 However, it is much more difficult to tune a double-headed drum to a clear, single pitch. For that reason it is advised to utilize the above drum sizes, but to use single-headed instruments. While it is true that one will lose a little resonance, a clear tuning of these drums is important to help elucidate the form and pitch content of the work, as well as to differentiate clearly between the pitched normal strokes and the noisier rim shots. The two suspended cymbals may also be chosen largely at the discretion of the performer. There is no pitch concern, nor does Stockhausen mention the color of the cymbals, such as light, medium, or dark. In the performance directions he specifies that the percussionist should continually vary the striking point; he also uses a different pictogram to instruct the performer to play the respective cymbal in the center, that is, on the bell of the cymbal.36 This is a common thing for Stockhausen to do, since one of his

Michael Udow, An Interview with Karlheinz Stockhausen, Percussive Notes Research Edition 23, no. 6 (1985): 8.


Stockhausen, Zyklus, iii.

23 main aesthetic concerns is the idea of constant transformationhe does not like a single aspect of the music to repeat itself. In fact, on a macro level, he feels that each of his works explores a new idea, and once he finishes a work he should not waste his time (or in fact the audiences) with another work exploring the same issue. He strives to create a new and unique work with every piece.37 We see this aspect here on a micro level as well: the performer, when playing the cymbals (gong and tam tam too) is not only encouraged, but expected, to vary the sound of the instrument. A percussionist setting about to prepare Zyklus should take this into consideration, choosing two cymbals that are two different sizesbut as they are approached as one instrument, they should cover a wide spectrum of pitch and color. Stockhausen comments on another possible suspended cymbal interpretation. He talks about approaching this piece as a polyphonic work created through a superimposition (layering) of soundsmeaning longer sustaining instruments will benefit the performance. He goes on to specify the following about the cymbals: I have recommended building a cymbal tree rather than using one single cymbal (three to four cymbals mounted on top of each other at one stem and connected with small chains). When you strike one cymbal, a process starts that lasts a half minute or even longer. You then start another instrument ringing so that you get very long resonances superimposing. You can build up a whole polyphonic piece out of this solo piece based on a linear method of playing.38 Since the hi-hat is a similar instrument to the suspended cymbals, it can be approached in much the same way. Stockhausen employs two types of notation for the hihatone to represent the instrument closed and struck with a stick (or closed sharply

Mya Tannenbaum, Conversations with Stockhausen, trans. David Butchart. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), 27.


Michael Udow, An Interview with Karlheinz Stockhausen, 18.

24 using the pedal) and the other to show the hi-hat open, and allowed to ring. It is suggested that two hi-hats be employed, one which remains open, and the other closed. This eliminates the percussionists concerns about getting his/her foot into position to depress the foot pedal every time a closed hi-hat note occurs. The set up is, by nature, very tight; if the percussionist can keep his/her feet free then s/he will be as nimble as possible when performing. The use of two hi-hats also encourages more sound sources. It is suggested that the open instrument consist of two very long sustaining cymbals. This author uses a pair of fifteen-inch Istanbul hi-hat cymbals. The top cymbal is affixed about one and a half inches above the bottom cymbal. In addition, the bottom cymbal is angled at about thirty-five degrees, actually touching the top cymbal very slightly. Ideally, the touching of the cymbals will not hinder sustain, but is intended to function much like the aforementioned chains which Stockhausen suggested could connect the suspended cymbals. This open hi-hat sound should have a definite sizzle to it. The closed hi-hat should not be closed too tightly. Instead, the top cymbal should rest on the lower cymbal, but should be affixed to the stand via the clutch, so that the sound is a bit mushy. If the top cymbal is too tight, the closed sound will be short, but the upper range of the dynamic will suffer. If the two cymbals of this hi-hat are just loose enough, they will shift together when struck and give a very full sound that can also be reproduced quite loudly. For this instrument it is suggested that one use a lighter pair of cymbals that are not too heavy; they can move a little on the stand, and therefore resonate just enough. In addition to a clean execution of the two distinct sounds (open and closed), the percussionist can manipulate these instruments to create gestures unique to his/her

25 realization. For example, in the third period (see figure 6) the structure is variable; utilizing both of these instruments in this section will result in an interesting realization. Beginning in the twelfth pulse, the guiro is followed directly by a rim shot on the lowest tom tom. It is followed by an acceleration/deceleration figure in the hi-hat, beginning with four notes on the closed instrument, thirteen on the open, and three final notes on the closed again. Using two instruments allows the percussionist to begin the hihat figure simultaneously with the rim shot. This could be done with one instrument as well, but it is much more difficult because of the awkwardness of having to depress the pedal at the same time as striking the rim shot and hi-hat. At the end of the thirteen-note accelerando on the open hi-hat, the sound moves abruptly to the closed instrument for the very abrupt slowing down of the figure. This would be a moment when the percussionist had five pulses (fourteen through nineteen) to place his/her foot on the pedal and abruptly close the open high hat when s/he goes to the closed instrument. Then for the last three notes s/he can alternate between both instruments, which are both closed. This creates not only a transformation in speed of notes and general timbre of the instrument as are prescribed in the written gesture, but satisfies Stockhausens desire for a constantly changing playing spot on the cymbals. Using two instruments ensures the consistency of two distinct hi-hat sounds and is also logistically easier for the performer.

26 Figure 6. Period three, pulses 7-20

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27 As with the cymbals and hi-hat, the triangle may be represented by two or more instruments. Unlike the cymbals, Stockhausen notates the triangle part with only one note, but using multiple timbres for this instrument will give a wider range of sounds to the percussionist (as well as help with possible logistic problems one will encounter when using just one instrument). The percussionist should make every attempt to play all triangle notes with a metal beater, thus creating a traditional orchestral sound. The vibraphone specified by Stockhausen is a typical three-octave size, F to f2 . The most important thing to consider when choosing the instrument is that it have as much resonance as possible. Stockhausen describes a Deagan Traveler vibraphone he purchased: The only vibraphone I found . . . that had an even decay was the Deagan Traveler, which I bought.39 His desire is to hear an instrument that has as even a decay as possible throughout its entire range. The Deagan Traveler, though obsolete, has nongraduated bars that all sustain roughly evenly. With a similar instrument the performer can best layer vibraphone sounds with as many other instruments as possible. Because the motor is not used at all, the resonator fans should be placed in a perfectly perpendicular position, thus enhancing the resonance of the instrument. (It should be noted that some vibraphones are designed for maximum resonance with the fans at a forty-five degree angle). Stockhausen describes the four cowbells as either frog mouth and/or flat. These two styles have essentially the same type of sound; the frog mouth variety has a much more bulbous shape to the body of the bell, whereas the flat type is more slender. It is crucial to select four instruments each with a clear pitch. The pitches, like the log drums and tom toms, are to be chosen from the same pitch collection prescribed by Stockhausen

Udow, Stockhausen Interview, 9.

28 (see figure 3 above). It is suggested that the cowbells fill out the upper half of the prescribed pitches Bb, e , a, and d#1 (these also happen to be the correct pitches needed for Kontakte). James Lambert says four different pitched cowbells should be arranged in proper pitch order. The Swiss heldenglocken are preferred, though ordinary cowbells may be substituted. If necessary, different pitches may be obtained by filing the cowbells, thus raising the pitch.40 The term Swiss heldenglocken or Swiss hero bells is most likely a misprint. He is implying herdenglocken, or almglocken (alm meaning alpine pasture). However, it is not appropriate to substitute ordinary Latin-American cowbells, even if the pitches are correct. These instruments are relatively dry, and Stockhausen requires that these instruments, like many discussed already, be as resonant as possible. He says: However, it does not make sense to replace individual prescribed instruments by less refined ones, as has often happened. For instance, one interpreter replaced the cowbells, which should resonate as long as possible with as many partials (overtones) as possible and one main pitchnot necessarily the fundamentalby the very dull and unresonant [sic] cencerros. [Latin American cowbells]41 Therefore, the percussionist must acquire the proper Swiss-style instruments. These are becoming more regularly available from percussion specialty stores in the United States as well as in Europe. The problem, as with many percussion instruments, is that each cowbell made has a very unique sound, and the length of resonance varies from instrument to instrument. Furthermore, the tuning of the instruments is often haphazard. Therefore, it is recommended that the performer visit the store personally and choose the correct pitches with the best, most resonant sound. The other issue to consider with the cowbells is the way in which they are mounted. In the score to Zyklus, Stockhausen does not prescribe how to mount the

James Lambert, A Students Preparation of Zyklus, Percussionist 11, no.1 (1973): 17. Karlheinz Stockhausen, Program 2001, 44.


29 instruments. The score of Kontakte shows the instruments affixed to a stand in such a way that the mouth of the bell is parallel to the ground, in the same way that the playing surface of a vibraphone is parallel to the ground. Also, cowbells mounted this way can be placed very close to another instrument, such as the vibraphone. However, the main disadvantage with this parallel mounting is the handle of the cowbell must be tightened to the stand with a hose clamp, or something similar. This then transfers some of the vibrations made when the instruments are struck to the stand, therefore dampening their resonance. The best mounting solution is to suspend the bells perpendicularly on a rack, much like a gong. To do this, tie two nylon chords to the handle of the bell and hang it on a rack. This allows the bell to vibrate freely and thus resonate as long as possible. In spite of the pictures that appear in the score to Kontakte as well as in the pictures of the set ups in the articles by Lambert and Neuhaus (all of which show the bells mounted horizontally), Stockhausen states his preference for a suspended cowbell: Boulez then went to the factory and bought three complete chromatic octaves of cowbells. He later mounted them in a fashion where the cowbells didnt resonate anymore because they were mounted horizontally. Caskel, who performed the premiere [of Zyklus] later, mounted them that way too. . . the sound was dead. There was no resonance anymore. One must mount them in an extremely careful way, . . . I would recommend stands that allow the cowbells to hang vertically so the musician is standing.42 To achieve that ideal sound, and for the player to be able to play the instruments comfortably, it is suggested that a rack roughly two meters high be employed and that the cowbells be hung on the rack by two looped nylon chords (ca.10 cm long). This will allow the bells to be high enough so that the player can strike them at the edge of the mouth comfortably, without having to bend over. These may then be hung directly over the vibraphone in order to adhere to Stockhausens set up diagram in the score.

Udow, Interview with Stockhausen, Percussive Notes Research Edition, 6.

30 This brings us to the final two instruments, the gong and the tam tam. The player is instructed (when no other beater is specified) to play the gong with a soft beater and the tam tam with a hard beaterand again, the striking point is to be varied continually.43 That instruction in and of itself is telling. The tam tam, the less-defined instrument pitchwise, is to be played primarily with a harder beater: one that will bring out the noisier quality of the instrument by highlighting the upper partials rather than the fundamental pitch. Conversely, the clear, well-defined pitch of the gong will be brought out with the use of a softer beater. These two instruments should be thought of as two individuals functioning in a very similar way to cover the bass range of the total instrument. The gong, which should be a button or nipple gong coming from either Thailand or Indonesia, needs to have a very clear pitch to contrast with the noisy sound of the tam tam. Surprisingly, Stockhausen does not specify which pitch to use; but referring to his aforementioned pitch collection (figure 3 above), a viable suggestion would be to use a C1 or F#1 gong. The instruments with prescribed pitches (log drums, tom toms, cowbells and gong) would then cover all of the correct pitches laid out by Stockhausen. The tam tam, typically, is of indefinite pitch. However, as is now common with Stockhausens aesthetic, one could consider fitting the tam tam into the pitch scheme as well. It should be noted here that in later works Stockhausen has viewed the tam tam as a very important instrument, and one capable of supplying enough musical material to sustain an entire work.44 In other works he also prescribes tam tams with specified fundamental pitches. In Oberlippentanz (Upper Lip Danz, 1983) from Samstag aus Licht,


Stockhausen, Zyklus, iii. Karlheinz Stockhausen, Mikrophonie I Universal Edition, 1964.


31 for example, he calls for three tam tams pitched Ab2 , C1 , and E1 .45 With that in mind it is logical to propose that one should carefully choose the fundamental pitch of the tam tam for Zyklus. A good solution would be to have the tam tam be a C1 and the gong will then be the adjacent pitch of F#1 . Then all of the instruments will fit into the pitch scheme, and furthermore, there will be an overlap and connection between the instruments and the pitches. For example (from the bottom) the range and appropriate instruments will be: tam tam; gong; tom toms (with the lowest pitch in unison with the gong); log drums (with the lowest two pitches overlapping the upper two pitches of the tom tom); and cowbells (again overlapping the lower two pitches with the upper two of the log drums).

Interpretation/Preparation The articles by Lambert and Neuhaus deal with some practical issues regarding the preparation of the piece. For that reason this study will cover some of these aspects, but will leave many to the discretion of the performer and recommend that s/he study these articles in depth. The performers first step in realizing this work is to choose the direction in which the score will be read: clockwise or counterclockwise. The score deals with statistical structures varying in degrees of indeterminacy. Aesthetically, the decision of which direction the score will be read in will result in either a moving toward (counterclockwise) or away from (clockwise) precisely controlled parameters.46 This decision can be based on purely aesthetic and/or psychological concerns: for example, if the

45 46

Udow, An Interview with Stockhausen, 23. Karlheinz Stockhausen, Texte Zur Musik , ii (Cologne, 1964), 73.

32 percussionist wishes to make a statement in favor of progressing away from the highly controlled parameters to structures that are more free by nature, s/he would choose a clockwise interpretation. Though some performers have attempted to familiarize themselves with the notation of the work to allow a spontaneous realization, 47 this is not Stockhausens intent. I have never heard a successful recording or performance done in this way.48 The score is to be interpreted and worked out by the performer over an extended period of time allowing ample experimentation on his/her part. In performance, the piece will be a fixed, determinate entity, carefully sculpted by the performer. It is also suggested that the performer familiarize him/herself with the work through listening to as many recordings as possible. Currently, there are nine recordings of the work, most of which are not sanctioned by the composer. The first approved recording of the work is by Christoph Caskel (originally released in 1961 on Time records, now available as CD #6 through the composers publishing company, Stockhausen-Verlag, 51515, Krten, Germany). This recording is a bit outdated (recording quality, instrument choice, etc.) and was done while the piece was still in its infancy, but it is a recording supervised by Stockhausen and is therefore quite valuable. Other recordings should be consulted as welleven those publicly acknowledged by Stockhausen as wrong 49 which can give the performer some insight as to what not to do. Listening to various recordings will also let the performer hear how different starting


Max Neuhaus has actually recorded such a version on Columbia MS 7139 in 1968. Stockhausen, Programme for Interpretation Course, 2001, 44.

48 49

There is a Japanese girl [Sumire Yoshihara] who played Zyklus on record, and I was really shocked by the quality. Udow, An Interview with Karlheinz Stockhausen,16.

33 points, as well as the different directions of the performances, sound. (See the complete discography in appendix A at the end of this paper with all of the available recordings of Zyklus). Once the direction is chosen, the performer may begin work on the specifics of the piece. Since the order of the pages is cyclic, the starting point can be experimented with after much of the score is learned. Max Neuhaus includes a reprint of the first page of his realization in his article.50 He begins the work on page ten with the guiro gesture in the sixth pulse; however this is contrary to Stockhausens intent. Although it is clear that the piece is put together in a circular manner, the performer must begin at the beginning of a period, i.e. the beginning of a page.51 When choosing a starting point, one can think in terms of structure. Stockhausen cycles through both the determinate and indeterminate structure-types; simultaneously bringing nine of the instruments to maximum density at clearly defined points throughout the work. Figure 7 below shows the points of maximum density through the seventeen periods. One approach is to select the starting point of the realization based on the density or sparseness of a given instrument.


Neuhaus, Zyklus, 12. Stockhausen, Programme for Interpretation Course, 2001, 43.


34 Figure 7. Instrumental attack density chart

Karlheinz Stockhausen

For example, one could choose the seventeenth period (page 1, top half) with the explosive tom tom rim shots to begin the piece at the peak of the tom tom activity. Conversely, beginning with an even-numbered page (such as page 4) will result in a much more subdued start. Of course, any starting point, as long as it is at the beginning of a period, is correctthe choice is up to the performer, and experimentation with many different starting points is encouraged as wok progresses on the piece. For simplicity, in this study I will begin with the first period (page 1 bottom) reading left to right, counterclockwise. As stated at the outset of this document, the performer will achieve the most accurate and interesting realization of this work only if s/he thinks compositionally. The indeterminate elements of the workthe material that can be moved around and/or left

35 outneed careful consideration as to how they are used by the performer within the context of the non-variable material on the main time line. In Michael Udows interview Stockhausen describes this work in terms of polyphony. I am interested at the very beginning of a new work in creating my own sounds. And creating my own sounds means mixing, and mixing with the traditional instruments means, superimposition of different instruments, which results in complex sounds that cannot be analyzed anymore. So what I really want is that, when a percussion player makes his own version of Zyklus, he creates sound complexes that are his own, the result of the superimposition of several instruments, and you cannot analyze how he made them. . . . and by this create fantastically mysterious sound complexes. . . . . . . This whole work with different diagonals of timbre is what I call the complex sound mixture. Timbre melodies horizontalize [sic] complex sounds in which components form the timbre melody. The continuum between complex sound and timbre melody, with all the degrees in between, has fascinated me since the very beginning of my work. My percussion music is part of this whole research in the new structured timbre composition. A most complex timbre we do not know, that has never been heard before, can become a musical revelation as it is horizontalized and we hear its components one after another. 52 This idea is essential to realize when preparing this work. Obviously every interpretation will be unique, but the best ones will be those that address the ideas of polyphony and counterpoint, bringing about the unique combinations of timbres. With that in mind, let us discuss in-depth how to achieve this.

Period One Beginning with the first period, page one of the score, bottom half, a question comes to mind. Which elements of this first thirty-pulse period are precise and which are variable? Referring to the structure-type chart (figure 8), Stockhausen utilizes structuretype one in this first period. In this structure-type (see figure 9) none of the material is variable; everything on the page must be played, and the rhythm, i.e. attacks in time, is


Udow, Interview with Stockhausen, 19.

36 determinate and should therefore be played precisely. The problem with this is that Stockhausen uses graphic notation to write this and performers often approach these Figure 8. Structure-type chart

Karlheinz Stockhausen

attacks in a nonchalant way. The tempo is left to the discretion of the performer; however, the specific attacks of notes in reference to the movement of time (i.e. tempo) must be accurate. To this end, the performer should decide as accurately as possible where each note occurs in reference to the pulse. To do this it may be helpful for the performer to transcribe certain passages from Zyklus into traditional notation. This will force him/her to be diligent with respect to composing a set piece of music, as opposed to approximating the rhythm every time s/he comes to that spot. Figure 10 below shows a possible interpretation of pulses 1-10 of period one into standard rhythmic notation.

37 Figure 9. Period one

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38 Figure 10. Performance realization of period one, pulses 1-10

The above technique will definitely be of help in many specific points in the piece; however it is not necessary, nor desired, to re-write the entire piece in traditional notation. Instead, this is an example of a technique intended to help the performer with isolated passages that pose a particularly high level of technical difficulty. After one establishes the rhythm of the attacks, it is a good idea to divide the thirty pulses into manageable divisions. Obviously, since the time units are intended to be equal and non-wavering, the percussionist must practice Zyklus with a metronome. As any percussionist knows, the problem in playing a piece like this is that the sounds from the instruments will easily cover the volume of most metronomes. Stockhausen, in his interview with Michael Udow, suggests using a light-bulb metronome.53 I suggest that for each page the percussionist make a sound recording of him/herself counting each pulse of the period while listening to a metronome. This recording can then be played back via headphones, allowing the percussionist to hear the pulse while playing.


Udow, Interview with Stockhausen, 18.

39 To this end, it is also suggested that instead of counting from one to thirty, divide the pulses into smaller groupings of pulses: threes, fours, or fivese.g. make measures throughout each page. This aids the percussionist in learning the piece by placing all events not only into a rhythmic structure, but also into a metric structure. The corresponding rehearsal tape for my realization of the first period sees a division of the thirty pulses into nine groups consisting of the following numbers of pulses: 3,3,4,5,3,3,3,3,3. With the metronome set to the appropriate tempo, these groups can be counted as if in 3/4, 4/4, and 5/4 time signatures (this is also mirrored in the written out example in figure 10.) Figure 11 below shows one possible way of delineating the entire first period into smaller groups of pulses, or measures. (These rhythmic delineations can be completely up to the performer, based on gestures and phrases as they occur in the score and/or as they are formed through choices made by the performer. Figure 11 is only a suggestion of one possible grouping). Doing this helps to demarcate sections of each periodwhich both helps one learn the piece, and to think in terms of phrase grouping and flow. For instance, in the given example, the metric grouping divides the pulses up into nine larger groups rather than thirty individual pulses. In addition, in the given scenario one can think in terms of antecedent (the first four groups) and consequent (last five groups) phrases, an additional level of learning and an inherently musical process. It is recommended that this be done for each period.

40 Figure 11. Period one, with delineation of measures

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41 Once one divides the system into smaller, more manageable groups, learning the material becomes easier. This does not mean that the form of each system need be locked into this predetermined idea, for as work progresses the performer may retrospectively want to make appropriate changes. The added rhythms and metric divisions help the performer progress in a thorough, yet expedient manner.

Period Two The second period, and in fact every period, should be approached in a similar way as mentioned above with regard to rhythm and meter. Stockhausen begins to employ the first indeterminate elements into the work. In this period he uses what he calls structure-type two,54 employed in the first ten pulses of this period (see figure 12 below). In addition to the material on the main time line (snare drum, tom tom, tam tam, triangle, and hi-hat) the percussionist must choose one of the three bracketed elements to perform. This is, of course, up to the discretion of the performer and any choice will successfully advance Stockhausens form scheme at that moment; but there are a few elements to consider when choosing any variable element in this work. First, regarding the cyclic nature of the instrumentation, where do the variable elements occur with respect to the performers progress around the circle through the various instrumental groups? In this particular case the second period is a transition from the peak density of the snare drum in period one, to the third period, which represents the densest suspended cymbal material. Second, Stockhausens interest in sound structures resulting from polyphonic instrumental combinations should always be a consideration. For these two reasons, this author chose the third system from the top, consisting

Please refer to the period to structure-type chart in figure 8 above.

42 exclusively of the two suspended cymbals. Not only does this system introduce the next peak instrument, but it also contains the best material for the purposes of polyphonic timbre composition. Figure 12. Structure-type two, period two, pulses 1-10

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43 This structure-type does not allow choice in the matter of note placement, for all six of the attacks fall specifically on prescribed pulses. Utilizing the sustain of the cymbal attacks will allow the following determinate gestures in the tom tom, hi-hat, and snare drum to overlap with the sustaining sound of the cymbalsthus creating the timbral sound sculpting prescribed by Stockhausen. Furthermore, this gesture can work in conjunction with the following vibraphone gesture in pulse seventeen. Along with the tam tam crescendo in pulse six and the triangle in the following pulse, choosing the suspended cymbals in the first ten pulses to complement these metallic sounds creates a very different sound world to that of the first period. The first period consists almost exclusively of dry tom tom and snare drum notes. In fact, there are only two metallic sounds in the entire periodboth on the hi-hatonly one of which is a sustaining one. Similarly, when the initial metal sounds begin to die away in structure-type two, the sustained sound of the vibraphone glissandi occurs amidst the tom tom notes, which are reminiscent of period number one. If the vibraphone is one of superior resonance as discussed previously, its sustain will last for the duration of the page (perhaps even longer). What results is a kind of two-part phrase. The first, lasting for the first fourteen pulses, may be thought of as an antecedent phrase that introduces new material: the suspended cymbals along with the tam tam, and triangle. In the consequent phrase the texture of the cymbals, triangle, and tam tam is continued but transformed into the sustained vibraphone. This texture moves from the foreground in the first half of the period to a background role during the second half where the remnants of the tom tom figures are played. A continuous, organic flow is thus created which helps highlight the idea of timbral polyphony and transformation to and from each instrumental group.

44 Period Three In the third period Stockhausen introduces structure-type number three.55 In this structure-type, events (groups and/or dots) in triangles above the main system are interchangeable (as regards their succession), but they must begin at the indicated points in the measured time-lapse.56 This is the first structure-type that allows the performer to choose when specific events happen. This structure-type occurs during the first five pulses of this period, existing as the first phrase of the period with a total of five events (see figure 13). The hi-hat gesture (tremolo and crescendo) is not variable, nor is the rim shot on the lowest tom tom directly on pulse number three; however, the three events within the triangle are. Each of these three groups, on tom toms, almglocken, and cymbals, must be placed at one of the three points indicated by the three lines which connect the triangle with the time scale: but which event goes with which line is up to the performer. The first gesture occurs exactly with the peak of the hi-hat crescendo. Since the suspended cymbals resonate the longest, I choose to put this gesture first to sculpt this first phrase over the resonance of the hi-hat and the cymbals. A single rim shot sounds on the low tom tom on pulse three; not wanting this note to be confused with the five-note tom tom gesture in the variable structure, I place the almglocken gesture at the second attack. This also adds some pitch content to the sustaining cymbals as well as another level of resonance. The performance score of these first five pulses may look something like figure 14 below.


Please refer to the period to structure-type chart in figure 8 above. Stockhausen, Zyklus, performance directions, iii.


45 Figure 13. Structure-type three, period three, pulses 1-5

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46 Figure 14. Performance realization of period three, pulses 1-5

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Stockhausen once again utilizes structure-type two in pulses seven through twenty. The performer again has four staves from which to choose. Referring again to figure 6 above, the hi-hat reaches its peak of activity in this second period. This is an important fact to have in mind when choosing which of the four brackets to perform. Of course all four systems are possible options; however, since this period represents the height of activity for the hi-hat, I choose the third stave (from the top) because it utilizes the hi-hat only. Although the proportions of the work are pre-determined by Stockhausen and will be fulfilled properly by any legitimate performance, informed decisions on the

47 part of the performer help highlight the natural progression through the various timbres of the piece for the audience.

Period Four The fourth period sees the introduction of the fourth structure-type in the first six pulses. The musical elements in this structure-type, as in the third structure-type, are variable in terms of their order; however, Stockhausen does not give specific points of time where the variable elements are to be played. Events inside the rectangle are interchangeable and can be played at any point within the length of the rectangle. Figure 15 below shows this structure-type as it appears at the beginning of page four. Figure 15. Period four, pulses 1-6

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48 The rectangle contains four events: almglocken, cymbals, vibraphone, and tom toms. These four events may be placed in any order at any point during the six pulses the rectangle spans, and even simultaneously if possible. This gives even more freedom to the performer. Rather than creating sound combinations based on the layering of the resonance of different events, the performer can now actually combine the attacks of two (or more) events simultaneously. This lends a unique aspect to the interpretation of this structure-type. Because of the proximity of the instruments in the prescribed set up and relative ease or difficulty in combining the gestures from the four instruments in this rectangle, the player could choose to combine the shorter of the two gestures. For example, the two notes on the vibraphone could be played simultaneously with the last two notes of the cymbal gesture. This combined sound is placed on the second pulse, directly after the second hi-hat note, which allows the longer gestures of the tom toms and almglocken to be placed within the third and fifth pulse respectively. Thus, each gesture is given time to be heard clearly (see figure 16 below). This realization combines two gestures and then allows space for the contrasting gestures to be heard individually. Combining the five-note almglocken gesture in the left hand with the right hand playing the eight notes on the tom toms results in a much denser interpretation of these first six pulses. No matter which path the performer chooses in this structure-type (or any other for that matter), there must be ample thought and experimentation behind every decision made. Once the performer decides what sounds the best for his/her performance, s/he must be very precise with the placement of these gestures. As stated earlier with regard to the first period, making a fixed version is

49 essential: after one decides on the desired order of the indeterminate gestures, attacks should be assigned rhythms, insuring precise practice and performance.

Figure 16. Performance realization of period four, pulses 1-6

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Period Five Structure-type five is introduced in period number five. This structure-type is essentially the same as structure-type four (the only difference having to do with the specific material used in these two structures). Referring to the rectangle found at the beginning of the fourth period (figure 15 above), and comparing that to the material in the rectangle covering pulses one through eight of period five (figure 17 below), one finds that in structure-type four (the former) Stockhausen utilizes groups of notes; while in structure-type five (the latter) the musical material consists of only single-event points. The performer should approach this structure-type in the same manner as described above with structure-type four: unique sound combinations. These first eight pulses, along with

50 the subsequent musical material both in the rectangle and the obbligato material in the main time scale, represent a soft and spacious moment in the piece.

Figure 17. Period five, pulses 1-8

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51 The material is of interest here because Stockhausen includes four long, tremolo-like gestures along with an equal number of short, single-note gestures. The performer should choose a combination and order to these events that best highlights this juxtaposition. Perhaps the most straightforward way of doing this would be to overlap the tremolos with one another. Since all four tremolos (this number includes the triangle gesture in the main line) utilize a slight dynamic change, overlapping them creates nice dynamic contrasts between these sounds. With that in mind a logical playing order is to insert the crescendo on the suspended cymbal toward the end of the decrescendo on the trianglethus creating a dovetail figure: the first gesture cross fades between the triangle diminuendo and suspended cymbal crescendo. A similar approach is taken with the vibraphone and almglocken gestures (see figure 18). Figure 18. Performance realization period five, pulses 1-8

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52 In addition to creating an interesting contrasting effect, this second gesture would also lead very nicely to the second idea of this first eight-measure phrase, the single points. The almglocken gesture lasts just under two full pulses; therefore (if begun at the downbeat of the fourth pulse) the crescendo of the gesture would lead directly into the single tam tam note in the fifth pulse. Compositionally, this creates a transformation from the tremolo notes of the first four and a half pulses to the single notes of the second half. Of course, logistically, this is very difficult to play. One has to do a very fast mallet change to accomplish this transformation, but the technical demands (mallet changes, instrument changes, etc.) of the work should not affect the aesthetic choices of the piece. This fifth period represents the halfway point of the first half-cycle of the piece. Referring again to figure 7, one can see that Stockhausen begins with the first structuretype and gradually layers each subsequent structure-type bringing the piece to this point. In the fifth period he utilizes all five structure-types in succession. Pulses one through eight, as mentioned above, utilize structure-type five; nine through fourteen structuretype three; fifteen and sixteen structure-type one; seventeen through twenty-six structuretype four; and twenty-seven through thirty utilize type two. All of these have been discussed with reference to their initial appearance, and examples of possible interpretations have been made. These five structure-types represent the complete formal techniques used by Stockhausen for the first half of the piece, periods one through nine. Further discussion about the structure-types used in periods six through nine is, therefore, not necessary, for these may be tackled with the same approaches discussed to this point. However, interpretive issues of some specific, isolated, sections of these last four periods in this first half are of interest.

53 Glissandi At this point it seems appropriate to address the issue of the keyboard (vibraphone and marimba) glissandi. Up to this point (periods one through four), there has been only one glissando per page; however, now two occur in period five. These gestures then become increasingly more common throughout the piece. The glissandi are written to sound the way they lookwhich is, of course, the nature of graphic-style notation. However, the glissandi also represent the only traditional musical notation in the piece. They are written on a five-line, treble-clef staff with specific pitches outlining the glissandi and are often played as individual points in and around the glissandi. The performer must represent the shape of each glissando very accurately (length, relative incline or decline of each line resulting in faster or slower glissandi, and thickness: volume and/or density), and play the exact pitch material Stockhausen uses. In the performance notes to the piece Stockhausen describes the glissandi in the following manner: Vibes glissandi should be varied in ways similar to these indicated in the marimba glissandi (straight; or broken; or played out chromatically at the beginning and/or in the middle and/or at the end; or with both sticks in various combinations; etc.).57 As the picture of each gesture varies, so should the sound and concept of each glissando. A detailed study of the glissandi appearing in periods one through five, and discussion of their playing techniques is appropriate. Figure 19 shows the first glissando gesture that occurs in period number one. This is notable because it consists of two simultaneous glissandi on the marimba; one going up from d# to a#1 , and the other moving down from a1 to d. This gesture obviously has to


Stockhausen, Zyklus, iii.

54 Figure 19. Marimba glissando period one

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be done with two hands, and (physiologically speaking) the most efficient way is to begin with the hands crossed and play the ascending glissando with the right hand and the descending glissando with the left. Also, because this happens relatively quickly (one pulse), and because both hands are involved, there is no physical way to play completely chromatic glissandi here. Therefore, the right hand will play only black notes (the upper manual of the marimba) while the left hand only white notes (the lower manual). The speed of the two glissandi must vary slightly as well. The incline of the right hand glissando is sharper (quicker) than the more curved decline of the descending glissando. Therefore, if the performer is thinking in terms of a standard rhythm (assuming the pulse is translated to a quarter note), the right hand glissando would last for the length of a dotted eighth note while the left hand should last for the full quarter note value. This will also facilitate the right hand playing the single g# as a sort of grace note to the final d in the left hand, since the right-hand glissando finishes first. Lastly, in terms of sticking, one must select the proper mallets to play all of the instruments in Zyklus. In this particular case it is suggested that one craft a double-ended

55 drumstick. To do this one should glue a medium-rubber core onto the butt end of a drumstick so that the normal beaded ends may be used for the majority of this period; but after the two-note gesture in pulse eleven, they may be turned over to play the glissandi with mallets that are more appropriate for the marimba. Then, during the groups of soft tom tom and snare drum notes in the next three pulses, the sticks should be turned back around to facilitate a clear rim shot on the downbeat of pulse 15. This will ensure the best possible tone on the glissandi as well as protect the instrument. Moving to period two, pulse 17 and the second glissandovisually, and therefore aurally, this gesture is very different from the previous glissando in the first period (figure 20). Figure 20. Vibraphone glissando, period two

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First, and most obviously, this is a single glissando that occurs on the vibraphone, and Stockhausen notates that the pedal remain depressed to allow the gesture to ring as long as possible. Second, the gesture is very quick, roughly equal to one half of a pulse, yet the texture changes twice within this single gesture. It begins with a very loud/dense burst of energy on a1 . As the glissando descends it diminishes in volume to very soft around the

56 halfway point (ca. c1 ), with the second half being an increase in volume leading to the f, the final note. The outer pitches (a1 and f) represent the loudest points within this gesture. This is much different from the glissando in the first period because of the change in volume/density. Whereas the former can be executed as two swiping motions over the keys of the marimba, this glissando must be played out in order to achieve the proper dynamic contour as indicated its shape on the page. Performing this event in the same manner as above would result in possibly achieving a sudden loud, initial sound that would naturally diminuendo, but it would be almost impossible to make the prescribed crescendo at the end. If one were to write out this gesture in traditional notation, it might look like figure 21. (This would be in reference to a pulse on the time scale being equal to one quarter note).

Figure 21. Vibraphone glissando period two, written out

The third period sees yet another glissando type that involves multiple glissandi (this time in parallel motion) and groups of individual notes (figure 22).

57 Figure 22. Marimba glissando, third period

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This gesture is written as two separate yet simultaneous glissandi followed by five notes (a three-note group plus a two-note group). In order to properly execute it at the intended volume level it is recommended that it be thought of (and therefore played) as two nearly simultaneous jabs on both manuals. One hand (most likely the left) will start the gesture with an accent on the f, while the other must follow immediately with a quick stroke from g# to c#1 . The ending notes of these two gestures are e 1 and d1 respectively. The glissandi unravel seamlessly into the three-note gesture: e 1 - d1 - f1 . Because the two individual glissandi are relatively loud yet also very fast, and because the five-note group gesture is written literally on top of the end of the glissandi, the above interpretation will result in the most accurate sonic realization of the symbol. The fourth period sees a more straightforward glissando type. Occurring in the seventh pulse, for roughly one half of the pulse, it too is a very quick gesture (figure 23). The range is a doubly diminished fourth (i.e. a minor tenth), from gb1 to d#, and the overall dynamic level is relatively soft. However, the thickness of the line, indicating volume, is not constant. In this particular case it is recommended to use simple sweepingstyle glissando over the bars: one can create an individual attack on the outer notes of the

58 Figure 23. Vibraphone glissando, fourth period

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gesture, using both hands at the beginning and at the end (for example left hand on upper manual, right hand on the lower), with the middle section (from c1 to a) utilizing only the hand playing the lower manual. The pressure applied to each hand is generally light for this gesture, while the written dynamic contrasts at the beginning and the end are achieved by simply adding the second hand. A similar technique may be applied to the first vibraphone glissando in the fifth period. However, the technique should be altered to bring out the sharper contrast in volume between the first half and the second half (figure 24). Here, after the initial single note (g#1 ) is played with the right hand, the glissando should be played in a chromatic fashion beginning on f1 . If the glissando is also begun with the right hand a clear delineation will occur between the single g#1 and the glissando. Of course, even the beginning of the glissando is soft, but if compared to the beginning of the fourth-period glissando (figure 22 above), it is clear that this gesture starts out louder. After the performer plays out the initial augmented fourth (f1 to b) the rest of the downward motion may be done very lightly with a single sweep on the lower manual. The gesture

59 must end with a very clear d# that is noticeably louder than the second half of the glissando. Figure 24. Vibraphone glissando period five

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The second glissando gesture of the fifth period (figure 25) illustrates a multipleglissando gesture that Stockhausen uses as the glissandi become more and more common. The entire gesture lasts from the middle of pulse twenty-one to the middle of pulse twenty-three; essentially two full pulses. It contains five short, relatively soft individual

Figure 25. Marimba glissandi period five

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60 glissandi, with a very loud single g#1 to end; and it consists of a very large amount of material in a short time. One must be careful: it is easy to lose time when playing this type of glissando figure in Zyklus, which become more common in later periods. Therefore, it is recommended that the performer play this gesture in strict rhythm: that is, the beginning attacks of the glissandi should be thought of in a rhythmic sense in reference to their position on the time scale. For example, there are five such attacks: the clear pitches at the beginning and ending of each of the five glissandi, plus the single g#1 at the end. If, once again, one translates the pulses on the time scale to being equal to a quarter note, the rhythm of the gestures may look like figure 26 below. The stem direction indicates which hand plays which rhythm; stem pointing up is to be with the right hand, stem facing down with the left hand. Figure 26. Marimba glissandi period five, written out

The glissandi become more and more frequent as the piece progress. The seventh period sees the vibraphone glissandi at their most activethat instruments cyclic climax. Similarly, the marimba comes to the fore in period eleven. These glissandi will be addressed in more depth when these two periods are discussed further; suffice it to say,

61 however, that the interpretive approach taken above on the first six glissandi should be applied to every glissando the performer encounters.

Period Six The sixth period shows the continual motion from determinate elements towards the freer structures. Stockhausen does not implement any new structures here; instead he begins a process that eliminates the more determinate structures, one at a time. Referring once again to the chart in figure 7 above, one can see that Stockhausen builds up the number of structure-types with each succeeding period. The fifth period utilizes all five of the structure-types found in the first half of the piece. With period six Stockhausen begins to eliminate structure-types, starting with structure-type one. Structure-type one, you will recall, is the most determinate structure in Zyklus; it utilizes absolutely no variable elements. Although still notated graphically, it represents the most traditional type of compositional technique in the piece. In this counterclockwise reading, Stockhausen continues the constant evolution, or process, from very determinate structure to a much freer structure; but now instead of adding freedom, he begins to eliminate constraint. The first twelve pulses of period six utilize structure-type three; the performer chooses the order of events but then must place these events at specified points on the time scale. Often, in this structure-type, performers focus primarily on the placement of individual, isolated events. The nature of the structure-type requires him/her to make compositional decisions as to where the variable events are placed (see figure 27 below). However, this example shows how this structure can still be used to combine sounds.

62 Figure 27 shows these first twelve pulses as they appear in the score. Notice that the four events are groups of notes of varying numbers, all of which belong to the Fibonacci series: vibraphone, two notes; almglocken, three; gong, five; and cymbals eight. Similarly, the time between the four attacks (in numbers of pulses) is also of varying lengths, whose numbers come from the Fibonacci series; two, three, one, and five.

Figure 27. Structure-type six, sixth period, pulses 1-12

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Knowing that the events are of four different lengths and that the time between the attacks also varies, a performer may be inclined to place the shorter events in the shorter time spans and the longer events in the longer time spans. For example, the almglocken event would logically work nicely as the first event, followed by the five-

63 note gong gesture in the second position, the two-note vibraphone gesture in the singlepulse third event, and finally the cymbal group (the latter would make sense, occurring in the longest time frame of five pulses, as it contains the most attacks). That scenario is one possibility; however it seems a bit too predictable for Stockhausen, and Zyklus specifically. Instead, the idea of polyphonic structures resulting in unique timbral combinations would suggests mixing up the logical order of these events in order to overlap them. For example, placing the gong gesture first would result in a mixture of the gong timbre with that of the triangleboth through the sustain of the initial attacks, as well as the single triangle note in the third pulse. There could be a nice moment within that gong gesture (for example on the fourth note) where the gong and triangle are played simultaneously, thus combining a given timbre from the prescribed time-scale with one of the variable gestures. Similarly, if the performer were to place the longest gesture (that of the cymbals) in the shortest time frame, or third attack point, s/he would be forced to overlap that timbre with another (such as the almglocken) in the fourth attack. In fact, if the performer were to play the three-note almglocken on the eighth pulse, it would line up perfectly with the fifth, seventh, and eighth notes of the cymbal gesture. The performance score of this would appear as follows:

64 Figure 28. Performance score of the sixth period, pulses 1-12

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This creates unique timbres. Though this structure-type seems to be concerned with the individual, isolated events, the performer should always think in terms of polyphonic compositional sound structures. This sixth period brings up another issue concerning the gong gestures in the piece. Stockhausen prescribes that the default mallet for the gong, if nothing is specified, should be a soft stick, and that the striking point should be varied continually.58 He uses

only two different signs to notate the gong: the raised nipple) and

for notes to be played in the center (on

for all other attacks. As any competent percussionist knows,

there are seemingly infinite sounds available to the percussionist on the non-center surfaces of the gong. Also, as one examines Stockhausens music written since Zyklus,


Stockhausen, Zyklus, iii.

65 (Kontakte59 and Mikrophonie I60 for example), it is clear that Stockhausen became very interested in a continual exploration of the endless playing positions and implements used on gongs, and gong-like instruments. Considering the manifold possibilities of the gong, and with the knowledge gained from Stockhausen and his long-time percussionist Andreas Boettger, I contend that the percussionist should strive for a constant exploration of the gong and tam tam gestures in Zyklus. Therefore, the delineation of merely soft or hard mallets is a limitation. In order to make these gestures come alive and be interesting timbral events, one must experiment with different beaters as well as continually varied playing positions. Although the gong already appeared in the fifth period, the gestures were short (only two and three notes) and extremely soft. Beginning in the sixth period, the gong cycle is becoming more active and the figures longer and louder. The second entrance, which is variable and must occur somewhere between pulses 13 and 21, provides a good example to discuss the interpretation of this instruments gestures (figure 29). Figure 29. Second gong gesture, sixth period

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In Kontakte he calls for the same types of instruments and instructs the performers to continuously vary playing spot, and to vary mallet selection as well. Karlheinz Stockhausen, Kontakte , new ed. (Krten: Stockhausen-Verlag, 1995) 26-27. Mikrophonie I is based completely on the idea that the infinite sounds available on a tam tam are worthy of a piece unto themselves.


66 There are eight notes within this event: the first, third, sixth, and seventh are notated as center strikes, whereas the others are notated as other playing positions. Instead of merely alternating between the nipple of the gong and just off-center with a soft tam tam mallet, the performer might choose a different playing position for each other off-center note head and implement beaters of varying hardness. A suggestion offered by Boettger is to use a single, large, medium-soft tam tam beater with a wooden shaft roughly 40-50cm. in length and 5-7cm. in diameter. Then, through a twisting motion in the wrist, one can produce a combination of strokes that utilize both the normal head of the tam tam beater, as well as the shaft and butt of the mallet. This results in a gesture that is interesting sonically and visually. The gong and tam tam are constant sources of new sounds in the overall texture of the work if they are approached in this manner every time. (Further discussion regarding the mallets that may be utilized for the piece will be forthcoming. Suffice it to say, however, that most performers use a number of different sticks and mallets for the various instruments, which in turn, may be used to vary the sound on the gong and tam tam. These may include mallets not typically used for these instruments, which is perfectly acceptable judging from Stockhausens aesthetic interest with these instruments.)

Period Seven The seventh period, the peak of the vibraphone activity, is a unique page. Whereas every period until this point had, and indeed every succeeding period has, moments of rest (i.e. breaks in the sound), the seventh period has continuous sound throughout (figure 30, below). As interesting as this is, it is made more interesting by the

67 Figure 30. Period seven

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68 fact that the variable elements, which are all governed by only structure-types three, four, and five, are relatively fewonly nine variable events in total. What keeps up the activity in this period is the vibraphone part. After an initial strong, two-glissando gesture, the vibraphone plays a single trill (tremolo between the b and c) for the entire pageexcept for one pulsethus resulting in the vibraphone being played on twenty-nine of the thirty pulses. The difficulty with this page is executing the trill while simultaneously playing all of the variable events. There have been giant leaps made in mallet keyboard technique since 1959, the development of the one-handed roll in particular. However, as that technique works best for larger instruments, it is suggested that for this period the percussionist use what is commonly known as a mandolin roll. To execute this type of roll the mallets, two in one hand (the players weak hand is suggested as to facilitate the very technical playing needed to perform the variable gestures), must straddle the keys to be playedin this case b and c. This will emulate a traditional two-handed roll between these notes. Once this roll is mastered and played seamlessly, the players strong hand is free to play the variable elements (see figure 31). Figure 31. Mandolin roll

69 The next question for this period has to do with the pedal marking. At the beginning, Stockhausen calls for the sustaining pedal to remain depressed for the entire period. The problem occurs when he writes vibraphone gestures to occur at variable parts during the page. There are three such instances, two of which are marked senza P., without pedal. A correct interpretation is to release the pedal at these three moments in order to bring out the pointillistic nature of the variable vibraphone events; the onehanded mandolin roll continued on the vibraphone will supply sufficient sustain for those two brief moments. One last aspect of this period is that not only does Stockhausen eliminate the most determinate structure-type (number two) of the previous period, but he adds one more indeterminate element: the accelerando and ritardando arrows over every variable event in this period. Thus, one more level of freedom is allotted the performer as the piece progresses. Until this point the rhythms of the events, both fixed and variable, were based solely on their placement in reference to the fixed time scale, their individual rhythm and length variable. They were either single notes, groups of notes played as quickly as possible, or groups of notes with varying lengths with relative proportions prescribed by Stockhausen. These events are the first to allow the performer to vary the rhythm, and therefore sculpt the temporal landscape. Compositionally, are these gestures inserted just to give the performer another choice, or do they serve a certain function? (It should be noted that although they come back briefly in period thirteen and period fifteen, here in the sixth period they occur at a relatively stagnant point.) It is true that the vibraphone is playing constantly through this period, and although this period represents its peak of activity, aside from the occasional

70 dynamic swells, the vibraphone (referring only to the main line trill) is stagnant rhythmically. The variable elements in this period function as the more rhythmically active music. Not only is the placement of these gestures important, but the variable speed of the gestures allows the percussionist to consciously alter the temporal landscape of the musical fragments, thus adding to his/her compositional parameters. One way to approach this is to connect the gestures to one another. For example, in the first box, pulses 1-15, start with the vibraphone event (which begins as fast groups but gets exceedingly slower) and go directly into the gong gesture (which does the exact opposite). Similarly, this leads nicely into the almglocken figure, which could take the tempo from the last gong note and continue the accelerando for the first five notes, which is followed by a substantial ritardando. This is, of course, not the only way to string these events together, but compositionally speaking it definitely results in a sound and feel that have not occurred before in this piece. It creates a melody line that gets constantly transformed between three different instruments (Klangfarbenmelodie) and gives a sense of improvisation at the same time. A similar connective approach could be taken in the second section, pulses 16-20. Because of the dynamic difference this would function a bit like an echo. The last section is, as conveyed by the structure-type, not possible to approach in the same manner. However, here it is very effective to combine the energy of these gestures with corresponding material from the prescribed time scale. For example, at the moment of the first entrance, pulse 21, the vibraphone trill is interrupted very briefly when the guiro and first event occur. Placing the vibraphone gesture there works very nicely. Not only are there wonderful timbres created through the use of the two instruments, but as the

71 vibraphone is required to do an accelerando, the gesture can begin rather slowlyso much so that the first four notes of the gesture correspond to the beginning and three direction changes on the guiro glissando. Then the remainder of the vibraphone accelerando blends well with the growing intensity of the crescendo in the principal time line through pulse 24 (which leads to the tam tam stroke). At this moment combining the gong gesture with the tam tam gesture results in a wonderful mixture of those two instruments, plus the slowing rhythm of the gong leads nicely to the marimba trill. Not only is the timbre of the tam tam (which is dampened immediately) transformed to that of the gong, but the gong, by way of slowing rhythm and written crescendo, helps guide the ear to the marimba. Following the next burst of sound from the vibraphone and subsequent diminuendo, the isolated triangle sets off the decelerating almglocken attacks, which in turn act as a continuation of the vibraphone decrescendo in the main time line. And finally, from the decay of the triangle and almglocken, the vibraphone trill (which has been ever-present for this period) grows and has the last statement of the period to itself, seamlessly leading to the eighth period.

Period Eight The eighth period use structure-types four and five. Although the gestures in the first box (pulses 1-10) contain more than one attack per instrument, it is still considered to be structure-type four. Because Stockhausen utilizes only one instrument in each event, it can be viewed as an elongation of a single attack (figure 32).

72 Figure 32. Period eight, pulses 1-10

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These first ten pulses also represent the remains of the vibraphone glissandi, as well as the two remaining accelerando/ritardando gestures. Because of the relative frequency of the glissandi (at least toward the beginning), attempting to dovetail the two variable gestures isnt possible; rather, they might function as a reminiscence of variable elements from the previous period.

73 The remaining pulses of this period (11-20) are a wonderful example of a very subdued moment in the piece (both dynamically and texturally) where it seems appropriate to highlight the isolated events by thinking melodically rather than polyphonically. The almglocken gesture in the final box, no matter where it is placed, is a very subtle, melodic, and beautiful moment and should be clearly heard. If this almglocken melody begins in pulse 19, the player will have enough time to properly execute this figure clearly, and comfortably.

Period Nine The ninth period represents the end of the first cycle, and the halfway point of the overall cycle that is Zyklus. At this point Stockhausen has progressed through five structure-types, building them up one by one with the passing of each period, then breaking them down by removing the most determinate forms. In this period he utilizes the freest structure up to this point: structure-type five. Visually, the percussionist has made it halfway around the circle of instruments; in the ninth period his/her back is primarily to the audience;61 and s/he is playing the gong and tam tam the most, as this period represents their cyclic peak.62 The interpretation of this period is the freest of all the periods so far; it utilizes only structure-type five. Not only are the five tam tam and gong events in the box

Although not specified by Stockhausen, this scenario is based on this authors recommendation that the circle of instruments be set up with the tom toms facing the audience. This insures the best view for the audience since the gong and tam tam are located in the back of the set up, up stage. Stockhausens period to density chart (figure 8 above) shows that in period nine the guiro reaches its peak of activity. This seems to be a misprint. The guiro reaches its peak of activity in period eleven while the marimba is most dense during period thirteen (and into period fourteen). The tam tam peak is clearly during period number nine, into ten. The peaks of the Indian bells and rim shots as indicated by this chart are correct.


74 Figure 33. Period nine

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75 variable as far as their position is concerned, but which instrument plays which gesture is also left to the performer (see figure 33 above). Stockhausen specifies that of the five gestures, three must be played on the tam tam and two on the gong. I recommend experimenting with both the placement of these gestures (with an intention for timbral overlap and combination) and the mallet choices and playing positions on the instruments. Stockhausen prescribes only the distinction between hard and soft beaters, but again he is concerned always with interestingly varied sounds and gestures. Similarly, Stockhausen does not specify that any of these gestures are to be played in the center of the instruments; therefore, all of them are to be played on various playing positions other than the center of the gong (or tam tam). However, it is once again appropriate, and even expected, that the performer will constantly vary the playing position (avoiding the center) during each gesture, thus creating a continually changing sonic landscape. For example, if the performer chooses the gesture in the upper right-hand corner of the box (the one with five swells) to be played on the gong (figure 34), s/he must first consider the mallets to be used. Stockhausen simply prescribes the use of a hard stick, which of course allows for many possibilities.

Figure 34. Gong/tam tam gesture, period nine

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76 One possibility is to use the rattan shafts of two marimba mallets. For the five dynamic swells, a simple movement of each hand outward to the edge makes the sound become less pitch-oriented, less focused. Then, during the softer, sustained sections of the gesture the sticks straddle the nipple evenly on both sides; this results in a sound more focused on the pitch of the instrument. The gesture then implies some activity between the stagnant nature of the soft sustained line and the energy and motion of the swells; the sound has a life, a constant transformation. Another effective technique possible on both the tam tam and the gong is to roll on the extreme edge of the instrument, again with rattan sticks. For example, if the performer uses marimba mallets turned upside down (as descried above) and executes a tremolo on the edge of the tam tam starting very close to the head of the mallet (i.e. the majority of the rattan shaft hanging over the tam tam, extending from it) the relative pitch will be low. As his/her hands move down, the length of the overhanging rattan will shorten, thus raising the pitch. This could correspond with the peak of the crescendos, again creating a constant transformation of the tam tam sound within an isolated gesture, while simultaneously creating a pitch contour unique to that interpretation. The gestures that occur on the main time line in pulses 9-14 require little discussion. However, it should be made clear that after the initial simultaneity of the tom tom rim shot and hi-hat stroke, the next three gestures on marimba, guiro, and vibraphone should be as connected as possiblethought of, perhaps, as one gesture. Lastly, the long guiro gesture notated during the last six pulses,63 because of its placement in the extended section of the larger box, must be placed in the corresponding

Actually notated in an extended box which is very similar to the forthcoming structure-type seven but using a dotted line to extend the box.


77 end of the period. It works quite well if this event is completely isolated. A simple long guiro solo is a stark contrast to the loud tam tam strokes that will appear shortly at the downbeat of the tenth period.

Period Ten The tenth period is comprised of the new structure-type six and structure-type five (figure 35). In keeping with the idea of constant metamorphoses from a determinate to indeterminate formal design, structure-type number six essentially combines type four (groups) and five (points). Figure 35. Period ten, pulses 1-18

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78 In this structure, the performer chooses elements from one box (either the top, which includes single points, or the bottom, which contains groups), and then alternates it with an event from the other box. Furthermore, a long, thin arrow is used to show that the performer must alternate between the vibraphone and marimba. This system of grouping is required, thus resulting in six pairs of events; the specific members of each pair are left to the discretion of the performer, but the arrows require that the percussionist alternate between single-point events and multiple-note events while simultaneously alternating between the keyboard instrumentsany single note on instrument x, must be followed by a group of notes on instrument y (see figure 36).

Figure 36. Performance realization of period ten, pulses 1-18

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Pulses 19-30 utilize structure-group five. This is still a relatively free structuretype: the points in this box are free as to where they fall on the main time scale, though Stockhausen imposes a new constraint on this group. He joins the ten events with a series

79 of two-way arrows, thus limiting the order of the events in the final interpretation (figure 37 below). This results in two five-note groups. Essentially there are two five-note aggregates (chords) that must stay intact, but the actual order of these two chords is interchangeable. The specific order of these events represents the progress through the five-note chord. The performer can begin with any note, which will determine which group occurs first. The fifth and sixth pitches must be the g# and g1 in the centers of the groups as they are the pitches that connect the two groups. Figure 37. Period ten, pulses 19-30

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80 Figure 38. Performance realization of period ten, pulses 19-30

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Period Eleven Period eleven sees the peak of activity of the guiro glissandi as well as the utilization of the new structure-type seven during pulses one through ten. This structuretype, like number six, is a variation on structure-type four: it, too, is in the now common box form. However, the difference with this structure-type is that Stockhausen increases the size of the boxes between certain points, creating misshapen boxes. In the performance directions Stockhausen says: the procedure is the same for simple rectangles, but the reservoir of elements is increased during the time of the widening.64 In the case of period number eleven, the widening occurs for four pulses, from pulse two through pulse six (see figure 39).


Stockhausen, Zyklus, iii.

81 Figure 39. Period eleven, pulses 1-10

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During these four pulses the density of activity should be higher, but only as a result of adding the vibraphone gesture. The six marimba and log drum events can be placed anywhere within the ten prescribed pulses. The four vibraphone notes must be played during the time frame in which the enlarged rectangle occurs: pulses 2-6. Thus, if the marimba and log drum gestures are kept out of those four pulses, the density would not increase; it could be as sparse as one event per pulse. Conversely, all ten events could happen within those four pulses, if physically possible. The specific element of vibraphone increases the reservoir just for those four pulses. One approach is to combine gestures that have similar characteristics: i.e. similar contours, dynamics, of pitch content. For example, the pitch material in the vibraphone is, for the most part, different from that of the marimba, with one exception. The single d#1

82 gesture in the vibraphone and the three-note marimba gesture, which also begins with d#1 , may be connected; it can either be played simultaneously or in close succession (as in figure 40) so the pedaled d#1 in the vibraphone sustains until the marimba gesture.

Figure 40. Performance realization of period eleven, pulses 1-10

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Another possibility is to combine gestures with like contours, and/or similar numbers of attacks. For example, observe the two-note marimba gesture and the corresponding log-drum gesture. They are contrary gestures in terms of dynamics, but if played together the softer of the two notes in each instrument creates a nice, quasipitched coloration of the louder note on the other instrument (as illustrated in figure 40). Similarly, the combination of the five-note log drum and marimba gestures sounds good as well. The contours are not exact, but the spacing of the notes within both

83 gestures is proportional and therefore they create a unique color if combined. If the above ideas are implemented during pulses 2-6, six of the ten events will occur during this time, thus representing an increased amount of activity during this added reservoir.

Guiro Glissandi This eleventh period also represents the peak of the guiro activity (see figure 7 above), and provides an opportunity to discuss the interpretation of the instruments glissando-like gestures. The notation of the gesture is meant to represent its sound: how does one interpret the implied contour of each gesture, its ups and downs? The most important element regarding these guiro events is that, like the glissandi of the keyboard instruments, each guiro gesture is unique, and must be played as such. I suggest that these gestures, which always appear within a box, be read with the lower line of the box corresponding to the left of the instrument, and the upper line to the right; this facilitates reading the gesture by equating the gestures to a keyboard. The guiro typically is not designed to have a pitch contour, relative or otherwise, so approaching the gestures in the manner described above is intended first and foremost for ease and consistency of interpretation: high equals to the right of the instrument. However, the length of the stick on the instrument has an effect on its pitch, in exactly the same way the length of the stick affects the pitch of the gong as discussed above,65 so the percussionist can affect the pitch contour of the guiro. For instance, figure 41 below shows the initial guiro gesture of the tenth period.


See page 75 above.

84 Figure 41. First guiro gesture, period eleven

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The contour of the gesture is a quick slide from the right side of the instrument (high) to the left (lowest), and a slightly more gradual ascent back up: a right-to-left motion, followed immediately with a left-to-right motion back. To enhance this gesture with the corresponding pitch relationship, begin the gesture (the right-most point) with the scraper making contact at the very edge of the stick so that very little of the stick hangs over the instrument (see figure 42a.). As the hand begins to move to the left, gradually move your hand closer to the guiro so the majority of the stick hangs over the edge of the instrument (see figure 42b.). Upon returning to the right, move the hand conversely; move the hand away from the instrument so the length of the overhanging portion of the scraper becomes less and less, thus returning the scraper to the its beginning position.

85 Figure 42a. The hand position for the highest pitch on the guiro

Figure 42b. The hand position for the lowest pitch on the guiro

The pitch of the stick itself is being heard. At the beginning of the gesture, when a small percentage of the shaft is vibrating, the pitch is highest; as the length of the stick is lengthened, more of the shaft vibrates and the pitch lowers. This technique should become second nature to every gesture so that the upper line of the guiro staff is always associated with the shortest possible length of the stick, and the opposite is true for the lower line.66 Regarding the volume of the instrument, Stockhausen says: The intensities of the guero [sic] strokes are not differentiated in the score; they are free, but should be chosen

This is not to say that the gestures cant be played backward, for the pitch is dependent upon solely the length of the scraper (stick). If, for some logistic reason, the performer must play the guiro from left to right, then in order to achieve the proper pitch contour, simply reverse the above description and begin the glissando with the longest stick length possibleand then gradually change the length of the stick as the gesture moves to the right.


86 with reference to the instruments with which the strokes are combined.67 To vary the dynamics one needs to apply more or less pressure to the stroke. More pressure will result in a louder volume and vice versa. Use of the guiro(s) in combination with other variable points and groups is, of course, encouraged, and every guiro gesture in this period occurs during a variable structure-type (five, six, and seven). This is a perfect time for multiple instrument sound combinations with the guiro gesture. In fact, rather than merely playing a guiro gesture with one hand while the other hand simply superimposes material above, one can use the guiro event as the structure of a unified, timbre combination. For example, the first guiro gesture (shown above in figure 41) could be executed in the manner previously described, with the addition of one of the single points from the variable box above it, to create a completely different event. The gesture is essentially a two-movement motion: a glissando down and then back up. Inserting the vibraphone d#1 from the extended box above (see figure 40) at the start of the event changes its character. By doing this, the performer makes a clear auditory connection from the d#1 to the rim shot in the middle of the second pulse; the guiro aurally connects these two events. Similarly, if one adds another vibraphone note directly at the bottom of the gesture when the direction changesthe vibraphone f for examplethe guiro connects the d#1 , f1 , and the rim shot, making four individual events into one. In addition, this is then echoed by the three-note marimba gesture (d#1 - g#1 - f) which follows the rim shot. This works beautifully because the marimba gesture melds into the fading d# and f from the vibraphone. This creates the


Stockhausen, Zyklus, iii.

87 impression of familiarity by linking the gestures sonically and makes a logical aural path through the piece. The combination of more active guiro glissandi with other variable events results in more complex sound structures. For example, continuing with the eleventh period, one can combine the points that Stockhausen wrote in the box containing structure-type five (which exist for the last half of the period) to accentuate the contour of the guiro strokes. The long guiro gesture that begins in pulse 16 is a good example (figure 43 below). Figure 43. Period eleven, pulses 16-19

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The ascending vibraphone glissando that occurs at the end of the first descending gesture creates an interesting timbral combination. This event can be further colored on the relatively slow upwards motion in the guiro. This ascent has three wave-like changes of direction, which can be emphasized with the addition of three of the single points from

88 one of the groups in the variable structure-type five above68 . Placing individual keyboard and log drum notes at each crest of the wave of the guiro, punctuates the directional changes (and pitch contour) of the guiro. The percussionist need not always combine the guiro with other instruments, however. As long as the percussionist uses the guiro as a combinatorial instrument at least part of the time, this will ensure unique gestures and timbre combinations. One final thought concerning the performance practice of using multiple instruments for the realization of the guiro gestures: as discussed above, the utilization of multiple guiros can alleviate difficult logistics for the percussionist. If the performer utilizes a second guiro near the vibraphone, for example, the previous discussion regarding the combination of the first guiro stroke of the tenth period with vibraphone notes will be much more comfortable than playing the guiro located in the prescribed position near the marimba. In addition, multiple guiros, each having a unique sound and fundamental pitch, can be used to vary the sound even when there are few logistical constraints. This is best illustrated at the end of the eleventh period, the peak of guiro activity (figure 44). Figure 44. Period eleven, guiro gestures in pulses 28-30

Stockhausen ZYKLUS Universal Edition (London) renewed All Rights Reserved Used by permission of European American Music Distributors LLC, sole US and Canadian agent for Universal Edition (London) Ltd., London This version of structure-type is similar to that found in the ninth period discussed above. Stockhausen again varies the initial structure by his inclusion of two-way arrows that control the events to a small degree, but the performer is still responsible for organizing these events and choosing which keyboard instrument plays which pitches.

89 As the variable material is quite dense during this moment in the piece and the material in the structure-type five (pulses 16-30) is moving quite freely between the vibraphone, and marimba, the guiro gestures could mirror this activity. The performer can accentuate the movement between the two keyboard instruments by creating a conversation between two (or more) guiros located at different positions around the set up. A good example of this occurs in the last five guiro gestures in period eleven, pulses 28-30 (figure 44 above). The second and fourth gestures are almost mirror images of each other, as are the third and fifth. Since the last four gestures are related visually, it is possible for the performer to execute the second and fourth events (with the right hand) on the smaller guiro located near the vibraphone and numbers three and five on the instrument near the marimba (with the left hand). This keeps the similar gestures on the same instruments, thus creating a brief dialogue between the two; and it makes the similarities of shape of both pairs of events audible.

Period Twelve In period twelve, Stockhausen implements the next structure-type, number eight, during the first nine pulses. This structure-type uses two boxes, one above the main time scale and one below, each with the same number of gestures, but represented by different instrumental groups (see figure 45). The performer plays the material from one of the boxes only. This structure is similar to structure-type two, but it differs in the types of gestures Stockhausen uses as well as the positioning of the specific material. In structuretype two (see figure 11 above), no matter which material is chosen, the rhythm will be the same. In structure-type eight, however, the events in both boxes are themselves variable.

90 Figure 45. Period twelve, first 9 pulses

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Therefore, once the performer chooses which box will be performed, s/he will also have to choose where the attacks are placed, exactly like the material in structure-types four and five. Structure-type eight is essentially the same as structure-types four and five interpretively speaking; the difference here is that some of the material is never played. The cycles of activity in the piecewhich instrumental peak the piece is moving to and which it is moving away frommay determine (or at least influence) the

91 performers interpretation here. For example, period twelve does not have an instrumental peak,69 but the marimba glissandi begin to increase in frequency throughout the period and come to their peak in the following period, while the guiro cycle peaked in the previous period. Looking at the material available in pulses one through nine, the percussionist has the choice of playing either keyboard gestures or log drum gestures. Formally speaking, it doesnt seem to be of much importance which instrumenttype is represented at this particular point, because both groups of instruments are well represented later in this cycle; thus it may become a question of logistical ease. The author performs the log drum gestures mainly for two reasons: 1) there have been many fewer log drum events in the work until this point and 2) the sounds match very nicely when superimposed onto the guiro events. However, a very strong case could be made for choosing the keyboard gestures: 1) as the marimba glissandi are becoming more frequent the inclusion of the keyboard gestures will contribute to the increased activity of this timbre; 2) if the performer is continuing the conversation between two (or more) guiros, then s/he will be moving back and forth between the instruments set up near the keyboard instruments. Logistically, it makes sense to play the marimba and vibraphone events merely because s/he will be moving between these two instrumental areas already. As the marimba glissandi become increasingly active toward the end of period twelve, Stockhausen employs structure-type seven (during the last twelve pulses of the period), corresponding directly with this increased activity (see figure 46). In addition to a greater number of marimba glissandi at the end of this period, there are also a relatively large number of variable events as well: thirteen to be exact. The execution of these twelve pulses is one of the most difficult points in the piece.

Please refer to the instrument-to-period density chart in figure 8 above.

92 Figure 46. Period twelve, last 12 pulses

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It is suggested that the performer combine many of the thirteen variable elements into pairs of events that happen simultaneously. As many pairs as possible should be inserted in empty pulses 20-22 of the main time scale. The remaining pulses (23-30) are extremely dense with glissando activity and allow very little time to insert the variable elements. This author executes six of the thirteen variable gestures in pulses 20-22. The remaining events are interspersed within the brief breaks of activity in pulses 25, 27, and 28; and some of the shorter events are superimposed onto the marimba groups and points

93 interspersed between glissandi.70 In this case, the superimposition of the different events onto the marimba glissandi is born more from necessity than from compositional concerns. This is simply a case where the performer must insert many gestures, and anyway that s/he does that will satisfy Stockhausens desire for extreme density.

Period Thirteen The first six pulses of period thirteen represent the introduction of the ninth and final structure-type: the freest structure utilized by Stockhausen. This structure is interesting because it is instrument-specific. Whereas all of the other structure-types throughout the work utilize most, if not all, of the instrumental timbres, number nine focuses only on the four tom toms. That is not to say that other timbres dont occur during this structure: the first six pulses of the thirteenth period show two marimba events and a guiro gesture, but the variable aspects of the structure only affect the non-rim shot tom tom notes (see figure 47). The variable aspects of this structure-type are 1) rhythm and 2) pitch; Stockhausen notates merely the density (numbers of notes) and volume. The lines that delineate the specific pitches of the tom toms are removed after the rim shot in the first pulse. Stockhausen describes this structure in the following manner: the distribution of the points is determined statistically by their density (speed) and thickness (intensity); the pitches are free; intervals of entry aretaking account of density relatively free.71

Of course, in reference to the above discussion regarding structure-type seven (see pp.68-70 above), the three vibraphone gestures must come during the final four pulses.


Stockhausen, Zyklus, iii.

94 Figure 47. Period thirteen, pulses 1-6

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Thus the performer now chooses the specific pitch and rhythm of the notes. It is important to note, however, that the rim shot gestures occurring in this structure-type are not variable; they are always specifically notated, as they have been throughout the piece. When interpreting events in this structure it is therefore only necessary to determine the number of attacks to be made, their relative volume, and their relative pitch range (i.e. high, medium, and low). In the specific case of the initial six pulses of period thirteen there are thirty single attacks (not including the rim shot) that are all the same dynamic: mezzo forte. Furthermore, the distribution of these notes represents a continuum that progresses from dense to sparse over four pulses. It is interesting to note that Stockhausen once again utilizes the Fibonacci series to generate the density. Beginning in the second pulse and moving through the subsequent three pulses, there are thirteen, eight, five, and three attacks. These four numbers occur consecutively (in reverse) in the

95 series.72 Although this structure-type is very free, it is suggested that the performer write out a representative rhythm for these gestures and learn the structure-type as a set musical event. This will ensure that the percussionist always plays the correct number of notes at the correct dynamic when these sections are performed, without allowing the freedom to affect the time-scale or density. On the other hand, this event above also represents a kind of energy associated with improvisation, which is typically found in jazz and ethnic drumming. Perhaps this is why he employs this structure with the drums only. The performer must therefore be careful to be absolutely accurate with regard to the density prescribed by Stockhausen, while simultaneously exuding an improvisational feeling, or character, to the gesture. This is why it needs to be practiced and learned as a determinate lick (i.e. written out), but once this is done, the performer can perform the licks with a little more freedom. The proper density and contour of the event in performance is guaranteed if the performer sets the notes to a specific rhythm. Also, by taking the abstraction of this type of writing away and making the event more tangible, the performer will be able to learn the material faster, and more thoroughly. This suggestion is pertinent to every time this structure-type is used. The introduction of the ninth and final structure-type represents the freest structure employed by Stockhausen. Although period number thirteen exploits all five structure-types introduced in the second half of the piece (structure-types five though nine, see figure 8, above), Stockhausen makes use of an erasure technique similar to that
It should be noted that these four numbers only add up to twenty-nine, and there are thirty notes in the phrase. It seems clear that Stockhausen is utilizing the Fibonacci series. The discrepancy is answered by the fact that the first tom tom note following the rim shot falls clearly within two lines of the tom tom staff, thus specifying second highest instrument. Stockhausen counts this as an isolated, prescribed event not a part of the twenty-nine-note gesture.

96 found in periods six through nine; in which each period sees a decline in the number of structures used. The final period, seventeen, sees structure-type nine only. The thirteenth period begins with a very fast and loud marimba glissando (the loudest in the piece), which, due to time constraint and volume, must be executed in the following manner. The initial Bb should be struck with the right hand. This is then immediately followed by a one-handed white-note glissando with the left hand up to the e 2 , which is also struck by the right hand. As the glissando from e 2 to G is even faster and louder than the first half of the gesture, it must be played with two hands simultaneously ending on the G with the right hand. This frees the left hand to strike the rim shot on the low tom tom simultaneously. In pulses 16-19 there are four glissandi that cover almost the entire range of the keyboard and exploit the full dynamic range of the instrument. The thick, bulbous sections of the glissandi represent the loudest points, while the thinnest sections of the glissandi are the softest. In these gestures, it is suggested that the performer employ two different glissando techniques within each event. For example, the glissando in pulse sixteen starts high in the register on the d#2 with the loudest dynamic, and decrescendos as it goes down to the G#. The next three glissandi occur in a similar manner. To best execute the contour of these glissandi the loud sections must be played out with two hands loudly, but as the glissando continues downward and the dynamic level decreases, the gesture should be finished with a two-handed drag glissando. Finally, the last twelve pulses in period thirteen (19-30) utilize structure-types six and seven. The interpretation of these pulses should be approached in a similar manner to

97 that described above 73 for this type of variable material. In addition, most of the variable events found in these boxes include the accelerando and ritardando arrows that Stockhausen first introduced in the seventh period (see figure 48).

Figure 48. Accelerando/ritardando gesture, period thirteen, pulses 19-30

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The interpretation of these gestures, like of those found in the seventh period, also allows the percussionist to sculpt the temporal landscape of the period. Of course, the tempo of the time-scale pulses does not change, but the speed of the gestures and their overlapping sounds can give the impression of temporal shifts, and should be exploited in such a manner. At this point of the study all of the structure-types have been dealt with on an interpretive level; the performer should use the above information as a guide in the last

Please refer to pages 61-70.

98 four periods. There are, however, specific gestures that represent unique interpretive problems in periods fourteen through seventeen.

Period Fourteen In period fourteen the same interpretive ideas apply regarding the combinations of multiple timbres. The marimba glissandi should be combined with some of the individual notes on the tom toms, snare drums, and log drums. The only unique glissando in this period occurs in the eighth pulse. Here is the only gesture in the piece where Stockhausen prescribes a specific sticking of a gesture (figure 49).

Figure 49. Period fourteen, pulse 8

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It is obvious that he did this for clarification. There are two interlocking glissandi, both of which change direction two times. Because the gestures overlap in range, and because all of notes that represent the turning points of the glissandi in the left hand are marked with accidentals, it is clear that the left hand glissando should be on the upper manual of the

99 keyboard (a black-note glissando) while the right hand simultaneously performs its gesture on the white keys. Stockhausen uses another new notation in this period. The last nine pulses employ structure-type sixand in the upper box of this structure, Stockhausen includes two gestures (one on the snare drum and one on the tom tom) that utilize a trill (tr.) marking. These self-explanatory gestures are short, probably one-handed, buzz rolls. Stockhausen includes these only a few times in the piece, and just in periods fourteen through seventeen. Very little interpretation is required for these trills; suffice it to say that, although these gestures still represent single events (by their very nature of being a buzz stroke, or a single stroke with multiple bounces), they can be superimposed on another sound to transform the timbre of that sound. In pulses 22-30 the structure-type dictates that events from each box must be played in alternation (see figure 50). If, for example, the performer places the three-note tom tom event in the lower box directly after the snare drum trill in the upper box, the two sounds will combine to create a sound not yet heard in this piece. As the trill in the snare drum lasts slightly longer than a normal snare drum note, playing the tom tom directly after the snare drum trill assures that the two overlapping gestures will end at about the same time; thus creating a sound combination of the kind encouraged by Stockhausen.

100 Figure 50. Period fourteen, pulses 22-30

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Period Fifteen The fifteenth period is comprised of structure-types eight, nine, and seven. Interpretively each of these structures should be approached with the techniques discussed above; they pose no new problems. There are, however, two important things

101 to note in this period: 1) the Indian bells reach their peak in the fifteenth period, and 2) the marimba gesture in pulses 17-20 represents the only time in the entire piece that Stockhausen applies the accelerando and ritardando arrows with the marimba. Regarding the Indian bells, the nine attacks that occur between pulses six through fifteen are notated at the loudest possible dynamic. Here the author suggests that the performer use both hands to shake this instrument as vigorously as possible for each of these attacks. Not only will this result in the proper dynamic, but using an instrument like the one described earlier in this study74 will ensure that the instruments resonate after each attack, thus creating a more sustained sound.

Period Sixteen Pulses thirteen through thirty in period sixteen offer the possibility for further exploration of tr. gesture, should the player choose to perform the material in the lower box (see figure 51). In this situation the performer has more combinations at hand. S/he could combine some of the tr. gestures on the snare drum not only with events on the tom toms, but with those that occur on the main time scale; the rim shots, Indian bells, guiro, and/or vibraphone glissando.

Period Seventeen This final structure, the freest, is followed by the most determinate structure-type, number one, used exclusively in period one. Period seventeen to period one represents a very abrupt shift in structure and aesthetic: freedom versus determinacy. Interpretation of


See pp. 16-19.

102 Figure 51. Period sixteen, last 18 pulses

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these two periods is critical sinceif the piece is begun anywhere other than period onethey will be played in succession; thus, the most indeterminate structure is followed immediately with the strictest one. Stockhausen has created gradual transitions throughout the evolution of the structures found in the piece. Here, however, one structurewhich completely governs a periodgives way to another, polar opposite, with no transitional material. The interpretation of these two periods is, interestingly, very similar. I recommend that the performer make a definite, written-out version of both periods; they are not as different as one might think.

103 Period seventeen is comprised solely of structure-type nine, the freest structure implemented by Stockhausen. After deciphering the extremely variable tom tom notes throughout this page, one must also consider the rim shots, for this period represents the peak of the rim shot cycle. As with any specialized technique, one must practice the rim shots extremely slowly to achieve the desired sound consistently. The probability of striking the head but missing the rim is very high, and missing is particularly detrimental since the entire period is comprised primarily of tom tom attacks. If the performer misses the rim, the stroke becomes nothing more than a tom tom note; the cyclic peak (density of the rim shots) is compromised and by definition, so is the form of this period. Obviously, the integrity of the rim shots is tantamount. In addition to codifying these gestures into a more tangible rhythmic fabric and practicing extremely slowly until the technique and events are mastered, the specific set up of the tom toms is important. Stockhausens diagram implies that the tom toms be set up in a single line, with the lowest drum to the right hand of the player.75 But this set up is problematic for two reasons. First, with the types of gestures Stockhausen includes (very fast groups moving around all four drums quickly), a line of four drums all at the same height will require many cross-stickings.76 The obvious awkwardness of this movement greatly hinders the basic stroke required for a good sound on the normal notes. Furthermore, since this movement requires the stick to make contact with the drum at an increased angle (c. 30-degree angle as opposed to a 5-10-degree angle for a normal

This tom tom set up is derived from the German-style timpani set up: lowest drum to the players right, and the highest drum to his/her left. This is the opposite of the way American (or most other) timpanists set up their drums. This technique involves, for example, crossing the right hand over the left while it is playing one drum, in order to play the next note on another drum.


104 stroke), the possibility for error in the execution of a rim shot when playing a cross-stick stroke is greatly increased. Second, as we read music with the lower pitches to the left (for example on a piano, or mallet keyboard), our brain typically associates the left as being lower. Setting up the tom toms in the method prescribed by Stockhausen adds one more level of complexity to the already time-consuming interpretation process of Zyklus, forcing the performer to think backwards with regard to the pitch-direction relationship. Max Neuhaus gives an alternate set up that makes more sense for rim shot consistency and relative pitch recognition. Furthermore, his plan helps compress the area occupied by the tom toms, therefore compressing the entire set up. Described only briefly by Neuhaus, describing it only briefly, says: In the case of the drumswhich are arranged in a zig-zag pattern, instead of a row, and raised on different levels to allow for rim shotsthis compressing not only reduces the overall size of the set up but allows many groups of notes to be played by one hand.77 The zig-zag pattern he refers to is shown below in figure 52. Figure 52. Zig-zag tom tom set up


Max Neuhaus, Zyklus, Percussionist

105 This set up will facilitate the most consistent execution of the rim shots and alleviate most cross-sticking problems that would plague the linear set up described by Stockhausen. Zyklus represents an early percussion piece in the still relatively small canon. Although it is over forty years old, it continues to present a number of interpretative challenges to the percussionist. Though every piece requires a certain level of interpretation (in phrasing, dynamic nuance, rhythm, etc.), the numerous variable elements in Zyklus (instrumentation, structure, form, and even the specific notes to be played) are all, at one time or another, subject to the interpretive skills of the performer. In Zyklus, Stockhausen essentially requires the performer to participate in the compositional processto have a hand in the shaping of the musical material on a very basic levelthus giving him/her much more responsibility in the final musical result, and consequently, a higher level of satisfaction in a new kind of collaborative creative experience. Score Preparation Stockhausen prefers that the piece be performed by memory, 78 and this author agrees. Using a score requires a large number of music stands surrounding the set up. This impedes the audiences line of sight, thus hindering the visual aspect to the work. It is possible to perform the work accurately using a score, but a memorized performance not only adds to the visual element of the work, but allows the performer to move much more freely around the set up. Regardless of how the piece is performed, the percussionist needs to construct a readable copy of the score, as s/he will not be able to


Stockhausen, An Interview with Karlheinz Stockhausen, Percussive Notes Research Ed., 18.

106 use the score as is. Regarding the issue of constructing a performance score, Stockhausen states: I have never encountered a percussion player who played Zyklus directly from the score, but everybody has made himself a version, which means buying the score and then making a copy of the score and cutting out the little mobile elements, gluing these mobile elements on top of the fixed line that is always in the middle of the page, and then working for several months on his own version and moving these mobile elements in order to achieve a performance version. 79 Although I now perform this work by memory, I did find it helpful to construct a score in a similar manner to that described by Stockhausen; in fact, my first performance of the work was with the use of a score. Below I have included a page as printed in the score, and the same period as I reconstructed it (see figures 53 and 54). Figure 53 shows the tenth period as it appears in the score. Obviously, the variable elements that occur during every pulse of this period are free as to their position in relation to the time line. Figure 54 shows my realization of this page. Upon close inspection of this version, one will notice that I created one staff exclusively for the vibraphone, and one exclusively for the marimba to aid in learning the period. After I experimented with various placements of these notes, I settled on this version and cut and pasted the icons in their proper places. Since this piece can be played forward or backward Stockhausen has included instrumental symbols for both directions, thus resulting in each gesture having an extraneous, upside down symbol to its right. In order to free the page from excess clutter, I recommend that these be removed (as I did in figure 53).


Ibid., 17.

107 Figure 53. The tenth period as it appears in the score

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108 Figure 54. The authors realization of the tenth period

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109 In this structure-type all of the variable elements are to be played. In the structuretypes that require the exclusion of some elements it is suggested that the performer discard the pictograms and musical material that is not needed. For example, figure 55 shows the third period as it is seen in the score, and figure 56 is my realization. Notice that in addition to keeping the relative placement of the various instruments the same throughout the period,80 I have removed all of the unused material: namely, the three staves in pulses 7-20 that I dont play. In addition, having chosen the hi-hat line as the main line in these pulses, I aligned it with the hi-hat in pulses 1-5. In order to keep this period compressed, since the final ten pulses use no variable material (all three staves function are in essence the main time line), I chose not align the hi-hat. Doing so would have resulted in a taller page than desired. In addition, compressing the size of each page is helpful. The score is printed on 11X14 paper, but there is much unused space in the score to accommodate the varying structure-types. Once the variable elements are chosen and placed in their respective positions, I also have attempted to keep everything as close to the main timeline as possible (both when above and when below). This results in the periods taking up far less space height-wise, greatly reducing the number of music stands needed for rehearsalor even performanceby allowing multiple periods to be affixed to a single sheet of paper. Instead of requiring sixteen pages,81 the performer may only need six or seven.

Notice that there are two tom tom lines: one above the main time scale and one below. Rather than put all of the tom tom strikes on the same line I kept the rim shots underneath the main time line, while the regular attacks are above. However, I did find it useful to keep the same types of strokes in line with each other, so essentially I have a tom tom stave above, and a rimshot stave below.


The first and seventeenth periods share a page.

110 Figure 55. The third period as appears in the score

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111 Figure 56. The authors realization of the third period

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112 The compression of the periods on the page also allows for a mobile approach to the placement of the score around the set up. After compressing the periods to fit on smaller amounts of paper, I decided to glue each to its own piece of poster board. Then as I learned the piece, if I decided I wanted a certain period on a different stand, I could simply remove that period and rearrange the others to keep each individual period close to its proper instrument.

Conclusion Zyklus is a seminal work. It represents one of the first solo percussion works written and has subsequently had a major effect on percussion music composition. Stockhausens use of graphic notation and extended instrumentation, as well as his adaptation of both serial and alleatoric techniques in this piece, were all groundbreaking for the time. Zyklus is an enigma because within the closed form of the circle, there are limitless possibilities of sound permutations. For it simultaneously represents complete control on the part of the composer (thus akin to the total serial pieces found earlier in the decade) and indeterminate aspects left to the discretion of the performer. It is a perfect marriage between formal perfection and freedom on the part of the performer. In addition to structural rigor, the piece satisfies two other aesthetic concerns common to Stockhausens music: preoccupation with sound transformation and polyphonic textures. Zyklus progresses around the circle of instruments (in either direction), and as the performer travels through the density peaks and valleys of the various instruments, there is a sense of continual evolution through the timbres. The

113 formal design of the work satisfies that end: the constant transformation of sound, no matter what the performer chooses to play, or which way s/he chooses to read the score. The indeterminate elements (those discussed in this study with reference to the various structure-types), function as a way for the performer to sculpt the piece. The specific placement of notes, aggregates, and gestures results in the polyphonic structuring of the sound. The percussionist must realize this, and therefore must think compositionally when preparing this work. The most successful interpretations are those that use the freedom of the variable elements to elucidate the ideas of constant transformation and polyphonic texture.




In the autumn of 1977, Stockhausens attention turned exclusively to the piece that would occupy him for the next twenty-five years: the opera cycle Licht (Light). Licht is a cycle consisting of seven full-scale operas, one for every day of the week. As the Australian musicologist and Stockhausen scholar Richard Toop says, Light is possibly the most ambitious project ever undertaken by a major composer.82 It consists of nearly twenty-five hours of music, all of which grows from a single, one-minute musical entity known as the super formula (see figure 54). The first opera that Stockhausen completed was Donnerstag (Thursday). Although all seven operas are finished, only five have been completely staged. Though scenes from both the sixth opera Mittwoch (Wednesday) and Sonntag (Sunday) (the final opera) have been performed in the past few years, the premieres of both operas in their entirety are, as of yet, unscheduled. Stockhausens use of the word Light refers to the almost universal use of that word as a divine source of energy and inspiration. He describes this further: The word Light came fairly quickly since that has been used, time and again, by our great teachers- whether Christ or Aurobindo, and whether within the sacred or profane sphere or in abstract philosophy. One person says I am the Light, or God is the Light, or Father is the Light-and another The Universe s the Light, Being is Light, or The Idea is Light. Light is obviously Spirit per se, manifestations of the

Richard Toop, Karlheinz Stockhausen, in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2d. ed., ed. Stanley Sadie (London: Macmillan, 2001), 24:399.


115 Spirit. That is the meaning of this universal word, and it cannot be replaced by any other as the title of my work.83

Figure 54. The super formula for Licht

Karlheinz Stockhausen

Karlheinz Stockhausen, Towards a Cosmic Music: Texts by Karlheinz Stockhausen. Ed. and translated by Tim Neville (Longmead: Element Books ltd., 1989), 85.


116 Licht is a kind of culmination of Stockhausens already large body of work and a pinnacle of his compositional techniques. As Michael Kurtz, Stockhausens biographer, put it, Licht is Stockhausens Gesamtkunstwerk ; singing, instrumental music, tape sounds, movement, costumes, and lightingeverything that happens musically or theatrically is conceived as one unity.84 This cycle is a spiritual work that deals with universal characters of good and evil. It is a work on the grandest scale with an equally grand goal: connection to a divine spirit, and perhaps an attempt at reconciling Mans relationship to the divine. Each of the seven operas, one for every day of the week, focuses on one central theme and one or two characters. In addition each day is associated with colors, symbols, plants and animals. Figure 58 below shows an outline of the days and their primary meanings and colors: Figure 58. Outline of the various days, and their meanings, in Licht
Monday is Eves day, opal, silver, and light green are the colors, and it is also considered to be the day of birth. Tuesday is the day of dispute, war, and conflict between Lucifer and Michael. Red is Tuesdays color. Wednesday is the day of conference, collaboration, and reconciliation. Bright yellow is associated with Wednesday. Thursday is Michaels day, the day of life and learning. Light blue and purple are its central colors. Friday is Eves temptation by Lucifer, and Orange is the color. Saturday is Lucifers Day and, appropriately, black is the color. It is the day of Death and resurrection. Sunday: this is the mystical union between Eve and Michael and gold is the color .85
84 85

Michael Kurtz, Stockhausen: A Biography, 211.

Karlheinz Stockhausen, Licht aus Stockhausen, interview by Malcolm Ball Avant 5 (December 1997): 14.

117 There are two interesting aspects to this cycle. The first is that this work is not an opera in the traditional sense: a small group of singers accompanied by a full orchestra and chorus. Instead, in many cases the instrumentalists have just as important soloistic roles as singers. Very often characters are portrayed not only by singers, but instrumentalists, mimes, dancers, and sometimes by a combination of these performers. For example, Michael, who appears throughout the cycle representing both the human world as well as its connection to the divine as the creator angel of the universe, is represented by a trio of performers in Donnerstag: a trumpet, a tenor, and a dancer play, sing, and move as a single unit, representing a multi-dimensional character. Similarly, a bass singer, a dancer, and a trombone portray Lucifer, the embodiment of chaos.86 The other unique aspect to this cycle is the modular character of the work. Stockhausen has composed each opera traditionally, having a number of scenes and often a prelude and postlude. The main scenes are constructed not only for their function within the larger opera, but with the expectation that they be performed as extracts from the operas in concert versions (often in a chamber music setting). Indeed, over the last twenty-five years of Licht , Stockhausen has also incorporated commissions for specific types of pieces (for example, a commission by the University of Michigan Wind Ensemble resulted in the third scene from Samstag) into the cycle; or conversely concert adaptations were later made of music originating in the operas. Nevertheless, his conception is of an entire twenty-five hour entity, from which a number of self-standing pieces might be extracted. The two percussion solos that follow are extracted from two operas in Licht : Samstag, and Freitag.


Stockhausen, Program 1999 , 47-48.

118 The compositional technique Stockhausen employs throughout the course of Light continues to illustrate his desire for clear formal design. In 1977, at the beginning of this journey through the seven days, Stockhausen composed a short, one-minute piece of music in three parts. These three lines became the super formula for Licht. Stockhausen has used this short (though extremely dense) music to compose the entire twenty-five hours of Licht . Each line is associated with one of the three main characters in the cycle: Michael, Eve, and Lucifer, all of whom represent different aspects of the human race. He [Michael] embodies imagination, action, daring, vision, progress: the dynamic impulse. Luzifer is the total idealist: fastidious, exact, proud, dedicated to perfection, mistrustful of morality, rejecting human weakness, unmoved by the fact of death and the promise of reincarnation. Eva [Eve] is the mediator and teacher of mankind: through her beauty and wisdom are conveyed to humanity in musical expression.87

Each of the seven operas focuses on the different characters and their relationship to each other. Stockhausen uses the appropriate limb (musical line), or limbs, of the super formula in composing each opera. In the case of Saturday, Lucifers limb on the super formula is the main source of musical material and formal design. The entire opera, the macro form, is a magnification of this three-part melodic structure, the micro form. In this opera it correlates most directly with the Lucifer limb. The pitch content, rhythmic content, harmonic content, and time ratios (lengths of scenes) are all derived from the super formula, and in this case primarily the Lucifer limb. Although no longer writing in a 12-tone language, Stockhausen still utilizes the pre-compositional formulas in his music.


Maconie, The Works of Karlheinz Stockhausen, 263.




Nasenflgeltanz was originally written in 1983 as a section of Luzifers Tanz (Lucifers Dance), the third scene of Samstag aus Licht (Saturday from Light). Samstag was the second opera that Stockhausen wrote for the cycle; it was premiered by Robert Reynolds and the University of Michigan Wind Ensemble and first staged at the Palazzo dello Sport in Milan on 25 May 1984. Saturday is Lucifers Day and, appropriately, black is the color associated with this opera. Saturday is also the day of chaos, death, and resurrection. In 1988 Stockhausen extracted Nasenflgeltanz (originally for solo percussionist with brass accompaniment of four horns and four trombones) from the opera, arranged it for solo percussion with synthesizer accompaniment, and expanded it from the original three-minute version to about eight minutes. In addition, this new piece can be performed as a percussion solo simply by leaving out the synthesizer part. Twenty-four years had passed since Stockhausens previous percussion solo Zyklus; and although Nasenflgeltanz is performed most often as a percussion solo, it began life very differently. Not only is the impetus behind the work completely different from Zyklus, but so are a number of other elements: instrumentation, the notational system, and variable elements of the work. Unlike the graphic score of Zyklus, Nasenflgeltanz is written in standard notation. Stockhausen combines the traditional five-line staff for snare drum and tom tom

120 as the main staff, with multiple single-line staves above and below. On these single lines he includes the other instruments: hi-hat and cymbals above, gong, bell plate, and bass drum below. Figure 59 below shows the layout of the instruments in the piece.

Figure 59. Layout of instruments, p.2 of score

Karlheinz Stockhausen

As the premise of this study suggests, despite the very specific manner in which Nasenflgeltanz is notated, the piece does require a certain amount of choice by the performer. In addition to the prescribed instrumentation, the performer must choose additional sound sources produced by other instruments, and/or electronically produced sounds. In the same way that Zyklus requires the percussionist to combine sounds in ways unique to each realization, Nasenflgeltanz requires the performer to combine unique sounds with those specifically notated in the score. The difference is that in the former piece the performers job is to mix and match the material Stockhausen supplies within the confines of the structures implemented by him; in this piece the performer is encouraged, in fact expected, to include sounds that are completely foreign to the piece

121 (inserting these sounds at specifically prescribed places in the score). This study will look at musical, aesthetic, and technical concerns associated with both the variable as well as the non-variable elements of this piece.

Synopsis Samstag consists of Samstags-Gruss (Sundays Greeting), which functions as a kind of overture, followed by four scenes: Luzifers Traum (Lucifers Dream), Kathinkas Gesang als Luzifers Requiem (Kathinkas Chant as Lucifers Requiem), Luzifers Tanz (Lucifers Dance), and Luzifers Abschied (Lucifers Farewell). The synopsis and libretto, written by Stockhausen (as was everything in the entire cycle), confront the idea of death and resurrection, as well as the spirit of chaos versus rational thought. Robin Maconie describes it in the following way: The theme of Saturday, Saturn-day, is the sleep of reason, or unmasking of rational modes of thought to set free innocent perceptions. It is also physical death and spiritual resurrection viewed as an analogously natural process of release and renewal of consciousness.88 In regard to the aspect of physical death and resurrectionas a natural process of renewal, Stockhausen spent much time thinking about his own mortality. He says: From childhood on, I quite often experienced death directly as the moment of a possible human transition that can come at any time, something we do not have to spend twenty, thirty, or forty years preparing for, and which is followed immediately by continuation in some other form. My conception of art and the whole of my work in composition have been stamped with this experience.89


Robin Maconie, The Music of Karlheinz Stockhausen, 277. Michael Kurtz, Stockhausen: A Biography, 216.


122 In fact, his father was killed on the Western front during World War II; when Stockhausen was only four years old his younger brother died; and a few years later his mother (who had been institutionalized) was killed by the Nazis.90 Nevertheless, Samstag is not so much an autobiographic narrative, but rather a more abstract exploration of the concept of death and rebirth as experiences common to the human experience. Following the Saturday Greeting, played by four groups of brass and percussion positioned at different points around the hall, Lucifer enters, dressed completely in black. He soars up and down on a hydraulic chair, enveloped in fog and smoke. He hears piano music playing the Eve melody and is killed through the rapture of this sensually human music.91 The second scene is entitled Kathinkas Chant as Lucifers Requiem. Kathinka, the flute-playing cat (the animal associated with Saturday), plays a solo requiem accompanied by six automaton percussionists who represent the six human senses: hearing, sight, smell, taste, touch, and thought. The third scene finds Lucifer resurrected. In this scene, Lucifer is portrayed as larger-than-life: first as an actor on stilts walking through the audience, then as a huge human face standing about ten meters high at the front of the stage. This giant six-tiered face is comprised of a large wind ensemble of brass, woodwind, and percussion instrumentalists. Different instrumental combinations take their place in different parts of the face; for instance, a trumpet with two percussionists and four horns is located along the upper lip; Kathinka later appears on the tip of the tongue, and so on. Directly in the

90 91

Ibid., 19. Ibid., 217.

123 middle of the face, in the nose, sits a solo percussionist, with his shooting gallery of sounds92 . These different instrumentalists play their own music: that is, each section of the face has its own music, and in addition, the instrumentalists in these groups are instructed to do certain simple (yet stylized) movements as they play. These movements, or dances, result in activity in the different sections of the face as the music is played. The individual instrumentalists make the face come to life. The trumpet player, along with the accompanying horns and percussionist, perform the upper-lip-dance, Kathinka performs the tip-of-the-tongue dance, and the solo percussionist is responsible for playing the Wings-of-the-Nose-Dance (or to use the vernacular, nostril dance). There are ten dances in all that make up this third scene, Lucifers Dance.93 Each group, though part of the larger whole (the face), competes with the other groups for independence and predominance. Lucifer sings If you Man, have never learned from Lucifer how the spirit of contradiction and independence distort the face . . . you cannot turn your countenance in harmony towards the Light.94 Michael appears during the upper lip dance to protest Lucifers control, but it is to no avail. Lucifer goes on to say if you have tested out your tenfold face in all the dissonances and rhythms of grimaces, it will fall apart, empty and hollowed out, before it can rise, invisible to human eyes, on Sundaywhich is the day of mystical union between Eve and Michael between heaven and earth. The scene ends in disruption with the members of the wind ensemble leaving the stage at different, undetermined times: chaos.


Karlheinz Stockhausen, Nasenflgeltanz: vom Samstag aus Licht, (Krten: Stockhausen-Verlag,

1995), IV.
93 94

Kurtz, Stockhausen a Biography , 258. Ibid., 218.

124 The final scene, Luzifers Abschied, functions as a meditation on what has happened previously in the opera. The scene utilizes a choir of monks intoning a setting of St. Francis of Assisis Lodi delle Virt (Hymn to the Virtues). This scene is one of ritual and is designed to allow for a cleansing of the mind and spirit.95 The opera ends with the release of a blackbird (representing the soul being freed upon death) by the choir of monks. Samples In Nasenflgeltanz Stockhausen calls for thirty-three additional timbres96 at various points throughout the piece; he labels these as EX sounds. He prescribes that the percussionist select these sounds and that they should sound musical.97 As a guide, he includes a list of the EX timbres that Andreas Boettger uses when he performs the piece, as well as examples of more general types of sounds that may be implemented. Stockhausen does not state specifically that the percussionist must use electronically produced sounds; but judging by Boettgers list of instruments (and knowing that he had performed the premiere of both the duo version in 1988 and solo version in 1992) it is safe to say that this score, published in 1995, is the product of many hours of rehearsals and performances which included experiments with many different types of sounds (see figure 60 below). This list included in the score is therefore a very good gauge of the types of sounds Stockhausen likes.


Maconie, The Music of Karlheinz Stockhausen, 282. Karlheinz Stockhausen, Nasenflgeltanz, V. Ibid.



125 Figure 60. Andreas Boettgers EX timbres

Karlheinz Stockhausen

126 Theoretically, it seems possible that one could perform this work using the instrumentation prescribed by Stockhausen above (the extended drum set) with the addition of all acoustic instruments as the extra timbres. Though Stockhausen never insists upon electronic sounds, most of Boettgers sounds are produced electronically or are acoustic sounds manipulated via electronic means. One must therefore assume that Stockhausen is interested in the use of live electronics within the texture of Nasenflgeltanz. There are thirty-three points in the score where EX sounds are called for; referring to Boettgers list of timbres, one sees that he repeats some of the timbres, utilizing only fifteen different sounds. As noted in the score to Nasenflgeltanz, Boettger used the Akai S 1000 sampler with a self-made trigger, the frame of which was from an old marching-band-style bell lyre (thus the name MIDI-lyre).98 Boettger removed the glockenspiel bars from the frame and replaced them with a small Casio MIDI keyboard. This keyboard was modified as well. The keys were removed and replaced with various foam-rubber pads with a larger surface area, resulting in a MIDI controller Boettger could play with his drumsticks.99 He constructed this mainly for its interest as a visual element: an instrument associated with old-fashioned run-of-the-mill martial music (retaining a definite connection to traditional percussion playing), outfitted with a MIDI trigger to play electronically produced sounds. This instrumenta peculiar juxtaposition of the old fashioned view of a percussionist (or drummer) playing a new piece that utilizes late twentieth-century electronicsfalls squarely within Stockhausens aesthetic view of

98 99

Ibid., IV-VII.

Andreas Boettger, interview by author, 2 August 2000, Krten, Stockhausen Interpretation and Composition Courses, Krten, Germany.

127 Samstag and the fact that it is Lucifers day, the day of chaos. (Boettger had also used a large mechanical clown, as well as a motorized scythe in earlier realizations of the work).100 The first issue the percussionist has to confront concerns the type of electronic equipment to be used. At first, this author had very little knowledge about electronic sampling equipment or various solutions made available with the use of a computer. I did not know the first thing about how to sample or trigger sounds. If the performer has previous experience in this area it would greatly help him/her in the realization of Nasenflgeltanz; s/he may begin directly with the aesthetic concerns regarding the sample choices and the actual work of learning the score. However, for those performers not savvy in this arena, this is a perfect piece to get started in the use of sampling, live electronics (such as contact microphones), and triggering. The most straightforward approach to the electronics in this piece is to use 1) some type of sampler, 2) a MIDI controller that allows the performer to use a drumstick or mallet to strike the controller to best integrate the individual attacks of the sounds into the fabric of the piece (for example, a malletKAT, drumKAT, Roland Octapad, or the like), and 3) a sound system to amplify and play the sounds back.101 The sampler may be one of a hardware version: an actual self-contained machine designed and produced specifically for applications such as this (e.g. Boettgers Akai S 1000102 mentioned


Stockhausen, Nasenflgeltanz, III.

It should be noted that this study is concerned primarily with the realization of this work. In the score to Nasenflgeltanz Stockhausen prescribes very specific directions for the use of a sound system and sound engineer for public performances. These directions should be followed as specifically as possible to ensure the best performance possible. It should be noted that this machine dates back to the early 1990s; more current machine is the Akai 5000 or 6000.


128 above). Another recent possibility is a lap top computer with a software sampling program. Programs such as Max MSP, Reaktor, and Generator allow the performer to construct very unique, piece-specific samplers. There are other general sequencing and software programs, designed more for recording and producing popular music that would work just as well (e.g. programs like Gigasampler and Pro Tools). A much cheaper way of integrating sampled sounds can be accomplished through the use of a modified CD player. The German percussionist Stefan Kohmann invented what he calls his CD-sampler specifically for this piece. It entails a slight modification to a standard CD player. Kohmann, not having the money to invest in an expensive sampling and triggering system, had the idea to hook a foot pedal up to his CD player as a means of moving different tracks ahead quickly. Instead of loading the samples onto a computer or into a hardware sampler, the percussionist could simply make a CD-R of the desired samples and use the modified CD player to trigger them with his/her foot. This works quite well. To accomplish this he re-soldered the quarter-inch headphone jack to the track-forward button. This is a great solution for percussionists who arent savvy with electronic applications and/or student percussionists preparing this work who dont have the means to purchase the standard sampling equipment. With the equipment needs solved, one can begin to choose the actual samples, no matter which way s/he is going to insert them into the piece. When approaching the actual selection and integration of the EX sounds, the following point must be made with regard to aesthetic concerns behind the choices. As with any work, it is important to familiarize oneself with general information about the composer and the context in which the piece was written. In this case, a study (such as

129 this one) about Stockhausens aesthetic concern and compositional techniques through the yearsespecially with reference to Licht is important. Stockhausen has been a prominent figure in the development of both percussion music and electronic music; and its thus hardly surprising that he would write a piece such as Nasenflgeltanz utilizing percussion and electronics in a new way, corresponding directly with the technology available in the late 1980s: the sampler. Interestingly, the 1980s saw the growth of sampling, primarily in rap music, but also in other genres as the decade wore on. In the same way that he used the relatively new technology of the magnetic tape in the 1950s to create the masterworks Gesang der Jnglinge and Kontakte, he utilized the idea of sampling technology from the world of popular music in this work. In Telemusik (1966) and Hymnen (1966-7), Stockhausen used well-known material (folk tunes and national anthems respectively) as sources for these electronic worksindeed a technique foreshadowing sampling two decades later. Further more, Stockhausen includes solo instrumental performers in Hymnen to further manipulate the pre-recorded material. Consider this in regard to Nasenflgeltanz: rather than using samples (the pre-existing material) as merely sound effects, but actually integrating them into the fabric of the piece so they can be manipulated and transformed, mirrors what Stockhausen did to produce the two earlier pieces; thus a strong aesthetic connection exists. A common thread connecting many of the EX sounds is recommended. For example, referring again to Boettgers list of EX sounds above (figure 60), four of his EX sounds (and subsequently fourteen events) were chosen because of their connection to the larger work, Luzifers Tanz (the third scene of Samstag aus Licht ). The antique cymbal,

130 the C1 Chua-luo tam tam, and the two sampled trumpet signals were all chosen because they make an aural connection to the larger work. Since this is a work that Boettger had participated in (and thus had meaning to him that it cannot have to the rest of us), this author approached the EX sound differently. The instrumentation of this work is essentially a drum set. Though this instrument is used in Jazz and virtually every other type of popular music, it is not an established instrument in art music. This seems to be a case of a serious composer utilizing an instrument that is typically associated with vernacular music, in either a non-vernacular way, or in emulation of a certain type of music. This type of composition is common throughout music history (for example, the Janissary tradition utilized by Mozart and Beethoven, in Die Entfhrung aus dem Serail and Symphony no. 9 respectively); and more recently in the twentieth-century. Stravinsky and Milhaud wrote for the drum set in LHistoire du soldat and La Cration du monde, respectively. The sampling technique in Nasenflgeltanz represents a similar aesthetic, because it is a technique used primarily in popular music: artists often sample short sections of other artists music and insert them into new songs. This author uses these two ideas as the basis for the samples in Nasenflgeltanz. Not only do I use samples from various rock songs, but (following the aesthetic of the 1980s pop musicians and their tendency to sample music from other musicians) I use samples from previous works of Stockhausen. Unlike Boettger, however, I dont limit them to material from Samstag. The aesthetic choice to use samples from popular music came from not only the obvious connection Nasenflgeltanz has with that genre as mentioned above, but because percussionists (this author included) often begin their musical lives playing rock and roll,

131 jazz, or other types of popular music. These genres rely on percussion (specifically drum set) to a greater extent than most European classical music. Figure 61 shows the EX sounds this author uses in Nasenflgeltanz. Figure 61. EX sounds this author uses in Nasenflgeltanz. EX 1 clocks from Pink Floyds Time (first ten seconds transformed by the addition of the same sample played backward at the end, thus lasting from mm.9-21) played simultaneously with spring coil from truck with contact microphone. EX 2 amplified spring coil EX 3 f2 crotale EX 4amplified spring coil EX 5amplified spring coil EX 6small tam tam (ca. 50 cm) used in Kontakte EX 7Bb almglocke used in Zyklus and Kontakte EX 8small tam tam, played at the edge EX 9small tam tam, played in center EX 10Slinky with contact microphone EX 11Bb almglocke EX 12small tam tam, played in center EX 13small tam tam, played at the edge EX 14CD-sampler: Jimi Hendrixs Foxy Lady introduction (guitar tremolo) with tremolo on amplified spring coil and punctuation with thunder sheet affixed with contact microphone at the end of feedback of each of the five gestures. EX 15violent glissando along amplified spring coil EX 16amplified thundersheet and spring coil simultaneously EX 17slinky

132 Figure 61. (continued) EX 18sharp vocalization pssss EX 19CD-sampler: last chord of Stockhuasens Refrain plus Bb almglocke EX 20CD-sampler: sample from Ovals Systemische from m.159-167 as aural backdrop EX 21amplified thundersheet EX 22-25amplified spring coil EX 26amplified thundersheet EX 27-28amplified slinky EX 29tam tam played with heavy mallet EX 30CD-sampler: from Goodbye to the Twentieth Century by Sonic Youth EX 31Champagne bottle exploding party favor EX 32Bb almglocke EX 33CD-sampler: last piano chord from The Beatles A Day in the Life, plus amplified slinky and amplified thunder sheet superimposed.

In many of the EX sounds utilizing sampled material, I transform the sample in order to better serve the musical function of that sound within Nasenflgeltanz. For example, EX 1, which occurs in measure nine on the last eighth note, is the first sampled sound used in the work. As one can see, this first page (measures 1-20) functions primarily as a type of introduction. It is divided into two equal halves of ten measures each (see figure 62). The first ten measures consist of an even yet gradual ritardando from the beginning tempo of MM=75.5 to essentially half that tempo (MM=38), at the downbeat of measure 11. This slowing-down process is then reversed for the last ten

133 measures until the initial tempo I is reached at measure 21, thus beginning the piece proper. The EX 1 timbre is a two-part sound that is initiated by a strong (f) attack on the amplified spring coil with a simultaneous trigger of the opening clocks from Pink Floyds Time from Dark Side of the Moon. The choice of Time is two-fold. There is the obvious poetic connection of the title to the ever-changing temporal landscape of the first page. In addition, this sample, which consists of eleven seconds of various clock alarms in a slight diminuendo, was altered to fit the remaining time of the introduction and help lead it to the downbeat of measure 21.103 To execute this, the same eleven-second sample was reversed and added to the end of the original sample, creating a twenty-two second event lasting through measures 9-21. This gesture has a dynamic contour of a gradual decrescendo from the forte of the beginning of the sample to around a mezzo-piano in the middle of measure 15, and a gradual crescendo back to forte by the time the drum set enters. This sound not only creates a continuous sonic background for the majority of the introduction, but acts as an elongation of the initial amplified spring coil attack in measure ninethus sustaining and transforming the sound of the spring coil.

Stockhausen states that the samples can be as long as desired, so long as they dont cover the written music dynamically. Nasenflgeltanz, V.


134 Figure 62. Nasenflgeltanz p.1

Karlheinz Stockhausen

135 A brief explanation regarding the choice of amplified automotive spring coil and slinky is in order. Aside from each of the very different sounds produced by these two instruments, and the inclusion of the slinky (steel spiral spring) by Boettger, there is a symbolic reason for their use. Aesthetically, as I shaped this work to be an homage (of sorts) to both Stockhausen and rock and roll music simultaneously, I was reminded of Stockhausens quote regarding the spiral form. He has often referred to the idea of a spiral when describing his work;104 he says: You remember and you expect, but the instant is no longer the instant, its now the eternityyou are everywhere. And thats what the spiral brings about. Its the circle which leads to ecstasy.105 The idea is that his music mirrors human experience. Both music and human experience are continuing spirals of knowledge an all-encompassing experiences of learning. And the two spirals of the spring coil and slinky are symbolic representations of this idea. Another aesthetic concern of much of Stockhausens music, as manifest in the spiral idea, is metacollage. More than merely joining disparate elements together in collage fashion, in metacollage the elements are integrated so thoroughly as to create something completely new and beautifultranscending the individual parts. This can be seen in his two-hour tape piece Hymen, in which he uses the national anthems of nearly forty nations as musical material; the material is integrated without sacrificing the elements that make each of them unique.106 He explains the idea of metacollage further:

In fact a diagram showing the chronological order of his music, published by the StockhausenVerlag, shows his work spiraling out from the center of his earliest pieces to his most recent works. Jonathan Cott, Stockhausen: Conversations with the Composer (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1973), 175.
106 105


Maconie, The Works of Karlheinz Stockhausen, 184.

136 But we artists of the second stage have to announce that stageto go far beyond the collage and reach the intermodulation [sic] of all the different forces that are combined in one composition. Our music represents models of elements that are very heterogeneous and seemingly unmatchable, where individual characteristics are very strong and theres a mutual respect. These are complementary societies and structures in which one really supports the other by being very strongly what one is rather than becoming the same as the other. And the intermodulation goes so far that it ultimately creates new species, which arent a synthesis in the old sense where the components disappear, but on the contrary, where the components are quite visible and complete each other. One thing completes the other, and that creates an ascending spiral movement and a cohesionsystems become coherent. Its very difficult technically to go beyond collage, to modulate one event with another without destroying it, really discovering those original qualities of something which are the most characteristic and which are strong enough to be matched with the stronger characteristics of something elseleading to real symbiosis.107

This seems like a very positive aesthetic approach to have as a musician. The intent of a statement such as this is to create something completely newnot by merely rehashing a common, overused style, or attempting to emulate or exploit a geographically specific musicbut instead, using all musical elements equally as material for creation, and integrating these varying elements into a musical whole. Not only does this create a new type of musical expression; it also is a beautifully symbolic way we could approach day-to-day interactions as human beings. One should consider this aesthetic interest of Stockhausens when considering the EX sounds to be included. The superimposition of the rock and roll samples with the written score achieves this juxtaposition and therefore represents this aesthetic interest of Stockhausen. Stockhausen has always been very specific in his choice of instrumentation; in addition to the specialized list of instruments required for Zyklus, a study of the percussion requirements for many of Stockhausens works reveals a continued interest in


Cott, Stockhausen: Conversation, 191.

137 instrumental timbres specific to each piece.108 With this in mind, I chose to incorporate into Nasenflgeltanz some of the instruments required by Stockhausen for other works, thus establishing yet another aural point of reference. The acoustic instruments that are used to produce the remainder of the EX sounds above (small tam tam, single almglocke, and crotale) are all taken from previous Stockhausen pieces. This is another form of sampling, albeit decidedly more esoteric. The idea is to incorporate individual, isolated sound events that occur in other Stockhausen pieces in the same way that Boettger used instruments (the single f2 crotale for example) and samples from the larger, third scene of Samstag aus Licht. The remaining EX soundsthe thundersheet, the sharp vocalization, and exploding champagne bottle party favorwere chosen exclusively for their sound interest (in the case of the former two), or for their visual/dramatic interest (the latter). To reiterate: what the performer is required to do is to compose new sound combinations within the given texture prescribed by Stockhausen.

Instrumentation Stockhausen requires very specific instruments, and even specifies the pitch of each instrument. The only instrument excluded is the hi-hat. This instrument would be difficult, if not impossible, to hear as a pitched instrumentespecially because it is comprised of two cymbals that are struck either against one another, or with a stick simultaneously. Both methods of playing create a very noisy sound (with many overtones) without the clarity of one fundamental pitch that would be required in order to

Michael Udow, An Interview with Karlheinz Stockhausen, Percussive Notes Research Ed.

23, no. 6 (1985): 4-47. This article lists the percussion requirements for many of Stockhausens works, and
thus shows the various and sundry instruments required.

138 register a specific pitch on the instrument. Additionally, when the two cymbals clash together, any recognition of a fundamental pitch of either one of the particular cymbals is obscured. The main issues of the hi-hat part for the performer are sound production and projection. The hi-hat, which in this piece is played primarily with the foot pedal and only occasionally struck with the drumsticks, is notated in the highest position on the staff. Most percussionists may find this strange: typically in drum set method books and other written drum set music, when the hi-hat is to be played with the foot, it is notated below the staff, not above. This may cause the performer some initial logistic problems, but once that is overcome the percussionist is faced with the challenge of balance. Figure 63 below shows the second page of the score. Measure 22 sees the first entrance of the hi-hat. This quarter note triplet is to be played with the foot as the hands are playing the intricate rhythms on the snare drums, tom tom, and gong. These three hihat notes are difficult for two reasons: 1) they are intended to sustain from one attack to the next and 2) they are marked ff . To properly sustain the hi-hat the percussionist must release the pedal immediately after s/he depresses it to execute the attack. This is counter-intuitive for a set drummer because normally, in hi-hat notes played with the foot, the cymbals are clashed together by the foot pedal and held together.


Figure 63. Nasenflgeltanz, measures 21-22

Karlheinz Stockhausen

When the percussionist releases the pedal immediately after impactin order to lift the upper cymbal off of the lower one to allow the instrument to sustainthe volume of the gesture is sacrificed. However, one can see that Stockhausen does take this into consideration. The dynamic of the hi-hat gesture is ff ; in fact he specifies Hihat [sic] sempre ff109 always fortissimo, as compared with the f in the rest of the drum set. The percussionists job is to play this quarter note triplet figure as strongly as possible while still retaining the proper sustain prescribed by Stockhausen. The majority of the hi-hat entrances occur in the manner mentioned above; however, Stockhausen does specify that the instrument is to be played by striking it with

Stockhausen, Nasenflgeltanz, 2.

140 a drumstick from time to time as well. This most often occurs in conjunction with a transition from a closed hi-hat sound to an open sound. In this type of gesture the percussionist must execute a sustained tremolo (roll) on the instrument beginning when it is closed, and slowly release the pedal until the instrument is open and the cymbals are clashing against one another.

Figure 64. Hi-hat gesture, measures 57-58

Karlheinz Stockhausen

Figure 64 shows one such example of this technique. Here, in measures 57-58, the last note of the hi-hat (the third triplet in meas. 57) is played by a simultaneous depression of the pedal and stroke by the stick. The percussionist then rolls on the closed instrument and gradually opens it up, until at the second sixteenth note of measure 58 the instrument is fully open.

141 Figure 65. Hi-hat gesture, measures 149-151

Karlheinz Stockhausen

Figure 65 shows a similar type of gesture; however the word offen (open) implies that the cymbals are intended to stay partially open for the entire gesture rather than transitioning from closed to open roll. Figure 66 (below) shows another technique in which the hi-hat is played with the foot pedal and a drumstick. The percussionist must strike the hi-hat with the drumstick while the foot pedal is depressed, then immediately release the pedal very quickly, almost simultaneously with the stroke. This action creates a very loud sound, which has significant sustaining potential.

142 Figure 66. Hi-hat stroke m.68

Karlheinz Stockhausen

There are, in fact, only two points in the piece when Stockhausen calls for the hihat to be played by a drumstick. These occur in m.112 and mm.124-126. In measure 112 (figure 67 below) the first two sixteenth notes see the hi-hat opened very quickly and played with the drumstick.

Figure 67. Hi-hat gesture m. 112

Karlheinz Stockhausen

143 This example shows the ending of the gesture begun in measure 110 (the same sort as seen above in figure 64). However, in this middle section Stockhausen inserts interruptions into the previously heard material. Therefore, measure 111 is merely a three-beat interruption of the music in measure 110; and it happens to cut the hi-hat gesture in half, thus eliminating the natural transformation from the closed sound to the open sound. In figure 68 below, we see a written-out crescendo in the hi-hat leading to the simultaneous pedal/stick note in measure127.

Figure 68. Hi-hat gesture, measures124-127

Karlheinz Stockhausen

Interestingly, Stockhausen writes the directions nicht ganz zu110 (not completely closed) to indicate that even though the instruments attacks are to be clear, the sound should not be too short. If the cymbals are kept slightly open (slightly apart) the sound will have certain sustain from the constant clash of the plates on one another. This important hi-hat technique can clearly be traced back to Zyklus, where this instrument is

Ibid., 12.

144 always used as a sustaining instrument with an individual voice. The closed position creates the crispest, driest sound; Stockhausen never utilizes that position, so clearly it is of no interest to him. Whether the hi-hat is played by the foot pedal alone and allowed to sustain (figure 63), or by the pedal and stick and allowed to sustain; whether rolled on when closed and open (figures 64 and 65); or when played with the stick the cymbals kept apart just enough for a constant shimmer of the plates (figure 68), the sound should always sustain, transform, or color the texture of the piece. As in Zyklus, the hi-hat is always used as a very colorful sound, rich in pitches and therefore considered noisy. This is different than the other instruments called for by Stockhausen in Nasenflgeltanz, all of which, as we will see, are to be specifically tuned. The hi-hat must therefore be dealt with diligently. Stockhausen also calls for two cymbals in the collection of instruments. More specifically, these two cymbals are to have the pitches b and a#.111 This is very unusual because cymbals are not typically thought to have specific pitches. In Nasenflgeltanz, however, (and in fact a number of his other pieces as well)112 Stockhausen requires each of the cymbals to have a specific and very clear fundamental pitch. To acquire the pitches specified by Stockhausen, this author recommends the use of two hi-hat cymbals each played individually; i.e. not together as is typical. These cymbals are smaller (fourteen inches in diameter) and thicker than most suspended cymbals and therefore have a drier sound than a ride cymbal or individual crash cymbal. The weight and the dryness also contribute to a relatively clear fundamental pitch. This author uses fourteen-inch Zildjian


Ibid., IV. Udow, Stockhausen Interview, Percussive Notes Research ed., 21-47.


145 New Beat hi-hat cymbals.113 As one can see from measure 21 in figure 63 above, Stockhausen writes very rhythmic gestures for these instruments; in fact, the percussionist is moving very quickly between the drums and cymbals, often playing both simultaneously. The relative dryness of the individual hi-hat cymbals helps the percussionist accentuate the proper rhythms without having their sustained ringing overpower the texture; too much ringing will obscure the rhythm (as would be the case with larger cymbals). The Thai gong and Chinese opera gong are, by now, common instruments to percussionists. The difficult thing is acquiring instruments with the exact pitch. This author spent ninety minutes playing seventy-three gongs at the Asian Sound percussion shop in Cologne, Germany, attempting to find the opera gong with the correct pitch. Again, like many other instruments in this work (as well as in Zyklus), one must strive to find the requisite instruments: the ones with the correct pitch, as well as instruments with a superior sound. Typically, for Stockhausens music, this requires instruments with the most resonance and sustaining capabilities. One sound overlaps and connects to other sounds, creating the most interesting sonic landscape. To prepare this piece, the percussionist must go to a shop that specializes in more exotic percussion instruments, in order to find the best instruments with both the correct pitch and the best sound. The bell plate is a large thin plate of bronze, aluminum, or steel. It should be tuned to a D#1. These instruments are very difficult to acquire, especially in the US, since

This particular size and make works well for this piece, as most cymbals of this size all hover around this pitch range. The pair that I owned coincidentally had one of the correct pitches; the top was the requisite a# . I then searched for the remaining pitch at local music stores. I found a bottom 14 Zildjian New Beat, the correct b, and bought that pair. These are the pitches that Stockhausen prescribes; however, each performer must choose for him/herself how they will resolve this question of pitch.


146 American percussionists and composers dont utilize specifically tuned bell plates. If the pitch is a consideration at all, it usually is only of referential concern; i.e. higher versus lower pitches. To acquire the proper pitch, one could purchase this instrument from one of the German companies that manufacture such instruments.114 One can also purchase the instruments from Kohlberg Percussion in Stuttgart, or Asian Sound in Cologne, which are the two largest percussion distributors in Germany. This author engaged a blacksmith to make a bell plate with the correct pitch. She fashioned a plate of steel to meet the fundamental pitch, the finished product being 0.8 cm thick, 67 cm wide, and 80 cm long. The bell plate is very difficult to incorporate into the set-up of the piece. The percussionist is required to play very fast rhythms moving between the drums, cymbals, gong, and bell plate. Of the diagrams Stockhausen includes in the performance notes of the score, one is of the set-up used by Laurence Kaptain (figure 69) and the other of Andreas Boettgers (figure 70), I highly recommended the one used by Boettger. In his configuration the bell plate is hanging perpendicular to the rack, and the edge of the bell plate is at a 90-degree angle, enabling the percussionist to get the edge of the plate closer to the cymbals for the fast rhythmic patterns required. (In Kaptains set up, the face of the bell plate is parallel to the rack, so the instrument is flush with the beam of the rack). As we have seen with Zyklus, Stockhausen often composes for specifically tuned drums. Nasenflgeltanz is no exception. In this piece he requires a specifically tuned snare drum in addition to the tom tom and bass drum! The tom tom, which is tuned to F1, should be a floor tom from a standard drum set. This instrument could be either 14 or 16 in diameter, and should be double-headed to allow for optimal resonance.


M. Grabmann, Krefled-Bockum, Ge rmany

147 Figure 69. Laurence Kaptains Nasenflgeltanz set-up

Karlheinz Stockhausen

Figure 70. Andreas Boettgers Nasenflgeltanz set-up

Karlheinz Stockhausen

148 The bass drum, tuned to Eb1, should also be double-headed, but will require some dampening mechanism (for example an O-ring foam dampener). The size that works best for this pitch is either an 18 or 20 diameter instrument. The snare drum is of particular interest. Not only does Stockhausen prescribe the specific tuning of the instrument, but he actually requires multiple pitches from it. In fact, the primary pitch of the drum, which is produced when playing the instrument very close to the edge of the drumhead, should be tuned to c; yet Stockhausen writes for different playing positions on the drum to highlight a specific melodic contour. Stockhausen says that when the drum is tuned to c near the edge, the center of the instrument will be roughly an F#.115 I must admit, when the snares are on the pitch is not immediately noticeable; however, it is possible to tune the un-snared drum to the proper pitch. The pitches between the c and F# are approximate, but the main goal is to bring out the contour of the snare drum line (see figure 71). Figure 71. Measures 27-8

Karlheinz Stockhausen

This seems to describe the pitch possibilities of a 5 1/2X 14 drum. A smaller, piccolo snare drum seems to have a smaller range, whereas a larger, 6X14 drum, actually reaches an F in the center of the drum.


149 The example above shows the melodic writing implemented on the snare drum throughout the work. The c (on the downbeat of the measure) is played at the edge of the head, and the F# (on the second quarter note) is played directly in the center of the drum. The rest of the pitches are approximate and played relative to these outer two pitches. To help bring out the various tonal and timbral relationships, and to facilitate the movement between the various instruments within the set-up (in figure 71 this applies exclusively to the tom tom, gong, low cymbal, and snare drum), Stockhausen prescribes which hand must execute each note of the various gestures. The notes with stems up are played with the right hand, while the notes with downward facing stems are played with the left. It is arguable whether or not the melodic aspect and specific pitches of the snare drum are distinguishable. But, perhaps most importantly, Stockhausen wrote out these specific pitches to ensure a constant varying of the sound and timbral (if not melodic) contour. Stefan Kohmann constructed an insert for the snare drum designed to aid in properly executing this melodic writing. This insert consists of two thin pieces of wood (each 20 cm long) wide enough to touch both the batter-side and snare-side drumheads simultaneously when placed on edge inside the instrument. These two boards are joined at one end by a 90-degree angle cut on each piece; when they are placed inside the drum together, they create a V shape. When the heads are reattached, this insert creates a false shell where it makes contact with the head. Therefore, as the performer plays closer to the tip of the V the pitch is raised, and as s/he moves away from the tip, the pitch lowers, attaining a consistent pitch gradation. The idea of a constant transformation of sound and timbre has been of recurring fascination to Stockhausen since Zyklus and Kontakte. If you will recall from the

150 discussion of the tam tam and gong in Zyklus above, it was shown that in other works, Kontakte for example, he requires the performer to continually vary the playing position on the instrument.116 This is also related to the sound difference between the rim shots and normal notes on the tom toms in Zyklus as well as Nasenflgeltanz: creating multiple sounds on one instrument, thus achieves a constantly changing and unpredictable sound world. The melodic snare drum writing is a further manifestation of this idea. The various playing positions on the drumhead result in varying sounds, and his precise chromatic writing ensures continually changing timbres on a single instrument.

Interpretation That Nasenflgeltanz is notated in a more standard way than Zyklus results in a more traditional approach to interpreting the work. The performer must begin at the set starting point and play the piece exactly as written; and s/he must abide by the prescribed tempo, dynamic, and all other interpretive markings included in the score. The performer must practice the highly technical writing very slowly, mastering the proper choreography and phrasing of the gestures. The periodic repeating rhythms are an interesting aesthetic point in this work. Stockhausen is critical of the repeating rhythms inherent in almost every type of popular music, and indeed many classical pieces as well. An interview he gave to The Wire in 1995, in which he was asked to comment on some music by a few contemporary pop musicians, elucidates his thoughts on repetition: I wish those musicians would not allow themselves any repetitions, and would go faster in developing their ideas or their

Stockhausen, Kontakte, p. 26-27.

151 findings, because I dont appreciate at all this permanent repetitive language. It is like someone who is stuttering all the time, and cant get the words out of his mouth.117 Why then does he use such a repetitive rhythmic language in Nasenflgeltanz? The obvious answer to this question lies in the context in which the piece was first conceived. Written as music for a strange, otherworldly dance, it seems appropriate that Stockhausen utilize a somewhat repetitive rhythmic language. Furthermore, the rhythmic repetitions found in this work were most certainly influenced by the instrumentation Stockhausen employs. The drum set (primarily used in popular music) is the real reason why Stockhausen wrote these repetitive rhythms: after all, the title is Nostril Dance. Lastly, all of this may have a further, underlying meaning. As stated above, Samstag is not only the day of death and resurrection, but also that of chaos. In this realm, one may see the drum set and its repetitive rhythms representing martial quality as the various parts of the face do battle for supremacy. As the vocal line states: Nose against cheek, eye, and eyebrow nose against lip and eyes.118 Stockhausen is using the repetitive rhythm as a backdrop to underscore the confrontational nature of this scene. Marching music is periodic, he says, and it seems in most marching music as if theres nothing but that collective synchronization, and this has a very dangerous aspect. For example, when I was a boy the radio in Germany was always playing typical brassy marching music from morning to midnight, and it really conditioned people.119


Dick Witts, Stockhausen meets the Technocrats, The Wire 141 (November 1995): 34. Stockhausen, Nasenflgeltanz, 8-10, 16-17. Jonathan Cott, Stockhausen: Conversations with the Composer, 28.



152 Of course, Stockhausen also breaks down the periodicity within the piece. After the introduction (measures 1-20, figure 62 above), Stockhausen introduces the primary periodic material (measure 21, figure 63 above). The material in its entirety extends from measure 21 through measure 60. At this point, he inserts not only the first break of the work, but also the third EX sound, thus abruptly halting the rhythmic movement of the piece. From measure 61 through measure 116 he uses the exact same musical material that was used in the first section but begins to insert measures of varying time lengths into the familiar music. Figures 72 and 73 below show two such insertions.

Figure 72. Measures 21-30

Karlheinz Stockhausen

153 Figure 73. Measures 61-72

Karlheinz Stockhausen

154 Figure 72 shows measures 21-30, the first ten measures of the piece following the introduction. Figure 73 shows measures 61 through 72 utilizing the same musical material (albeit at a softer dynamic level). Notice that, in order to break up the periodicity of the material, Stockhausen includes insertions of various lengths (measures 61, 62, 65, and 69) as a way of combating the conforming nature of the established rhythms. The final issue regarding the preparation and interpretation of Nasenflgeltanz is the vocal part. This vocal line comes directly from the third scene of the opera, where it is sung by Lucifer, a bass. In the solo and duo version, Stockhausen places the vocal responsibility on the percussionist. Speech and percussion have long been partners in contemporary music, either executed by two individual performers, or often as additional dramatic or timbral effects for the percussionist. A true singing part for the percussionist is rare. This poses a new challenge for the performer, for not only must s/he be a technically proficient percussionist, but in addition s/he must be comfortable singing in performance. Although the vocal line is not long, it is difficult, since it has a number of larger leaps, is highly chromatic, and contains tricky rhythms that interlock with the drum set part. Though it is written in German, Stockhausen gives the English translation of the text in the performance notes for the piece (see figure 74). Figure 74. German text with English translation of vocal line Nasenflgeltanz (jux! hux! pang! tasch! pau! Nase gegen Backe Und Gegen Auge und Braue Protest ha ha! Obernasenflgeltanz Nase gegen Lippe Wings-of-the-nose dance prrrrr! hey! haa!) Nose against cheek and Nose against eye and brow Protest ha ha! Upper-wings-of the-nose dance Nose against lip

va ke ta ke

155 Based on the translations inclusion in the score, and subsequent confirmation by Stockhausen, the English translation should be used if performed in the US (or another English-speaking country).120 However, it is this authors opinion that the German text sounds more natural with the melodic line and phrase structure and actually enhances the strange ambience of the piece. If one chooses to perform the work in German, the translation must be supplied in the program (in which case one might certainly choose to correct Stockhausens translation of Nasenflgel to better English: nostril). That fact that this was originally sung by Lucifer, a male character, and that it appears in this form written in the bass clef, implies that the work is conceived for a male performer. However, since in many religions Lucifer can take many forms, it is perfectly appropriate for a female to perform the piece, with the vocal line transposed up one octave. To learn the vocal aspect of the work one must practice solely the vocal line at a piano for a number of hours before even attempting to add the drum set. After mastering each of the five vocal entrances (measures 21-34, 87-108, 122-125, 134-ca.143, and 181186) and their intonation, the performer must practice integrating them into the texture of the drum set music. One will encounter two main difficulties with this integration. First, the rhythm of the vocal line is often independent and as challenging to sing correctly as the percussion part is to play. Second, singing in tune, especially when performing the solo version, proves to be very difficult. Figure 72 above shows the entire score, measures 21 through 30. The vocal line (marked Stimme) correlates directly with the drum set rhythms in

Karlheinz Stockhausen, interview by author, 9 August 2001, Stockhausen Interpretation and Composition Courses, Krten, Germany.


156 measures 23-25, the first three measures; the difficulty here, for the performer who does not possess perfect pitch, is how to sing the initial c. One might attempt to hear the c in the snare drum in measure 21 and get the pitch from that; but the initial c is distorted by the rim shot stroke directly on the down beat, and (as the instrument is not really a sustaining one) the two sixteenth-note triplets that comprise the rhythm for the c go by very quickly. Furthermore, though the snare drum is tuned to a c at the rim, it is very hard to hear the fundamental with the snares greatly obscuring the pitch. It is therefore suggested that the percussionist train his/her ear to pick out the D# of the gong and bell plate (D#1) in the preceding measures of the introduction (see figure 75). Figure 75. Measures 11-20

Karlheinz Stockhausen

Beginning as early as measure 11, there are some very long and isolated strokes on these two instruments. It is, therefore, much more feasible for the percussionist to practice singing a major sixth above D# in order to enter on the prescribed c.121 One advantage to performing the duo version is that the synthesizer often plays chords that include upcoming pitches.

Of course a female performer will have to add one additional octave to achieve the properly transposed pitch, a major 13th .


157 Referring once again to figure 72 above, the second half of this opening vocal phrase (beginning in measure 26) must be approached very carefully, as the rhythm becomes much more independent of the drum set part. In measure 27, the vocal line has a rhythm that is the same as the left foot hi-hat, although displaced by an eighth-note triplet; and in the following measure the nearly chromatic ascent of the vocal line occurs in even sixteenth notes, duplets, over the triplet-based rhythm of the drum set. The performer must properly execute the cross-rhythms in these measures, remembering that each of these parts (the voice and the drum set) was originally intended for their own performer. Not only must the percussionist be accurate with the pitch throughout the work, but s/he must be cognizant of the rhythmic intricacies of both.

Figure 76. Measures 117-121, EX sound 14

Karlheinz Stockhausen

One way to help the performer with intonation is to use the sample and/or EX timbres in key spots to help ensure the correct pitch of the vocal line. For example, figure 76 shows the EX 14 cue to be played in measures 117-121. Referring to the chart of the EX timbres this author uses (figure 61 above), one sees that the opening guitar trill from Jimi Hendrixs Foxy Lady is used. However, to help with pitch reference I digitally

158 transposed this tremolo to an Ab, therefore helping ensure my proper intonation at the entrance of the voice on Protest in measure 122 (see figure 75).

Figure 75. Measure 122

Karlheinz Stockhausen

Conclusion Nasenflgeltanz is a piece of conflicting ideas: those of confrontation and resolution, organization and freedom, life and death. The percussionist must grapple with these concepts in order to best realize his/her version of the work. Although very different from Zyklus in terms of instrumentation, intention, notation, and aesthetic, Nasenflgeltanz too requires that the percussionist think compositionally. In the former, the performer chooses where the predetermined musical events are to occur and thus has freedom to combine gestures and timbres of varying

159 instruments; the latter requires the percussionist to sculpt the overall sound of the work through the insertion of music and sounds from totally disparate sources: samples and other instruments not prescribed by Stockhausen. It is true that the score to Nasenflgeltanz is, in a way, much more fixed than Zyklus (the notes, dynamics, form, and tempi are all specifically determined); however, due to the extra material that is to be inserted into the piece, each resulting realization has the potential to sound very unique. Nasenflgeltanz also represents two ideas common to Stockhausens entire repertoire: 1) the idea of utilizing unrelated musical material from various sources and weaving them into a cohesive piece, and 2) utilizing current technology in a constant search for new ideas and pieces. The piece shows a clear connection to many of his groundbreaking works like Hymnen and Telemusik (both of which use music from different cultures as their foundation, in addition to innovative electronic techniques and equipment), while simultaneously pointing to new directions for solo percussionists, including the use of a quasi-virtuosic vocal part and the expectation of compositional input from the performer.




Freitag aus Licht (Friday from Light) was completed in 1994 and received its world premiere in 1996 by the Leipzig Opera. Freitag represents the day of Eves temptation by Lucifer. Ludon, an alternate form of Lucifer, proposes to Eve that she conceive a child by his son Kaino. This union would help further the evolution of the human race by creating a new race containing genes from both of these mystical forces. Eve eventually consents to this by the end of the first act. The second act sees the beginnings of the evolution. It begins with grossly mismatched, hybrid romantic couples, as well as a war between fair-skinned children and dark-skinned children. Amidst this chaos, however, it becomes clear that, although strange and horrible, these conflicts represent a natural progression that must be endured. The final outcome represented in the final scene is a beautiful one; all of the hybrid couples begin to meld together into one flame and spiral toward heaven as one entity. The meaning is clear: to achieve a united world we must be supportive of the inevitable mixing of people and cultures, for that is the only way to reach heaven. Freitag is the day of consent between two unlikely forces, Eve and Lucifer. To illustrate this, the opera exists as a simultaneous realization of three different aural and visual layers. The first layer is comprised entirely of abstract electronic music. This layer unifies the entire piece with respect to real time. Everything in the operamusic, lighting

161 cues, scene cues, dependent upon this self-standing and immovable 145-minute time line. The second layer consists of twelve sound scenes, which are comprised of concrete music, i.e. samples, primarily of electronically modulated soprano and bass voices. Each sound scene is also represented by two dancer-mimes, male and female, each with a corresponding vocal line, bass and soprano respectively (see figure 78 below). These twelve sound scenes happen at prescribed moments in the opera but are self-standing events, independent of the electronic music in the first layer and the action that occurs within the third layer. Figure 78. The twelve couples used throughout Freitag 122
Female I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII woman cat photocopy machine racing car pinball machine soccer ball moon with little owl bare arm electric pencil sharpener womans mouth with crocus blossom violin nest Male man dog typewriter racing car driver pinball machine player kicking leg with soccer shoe rocket hand holding drug syringe pencil ice cream cone with bee bow raven

Karlheinz Stockhausen, Programm zu den Interpretations und Kompositionskursen und Konzerten der Musik von Karlheinz Stockhausen (Program for the Interpretation and Composition Courses and concerts of the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen) (Krten: Stockhausen-Verlag, 2001), 35.


162 The third layer consists of ten real scenes which are performed entirely by live singers and instrumentalists and which represent the narrative of the opera. Figure 79 below shows the breakdown of the real scenes. These real scenes occur at specific points in the opera; their timings, in relation to the electronic music of the first layer, are also shown in figure 79. As one can see from the timings, although the ten real scenes happen independently from the other two layers of activity, they are interspersed with the twelve much shorter sound scenes.123 This results in a juxtaposition between the real scenes which include the majority of the staged action, and the much more abstract sound scenes. The latter contain the very abstract visual elements of the twelve couples, which include a larger than life drug syringe and a huge kicking leg with a soccer shoe, to name just two. The opera, woven together by three independent layers of musical time whose form mirrors the narrative action, produces a union of disparate elements to create a unified whole. This aesthetic is not new to Stockhausens work; in fact, it has already been discussed in this document in reference to both Zyklus and Nasenflgeltanz. In the former, the performer integrates choices amongst the self-standing variable musical gestures with predetermined material to create a cohesive work. Similarly, in Nasenflgeltanz, the variable material is the sampled soundsagain freely chosen by the percussionistwhich may or may not have any reference to the existing score. In Komet the percussionist is called upon to create a work that uses as its basis a score template (which includes an aural component of electronic music as the foundation for exploration

Although they are called sound scenes, keep in mind that there is a visual component to these scenes in the dancer-mimes.


163 Figure 79. The scenic form of Freitag 124

Act I I man-woman II cat-dog Antrag (Proposal) III copy machine-typewriter Kinder-Orchester (Childrens Orchestra) Kinder-Chor (Childrens Choir) Kinder-Tutti Childrens Tutti) IV racing car-racing car driver V pinball machine-pinball machine player VI soccer ball-kicking leg with shoe Zustimmung (Consent) VII moon-rocket VII (echo) -intermission (at ca. 6730)Act II Fall VIII arm-drug syringe cat-man/woman-dog IX electric pencil sharpener-pencil Copy machine-racecar driver/ racecar-typewriter Kinder-Krieg (Childrens War) X womans mouth-ice cream cone Pinball machine-kicking leg/ Soccer ball-pinball machine player XI violin-bow Moon-drug syringe/arm-rocket Reue (Repentance) XII nest-raven Electric pencil sharpener-ice cream cone/ mouth-pencil/ XIIb violin-raven/nest-bow Elufa Chor-Spirale Choir Spiral Entrance 106 503.7 726 1808 2000 2540 3330 3909 4246 4453.5 4908 5844.3 6313 Duration 131 543.1 ca. 1000 1904 ca. 500 ca. 736 ca. 500 4024 4351 4625.5 ca. 652 6058.5 6328.6

6450 8403 8801.1

ca.1530 8607.5 9048.3

9228 10351.2

ca. 930 10729.2



11639 12333

ca. 649 12835.3

13100 13830

ca. 730 ca. 540


Karlheinz Stockhausen, Programm, Krten: Stockhausen-Verlag, 2001, 38.

164 and discovery of new sounds), accomplishing this by devising combinations and transformations of musical ideas that are unique to him or her. As has become his custom in the operas of this cycle, Stockhausen fashioned a smaller concert work, extracting material from Freitag aus Licht . Komet is a reworking of the seventh real scene, the Kinder-Krieg (Childrens War), completed in 2000, six years after the opera was premiered. Most of the chamber music that comes from Licht is typically an arrangement of an operatic scene (or section thereof), usually consisting of the same instrumentation and musical material. Often, though, the numbers of players needed and/or amount of material is scaled down (Nasenflgeltanz for example). Komet represents a different type of extracted piece. The Kinder-Krieg scene was originally scored for two childrens choirs: a fairskinned choir representing the children of Eve and a dark-skinned choir representing the children of Kaino (all of these children representing different pure races before the union between Eve and Kaino); it also includes synthesizer and optional basset-horn.125 After living harmoniously in the first Act (even playing music together) their war represents the disruptive shift of world order that occurred when Eve and Kaino united. The children are therefore fighting for prominence, a natural bi-product of evolution in Stockhausens eyes. Destruction is above all an opening. Every destructionas one knows from an explosionreleases energy. Then you discover the real power of things. That is a very important concept, which is, however, only gradually becoming known in our century. . . . As the chief administrator of our system of santania, he [Lucifer] was opposed to experiments leading to the creation of humanity. For instance he was against mixing animals and angels (with regard to consciousness), thus producing, in his view, sick half-breeds and incomplete bastards who have to go through a process of development of consciousness to unfold.126



The above quote was originally in reference to Samstag aus Licht (Saturday from Light), Lucifers day, but sheds some light on the synopsis of Freitag as well. Ludon (another manifestation of Lucifer) was opposed to Gods creation of humankind. (In the Licht mythology, God is manifest as the third main character, Michael). Realizing that he no longer has any control over this, Ludon desires a union between himself (via Kaino) and Eve in an attempt to further the human race towards an enlightened state of consciousness. That state can only be accomplished through a constant evolution, and this evolution, by its very nature, requires destruction: here, the destruction of preconceived notions of race and class. Thus the Kinder-Krieg, although horrible, is a natural consequence of this evolution. Komet is connected to the Kinder-Krieg; the music is essentially the same, though children do not sing the voice parts on the accompanying tape. For the world premiere of Freitag, Stockhausen prepared a tape with the two vocal lines to be sung by the childrens choirs. Stockhausen, though often idealistic, was very realistic in this respect. He knew that the music he composed was of the highest level of difficulty and its notation might actually stand in the way of thorough learning by the children; he felt they would do best to learn it entirely by ear. The childrens choirs thus listened to their respective parts on the tape and were able to learn and memorize the music quite quickly.

Karlheinz Stockhausen, Towards a Cosmic Music: Texts by Karlheinz Stockhausen. Ed. and translated by Tim Nevill (Longmead: Element Books ltd., 1989), 106.


166 Komet utilizes this rehearsal tape, with Stockhausens flutist Kathinka Pasveer singing both vocal lines.127 In early 1999, Andreas Boettger asked Stockhausen to write a new percussion piece, as it had been over ten years since he wrote Nasenflgeltanz.128 Stockhausen chose to rearrange the Kinder-Krieg rather than write an entirely new piece that would have had to fit in the pre-conceived formal design of his current project, the final opera Sontag aus Licht (Sunday from Light). Since the original operatic version is not conducive to extraction for non-staged performances, he logically utilized the rehearsal tapewhich he then synchronized with the appropriate section of the first layer of electronic music resulting in the current make up of the CD aspect of Komet .

Instrumentation-Acoustic Komet is the freest of the three pieces discussed in this study. Although it uses a precisely written, predetermined score with fixed electronic music (played via CD or four-channel tape), all of the sounds (both instruments and samples) are chosen completely at the discretion of the performer. So are the actual gestures s/he creates to play in a live performance. It is, therefore, very important that the performer approach the variable elements with caution, using a careful thought process. Here, unlike the scores to Zyklus and Nasenflgeltanz, Stockhausen provides no prescribed instrumental arsenal for the percussionist to use. The only instrumentation direction he gives is for the percussionist to use freely chosen percussion, samples, and
Karlheinz Stockhausen, Programm zu den Interpretations und Kompositionskursen und Konzerten der Musik von Karlheinz Stockhausen (Program for the Interpretation and Composition Courses and concerts of the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen) (Krten: Stockhausen-Verlag, 2000), 39.
128 127

Andreas Boettger, interview by author, 2 August 2000.

167 possibly voice as the score necessitates.129 Furthermore, the performance notes state that the performer is to improvise points, curved glissandi, tremoli, sporadic attacks of intervals and chords, and short arpeggi [sic] using the pitches of the chords from the harmonic accompaniment in the score.130 Although Stockhausen occasionally includes a rhythmic design or contour, most often the accompaniment consists of just chords: arrhythmic collections of pitches. Figure 80 below illustrates how much of the harmonic content is notated in Komet . Figure 80. Harmonic content in measures 1-3

Karlheinz Stockhausen

The percussionist must use the harmonic structure that Stockhausen provides as the basis upon which s/he creates his/her realization, improvised or written out. The two biggest concerns for the percussionist in choosing instruments for Komet are: 1) this regulation regarding pitch content, and 2) the knowledge gained from the study of Stockhausens previous percussion writing regarding his continual requirements for specifically pitched percussion instruments and their superior sound quality.

Karlheinz Stockhausen, Komet als Schlagzeug Solo: vom Freitag aus Licht, manuscript (Krten: Stockhausen-Verlag, 1999), III.



168 Initially, it would seem that the percussionist is free to use instruments s/he already owns, incorporating his/her unique collection into the fabric of piece, with musical decisions based upon the instruments at hand. Shaping the piece around a personal battery of instruments is obviously very different from the works discussed previously, which require specific instruments to be acquired by the percussionist. However, one quickly finds that such an approach greatly limits the percussionistcomposer in terms of musical and compositional ideas. For example, if the performer decides that s/he wants to put a bell-like note on the downbeat of measure 1 (figure 80 above), it must either be an a, b-flat, d, or f# to fit with the prescribed harmony. 131 If the percussionist does not have an instrument with one of these correct pitches, s/he cannot implement the desired sound. The best plan is for the percussionist to approach the instrumentation with purely sonic considerations in mind, acquiring the specific instruments as needed. This will ensure that each interpretation is unique and properly thought through. This author finds it useful to have an instrument that functions as a center point to the set-up so that multiple pitches are available to help connect and shape other individual timbres that might be represented by only a few pitches. The vibraphone is a good choice for this, in part because its three-octave range can help connect very high-pitched instruments with lower-pitched ones. In addition, moments that require a greater density of activity can be efficiently accomplished with multiple vibraphone notes occurring simultaneously with other individual instruments.

Octave transpositions are encouraged by Stockhausen, therefore eliminating the need for octave-specific instruments (ibid).


169 In the premiere performance of this work given on July 31, 2000 at the Stockhausen Interpretation Courses in Krten, Germany, Andreas Boettgers central instruments were a malletKat (a MIDI controller modeled after mallet percussion instruments) and a MIDI keyboard. This resulted in a greater degree of sampled and electronically produced sounds, an important element of the work discussed in greater detail below. However, as one will notice immediately upon listening to the performance CD, the electronic music is very prominent; the approach taken by this author, although utilizing samples as well as synthesized sounds, puts more emphasis on the acoustic instruments for greater contrast to the pre-recorded (and thus determinate) aspect of the work. In addition to the centrally located vibraphone, I choose one octave of crotales (the higher octave from c3 to c4 ) as an extension of the vibraphone. The high frequencies of the crotales blend quite nicely with much of the material on the tape. Similarly, I use a few isolated chime notes to help fill out the lower end of the vibraphone; the pitches are chosen for specific points in the work to avoid the use of a full set of chimes. Although not bass instruments per se, the chimes function as the darkest timbre of this central conglomerate instrument. The set-up is completed by other pitched instruments whose inclusion was based primarily on timbre and sound combinations appropriate to specific points in the piece. Some sounds were chosen because I had previously purchased very specific instruments for other works, primarily those of Stockhausen. In addition to the instruments mentioned above, figure 78 below shows a complete list of the acoustic instruments I use.

170 Figure 81. Instrument list for Komet Vibraphone 1 octave of crotales (high octave) 4 chimes: A, Bb, c, and eb Tam tam: F#1 fundamental 3 almglocken: F, Bb, and c# 2 Thai gongs: F#1 and D# 2 Angklung: g and b 2 woodblocks: b1 and d2 2 finger cymbals eb2 and e 2 2 Chinese opera gongs: D# and F 2 fire bells: d and g

The above instruments are chosen primarily for their timbral contribution to specific points in the piece. Making these choices comes about only through a thorough study of the music and timbres on the CD, as well as notes and gestures given by Stockhausen in the score. Furthermore, as the performer prepares the work, the collection of instruments will most likely transform as well. It is worth noting that the majority of the instruments have longer sustaining capabilities. There are two main reasons for this: first, the overall sonic landscape of the tape consists of long sounds that sustain and meld into one another. Although I wanted to create an acoustic sound world contrasting with the electronic music on the CD, I also chose to connect with many of these sounds. Second, as we have seen in the pieces previously studied (and virtually all of his

171 repertoire), Stockhausen expects the performer not only to connect with the music, but to transform his music into something completely unique. The metallic instruments chosen above lend themselves to greater transformation due to their combinatorial potential and sustain. Furthermore, the wide variety of sounds possible on each individual instrument (a gong, for example) is conducive to timbre manipulation and transformation.

Instrumentation-Electronic As in Nasenflgeltanz, Stockhausen calls for some type of sampling system, and therefore a triggering system, in Komet . Unlike the former, Stockhausen gives some insight into what types of samples the percussionist must use. In the performance notes, he says the percussionist samples and stores many different sounds of children toys: banging, howling, crashing, buzzing, whirring, whistling, exploding, hissing, grating, bleeping, etc.132 Furthermore, he says that all of the samples must sound as if they are produced by children. This is obviously related to the original Kinder-Krieg scene from Freitag, which consists of the two feuding childrens choirs. Stockhausen clearly wants the piece to retain some connection to this idea. In addition, Stockhausen prescribes that the samples must belong to specific families of sounds. He calls for nineteen sound-color families to be utilized throughout the piece. In measures 9 through 12 (figure 82 below) one can see how Stockhausen notates the timbre change, indicating the family number within a hexagon.



172 Figure 82. Measures 9-12

Karlheinz Stockhausen

From the beginning of the piece through measure 9, any sampled or electronically produced sound will be from one family; any sounds in measure 10 are part of soundcolor family two; subsequently, yet another family, number three, is used in measures 1114. He doesnt specify how the sounds are to be relatedthis is at the performers discretion. For example, one may implement two or more sounds that may be described as crashing-type sounds: one is sampled, the other is a self-synthesized sound that through extensive modulation is not readily recognizable as a crash. These could be considered to be from the same sound-color family. Stockhausen does, however, allow some latitude in this aspect. Although the percussion solo is still unpublished, the version for electronic piano (synthesizer) (Komet als Klavierstck XVII, Comet as Piano Piece XVII) is recently published and available from the Stockhausen-Verlag. This version is beneficial as a reference; it includes the score and performance directions and a written realization of the piece by Antonio Prez

173 Abelln (Stockhausens synthesizer collaborator and the man for whom the keyboard version was written). In his version Abelln says: in making my version I did not always respect the 19 original timbral families, because I imagined many more timbre changes.133 Using this published realization by the musician who not only gave the world-premiere of the piece but works with Stockhausen on a daily basis,134 we can assume that the nineteen sound families are only a guide to ensure that the performer uses many different timbres in his/her realization. For that reason, this author uses forty-five sampled sounds, in addition to ten synthesized sounds, but does not always follow the prescribed grouping of the sounds into only nineteen families. For a musician beginning a realization of Komet , it is a good idea to organize the sampled (and electronically-produced) sounds according to Stockhausens nineteen families to guarantee a varied sound world. As the piece progresses, however, the performer should feel free to expand the number of types of sounds beyond nineteen as s/he becomes more comfortable. In approaching the samples the percussionist must, of course, think of sounds made by toys, or sounds that represent toys. Furthermore, with Stockhausens last direction (that the samples sound as if they are produced by children), one could take a broader approach and implement sounds that go beyond childrens toys. For example, it is conceivable to utilize laughter or elated screams that come from children playing. Similarly, it is possible to include sounds of other activities common to all children. For the world premiere of this piece, Professor Boettger sampled about seventy-five sounds
Karlheinz Stockhausen, Komet als Klavierstck XVII: vom Freitag aus Licht. (Krten: Stockhausen-Verlag, 2002),V. Mr. Abelln actually lives in a cottage on Stockhausens property in Krten and works not only as a performer as a part of Stockhausens group, but also works as a typesetter and copyist of new scores.
134 133

174 from videogames his children play on their home entertainment system,135 then chose amongst them for integration into the texture of the piece. Though all of these sounds come from one type of toy, the video game, the sound possibilities are endless. Utilizing these digitally-produced samples makes a very nice aesthetic connection to the electronics of the work, and stays true to the idea of childrens sounds being of primary interest. In addition to all of the above, I use samples coming from yet another form of entertainment for children: television programs-particularly cartoons-and movies that depict space travel, magic and wizardry, or other science fiction films that are intended not just to entertain children but also to stir their creativity (movies such as Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone and Lord of the Rings are two such examples). Also, since toys, films, and television shows are geared for different age groups, I sample material for slightly older kids, roughly from the ages of nine to thirteen. The music that Stockhausen provides, although certainly visceral, is unique and requires some intellectual capacity to enjoy. But the types of sounds that work best come from sources intended for adolescents, rather than younger children. In addition, I approach this piece like any other that a musician prepares: it is a learning experience and one I immediately tie to the learning a child does when his/her imagination and intellect are engaged. The intellectual challenge that a musician faces when learning a piece of music (Komet ) is similar to that which a child encounters when playing with toys, and when watching television or film. Therefore, I include samples of sounds that were familiar to me as a child. Samples were taken from the movies Star Wars and The Return of the Jedi, the cartoons The Simpsons


Andreas Boettger, interview by author, 2 August 2000.

175 and The Jetsons, as well as older video games that ushered in the digital era (Galaga, Defender, and Space Invaders for example). Since the instrumentation of the piece is free, further sounds were synthesized to help fill out the weaknesses of the acoustic instruments (namely, the lack of sounds in the lower register). As with Nasenflgeltanz there are many directions possible in realizing this work. The low-budget CD-sampler described previously could also be implemented in Komet . In my realization, the samples are much more integrated into the texture. There are, in Nasenflgeltanz, points at which sounds are combined and manipulated, forming a type of transformation process; but by and large the EX sounds function as isolated events plugged into the texture, creating a sound that in reality is a juxtaposition, a musical non sequitur. The main goal with the EX timbres in Nasenflgeltanz is to create unique sound combinations from seemingly disparate sources. But in Komet , so many of the decisions are up to the performer; s/he must try to integrate the chosen sounds, acoustic and electronic, much more cohesively into the texture of the prerecorded music. The performer will have much more real-time control of electronic elements, as well as a greater range of techniques, if s/he utilizes more sophisticated equipment. With that said, this author is not an expert in the field of electronic music composition but has learned enough to feel comfortable with a piece such as Komet . For the premiere of the work, Professor Boettger utilized a three-octave malletKAT trigger and an Ensoniq D-50 (a sixty-one key keyboard controller)both of which controlled samples from an Akai 1000 S samplerand utilized sounds from a rackmounted sound module.136 This authors version utilizes the ten-pad MIDI controller



176 drumKat 3.5 and a laptop computer; the laptop contains software which functions both as a sampler and a synthesizer for creation of specific sounds. The laptop computer (far from state-of-the-art for 2002) was a Dell Latitude Cpi A300ST, powered by a Pentium II processor, and with 128 megabytes of RAM. The program implemented for this piece was the software synthesis program Generator 1.5 version 1.5.7 (1998), by Native Instruments, Inc. This is an icon-based modular program that allows the user to program different types of instruments (samplers, synthesizer, loops, etc.) by visually connecting various iconsas if literally connecting cords from amplifiers, sine-wave generators, and samplersto a mixer and loudspeaker. One can then assign the different instruments s/he creates to various MIDI channels, allowing a MIDI controller of some sort (a drumKAT, for example) to trigger the instruments created within the program. This is a very user-friendly program that allows the performer to see the specific icons of the modules s/he is linking together and to arrange them on the screen. Other, slightly more versatile, programs (such as Super Collider) require that the performer have a fair amount of programming experience. The use of a more intricate, and therefore more versatile, program is highly recommended if the performer has previous experience with this equipment. To load the samples into the computer and utilize the software, the sounds should be in WAV file format. I acquired my sounds by two means: 1) I utilized a minidisc recorder to digitally record (sample) sounds I wanted, and 2) I downloaded samples already in WAV file format from sound effect websites. For those sounds acquired in the first manner, it is then necessary to input the digital data from the minidisc to the computer hard drive. This can be done simply by connecting the minidisc to the

177 microphone in jack and transferring the information to the computer desktop. A program that can convert the incoming minidisc information into a WAV file is needed. Most software used to burn CDs (for example, Adaptec Easy CD Creator), as well as recording and editing software (such as Diamond Cut Audio or Sound Forge), will have this capability. Once the samples are in WAV file format, they can be placed in the selfmade samplers and routed to be triggered by a drumKAT or other MIDI controller. A further discussion on the specific use of electronics as they relate to the interpretation follows.

Interpretation Komet , and indeed Licht in general, represent a kind of culmination of Stockhausens compositional techniques and aesthetic concerns. Not only has Stockhausen spent nearly half of his fifty-plus year career (from 1977-2002) composing the work, but as Robin Maconie says: its [Lichts] 25-year development both complementing [compliments] the period of assimilation and discovery of 1952-1977 and, more importantly, integrating [integrates] the manifold and seemingly incompatible aspects of his musical output during that period. The complete sequence of seven music-dramas will form a mythical life cycle, the individual music-dramas revealing themselves, in their proportional and musical relationships, their principal actions, characters, and even the colour preferences, as stations of a larger process. As a summation of the composers art and philosophy137 It is crucial for the performer to have some familiarity with Stockhausens previous work and that interpretations of Komet reflect this knowledge. The performer must be aware of three primary concepts that are found throughout Stockhausens music: exploration, transformation, and integration. These three principles,


Robin Maconie, The Music of Karlheinz Stockhausen, 261.

178 by their very nature, elicit further ideas or concepts. Exploration of the given material often includes improvisation (intuition, as Stockhausen prefers) by the performer. This intuited music must be integrated seamlessly with material the composer has provided. Transformation begins with the idea of connecting to a specific element of CD music and then sustaining, manipulating, and transcending it to create something new and unique. These three ideas are simple enough; a brief look at each of them, with both an historical study of techniques used by Stockhausen in earlier pieces and discussion of this authors utilization of these concepts, will shed light upon possible ways to create a strong realization of Komet . Stockhausens idea of exploration is central, and it transcends compositional technique. Many of his pieces demand that the performer explore beyond his/her capabilities, often in realms beyond the traditionally musical. The best examples of this idea occur in two groups of pieces that he wrote in the 1960s. The first group is categorized as intuitive music: two collections exist, with a total of thirty-two pieces. The first is Aus den sieben Tagen (From the Seven Days, 1968) and the second Fr kommende Zieten (For Times to Come, 1968-70). All thirty-two pieces in these collections do away with traditional notation; they exist purely as brief poetic texts, which serve as instructions. These are not merely technical instructions like those that accompany so many 20th Century pieces (John Cages Composed Improvisation, for example, where the composer instructs the performer how to realize the piece). Instead, Stockhausens texts are instructional on one level, but go beyond this to be more philosophical; they are intended as inspiration towards the performers enlightenment (see figure 83 below).

179 Figure 83. Text to Nachtmusik (Night Music) from Aus den Sieben Tagen 138 play a vibration in the rhythm of the universe play a vibration in the rhythm of dreaming play a vibration in the rhythm of dreaming and slowly transform it into the rhythm of the universe repeat this as often as you can

The second category of pieces that use exploration as a basic underlying idea also illustrate Stockhausens idea of transformation. Robin Maconie called this group process music. These six pieces139 require the performer to explore and expand (transform) musical material through formal schemes and other directions (most often utilizing graphic notation) given by the composer. In some cases Stockhausen provides the musical material; but in the later works the performer(s) utilize(s) the random signals picked up via a short wave radio as the material with which to interact. In the duo Pole for example, both players use short wave radios. They play along with the sounds they receive, manipulating and transforming what is broadcast to them through the interpretation of various graphic symbols (see figure 84).140 The process pieces that use radio waves as the initial stimulus for improvisation can be seen as a corollary to the music, Komet for example, that uses tape with live performers. The idea of integration, common to many of Stockhausens works and these three percussion pieces), is the unification of many and varying elements into one cohesive


Karlheinz Stockhausen, Nachtmusik , in Aus den sieben Tagen (Hamburg: Universal Edition,

1968). Plus-Minus (1963), Prozession (1967), Kurzwellen (Short Waves, 1968), Spiral (1968), Pole fr 2 (Poles for 2, 1969-70), and Expo (1969-70).
140 139

Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pole fr 2 (Krten: Stockhausen-Verlag, 1975), 8.

180 Figure 84. Page 1 of Poles

Karlheinz Stockhausen

181 whole. In Zyklus, the performer produces an organized and interconnected realization through integration of the variable and mobile forms presented by Stockhausen. In Nasenflgeltanz, s/he utilizes sound events (unique to each performer), incorporating them into the texture of an otherwise very specific score. With Komet , however, the performer must go one step further. Here the percussionist is expected to take the material Stockhausen provides, which in a sense, is already a complete work,141 and without specific instrumental or notational input transform and shape the material on the CD. In addition, s/he must add new material, integrating all of this information to enhance the existing music: truly, this is an invitation to become a co-composer, and a formidable assignment. To better understand how Stockhausen himself approaches the issue of integration, one could choose any of Stockhausens pieces as a study guide. For the purposes of this study, one piece stands out most clearly: Hymnen (Anthems), from 19667. This work illustrates the concept of integration on a number of levels. The nearly twohour piece utilizes very well-known material in a manner which transcends its ordinary associations and functions without losing its familiarity; forty national anthems from different countries around the world are integrated into a unified large-scale work.142 He subsequently composed two more versions of the work, Hymnen mit Solisten (Anthems
Not only does the work already exist as a sound scene from Freitag, but the vocal and electronic music that exists on the tape (CD) is already a completed piece in a sense. It could stand on its own. Anthems, the national anthems, are the most popular music there is. They are sound signs, sound objects familiar to many people. Actually, everyone is familiar with two or three of these anthems, at least the beginnings of the melodies if not the texts . . .What these anthems represent are nations of people. National anthems are musical recognition signs of peoples, thus something generally accepted. In my composition Hymnen, I wanted . . . to use a recognisable material the most general that exists. If there had been anything on this Earth more generally musically recognisablemusical objects familiar to as many people as possible then I would have chosen it. . . That is why I chose them as objects, which I can now manifoldly [sic] modulate and compose into an unknown world of electronic music. Karlheinz Stockhausen, Hymnen, CD 10 liner notes (Stockhausen-Verlag, Krten: Germany, 1995), 133-4.
142 141

182 with Soloists) and IIIe Region der Hymnen (The Third Region of Anthems), both of which utilize the original tape version of Hymnen with the addition of live instrumentalists. The former calls for a small group of four to six unspecified instruments and the latter for orchestra. These two later versions integrate live acoustic instruments into the texture of the original work and can be understood as forerunners of Komet . In Hymnen mit Solisten Stockhausen imagined the instrumentalists. . . would mark (underline) and commentate [sic] individual notes, chords, noises, figures, motives, melody fragments, thus lending relief and plasticity to the loudspeaker sound, and that the events could be better comprehended through their visible playing.143 To achieve this he wrote out directions (only prose, no musical notation) for the players to use when performing with the tape. He does essentially the same thing in Komet , although here he utilizes music that was composed entirely by him (i.e. no referential material such as national anthems) as the basis for instrumental exploration by the performer. Also, the performance directions for Komet are not as specific as those for Hymnen mit Solisten. Figure 85 below shows the directions for Hymnen mit Solisten. For someone not particularly well-versed in composing or improvising, it is helpful to be familiar with these performance directions, in addition to those given in the score to Komet , in order to better understand Stockhausens concepts of commentary and exploration. Keep in mind that Komet , although not as large scale as Hymnen, is virtually a self-standing piece. The two vocal lines with the added electronic music on the CD provide a large amount of music already. Therefore the piece is quite dense to begin with, and similar to Hymnen in this respect. The percussionist should be careful that at all times

Ibid., 181.

183 Figure 85. Performance directions for Hymnen mit Solisten 144
If at all possible, do not cover anything on the tape Doubling of individual notes for colouring Lengthening of individual notes, especially in the bass (heterophonic pedal note melody, sometimes very low) Polyphonic counter-voices in exposed register, also for extended periods of time Commentary with few notes for long periods of time chosen from a fragment which I varied, or from a central anthem or anthem which clearly appears in the area Do not literally play along with diatonic anthem figures, but rather play only individual notes, intervals or a melody fragment, which is changed through an atonal intermediary note. During this, predominantly major sevenths, minor ninths, tritones are used for harmonically dissonant reinterpretation. When two notes (separated) are to follow one another several times, then they should be played in different octaves with large jumps and with varying accentuations. Temporally stretch, or compress into short figure; over long periods of time transform into a different fragment. A fragment (single note, interval, short figure) once chosen, should from time to time surface again, over long periods of time. Announcements of something which comes much later. Reminiscence reaching back to the beginning. Shreds of musical thought from the anthems, which come into focus when listening to the tape referring back, anticipatingshould be played. Play bridges between parts which are widely separated, with interruptions. In general, therefore, a fragment once chosen should be retained for a long time and changed with a goal in mind (example: take apart a fragment of an anthem and slowly microscope it). Remember elements in a new context, and rhythmically (with several accentuated notes), melodically connect them to present elements. Always leave enough windows: after each insertion, listen to the tape and to the other soloists until several events have been understood; only then mark or commentate further. Continue a fragment of another player, supplement with individual notes. Play every event visually clearly, comprehensibly towards another soloist or to the other soloists.


Ibid., 182-3.

184 the material on the tape be heard; the density and volume of the percussion part must never be so high that the tape is covered up (one way to do this is to employ the windows called for in the performance directions of Hymnen mit Solisten). The purpose of the percussion part is to bring ideas to the fore, to transform them into new ideas, and integrated them into the piece; in a word, to enhance what is already there.The performer should approach what s/he will play based on the idea of serving the existing music. Everything that one plays must relate to the prerecorded material at least at some level, whether it be aurally highlighting an event happening on the tape, using an event on the tape as a means towards improvising, or playing something that aurally connects to notes, gestures, or ideas on the tape. Proper sound reinforcement (microphones) and diffusion (mixer and sound technician per Stockhausens specifications) will also aid the performer in achieving integration and balance between the CD and live events.145 In this authors realization of the first three measures, two ideas are brought to the fore by simply doubling what is happening on the tape to draw the listeners ear. After the initial 0139 electronic music introduction, the score begins. At this point I strike a solitary a chime to correspond precisely with the beginning of the piece proper, the entrance of the upper voice part on the downbeat of measure one (see figure 75 above for original harmonic content prescribed by Stockhausen). Similarly, on the downbeat of measure 3, I double the quintuplet that occurs in the first soprano part with the crotales as a coloration of the existing sounds, and on the eighth beat I double the upper divisi vocal lines on the vibraphone.

As the score to the percussion version of Komet is not published please refer to the performance directions of Komet als Klavierstck XVII for specific sound reinforcement requirements . Stockhausen, Komet als Klavierstck XVII, IV.


185 Figure 86. Measures 1-3 with percussion realization

Karlheinz Stockhausen

Another type of coloration is implemented in measure 6 at the bottom of the page. The chromatic line in the second soprano is colored by a glissando on the tam tam. This glissando, played in rhythmic unison with the second soprano, uses a thin metal knitting needle on the edge of the tam tam. The initial striking position on the needle is close to where it is being held. Then, as the pitch of the vocal line rises, the striking point of the needle moves closer and closer to the tip, creating a glissando (see figure 84).146 This action does not double the vocal line exactly, unless of course the pitch of the needle happens to be a c#. The pitch gets higher as the length of the freely vibrating needle gets shorter, thus resulting in a pitch contour very similar to the vocal line.


This technique is described in greater detail above on p. 75 in reference to the discussion of


186 Figure 87. Measure 6

Karlheinz Stockhausen

Both of these techniques draw attention to events on the tape by doubling them with a completely different timbre. One can also utilize timbres that are similar to those on the tape, as a means of highlighting, merely through additional layering and the subsequent dynamic increase of a gesture. For example, figure 88 below shows measures 94-5 from the score. On the last beat of measure 94 the second soprano has a very quick two-note gesture in eighth notes on the syllables ka ka. The pitch for the first note is b, while the second pitch is essentially as high as possible (i.e. higher than g1 ). Amidst the contrasting glissandi in the voices (first soprano sliding down against the ascending second soprano voice) which give the beginning of this measure a very nebulous, unstable feel, the two fast eighth notes represent a percussive and unyielding event to form an anchor for this measure. Therefore, I use two woodblocks, tuned to b1 and d1 (although the latter pitch is not of importance as long as it is higher than the b1 ) to double

187 the two notes in the second soprano part. This is a simple doubling and results in an amplification and dramatization of the gesture.

Figure 88. Measures 94-5

Karlheinz Stockhausen

This work is really about interplay and dialogue between the percussionist and tape, and this momentalbeit extremely briefis an exacting one, especially in light of the music before and directly after. If the performer occasionally makes very direct connections to the tape the listener and the performer are grounded. Sudden simultaneity amidst aural chaos (perhaps only perceived chaos) creates connections between the two forces: here, the impression is one of the performer pulling these two notes from thin air and very briefly taking control of the entire experience, then immediately slipping back into a less literal realization.

188 Figure 89 below is an example of a more specific accompaniment supplied by Stockhausen, in this case a precisely measured tremolo with a steady half note ascending bass line. Although the performer is under no specific obligation to play the prescribed accompaniment (the performance directions clearly state: It is not necessary to play all pitches of the chords nor all the rhythmicized [sic] passages in every bar),147 Stockhausen is certainly pointing the interpreter in a certain direction. Instead of executing a two or three-note tremolo gesture on the vibraphone or other metallic instrument, I have chosen an instrument with a timbre similar to the rolled r sound of the voice, playing a vigorous shaken tremolo on a pair of angklung tuned to g and b.

Figure 89. Measures 103-106

Karlheinz Stockhausen

The hollow sound of the rattling bamboo nicely accentuates the sound of the singers tongue rebounding off the roof of her mouth quickly and repeatedly. Obviously


Karlheinz Stockhausen, Komet, IV.

189 the constant pitch fluctuation of the glissandi is not mirrored in the angklung; however, the instruments add a depth and density to the gesture that do amplify it to some extent. More importantly, these instruments add an additional spatial element to the moment. Because of the visual aspect to this gesture, the constant tremolo on the two angklung mask where the r sound is coming from. The result blends so well with the tape that the audience loses the directionality of the sound and allows me to connect with the piece; the action actually takes it over. At this moment it does not appear that I am playing with the tape; instead the two elements truly become one. Then, in measure 107, the CD is allowed to regain prominence and control. Moments of this type of connection allow the performer to take over briefly, creating a special realization; as they actually transform the material to such a degree that the audience is fooled. All of the above examples of highlighting specific notes, gestures, or lines notated in the score have only dealt with the inclusion of the acoustic instruments; the three mentioned above are included as examples of possibilities and do not represent the entire gamut of techniques available to the performer. It is also possible, and in fact expected, to utilize the electronic instruments to accomplish a similar goal of highlighting events in order to draw the listeners attention to them; and there are manifold ways in which this can be done. One such way is documented below. Measure 10 sees the first relatively long break, eight beats of rest, in the vocal activity. This marks the first time Stockhausen writes an accompaniment that contains more than isolated arrhythmic chords; he notates a specific gesture complete with rhythm, pitch, and contour (see figure 90). Once again, the percussionist is not required to play what is written; in fact, s/he is not required to play anything at all in that measure if

190 so chosen. However, the look of the gesture interested me, so I decided to realize it (or one that approximates it). Figure 90. Measures 10 and 11

Karlheinz Stockhausen

The initial problem with this gesture is that aside from timpaniwhich are too bulky for my desired set upand hand-crank sirens (like those used by Varse), there are no traditional percussion instruments that can execute a seamless (non-chromatic) glissando. This particular gesture thus represents a perfect spot to employ electronic instruments, and is, in fact, the first time I use them in the realization. I begin by programming the pitches of the treble-clef chord (d#, f#, b, c#1 ) and their respective glissandi into the drumKAT. Instead of merely having the chord ascend upward as one entity at the same rate, I focus the following a-flat1 in the first soprano part in measure 11 as an arrival point for all four of these notes. Since Stockhausen is very precise with the prescribed tempo (63.5 bpm), I was able to program the glissandi to last for the proper duration of the measure. At this rate of speed, each quarter note pulse is 1.0583 seconds long, making the length of the measure 8.4664 seconds long (which I rounded to 8.5 seconds). Then, all four pitches begin exactly when I strike the pad on the drumKAT; but as they are all ascending to the same final pitch in the same amount of

191 time, the rates of ascension are slightly different. The lowest pitch, f#, goes the fastest, while the c#1 ascends the slowest. Granted, this is very subtle, but it is noticeable. At the same time, I have the pedal-point minor seventh dyad (Bb/Ab) to sustain for as long as I hold my mallet on the pad. I do not include the bell-shaped glissando in the second half of the measure lest it detract from the activity in the treble-clef notes. The sounds used for this were constructed in a synthesizer patch created in Generator; they were based on a saw-tooth wave for the bass notes and a sine wave for the upper notes. Another example can be seen in measure 109. Here, I utilize both acoustic and electronic instruments to accentuate the material on the tape. The downbeat of this measure initiates a two-sixteenth note figure (in double stops) in the first soprano part followed by a long glissando (see figure 91); I double the first three notes with the crotales. I then program the drumKAT to double the dyad glissando, which is played on beat two of the measure. Since the resonance of these notes does not last for the full fourmeasure gesture, I programmed it so a re-attack on each downbeat continues the glissando. Although I have to strike the drumKAT on the downbeat of every measure, I am free to play other material. In addition to the electronic sounds after the initial crotale and drumKAT gesture, I double the second soprano line on acoustic instruments, beginning with a vibraphone roll on a in the first measure. The quarter-note triplet in measure 110 (in the accompaniment) is played on a combination of instruments: the a is played on vibraphone, the following e on the chime, and the final note on the b-flat almglocke (which is then sustained with a constant roll). In keeping with Stockhausens interest in continual transformation, this roll is begun on the extreme edge of the instrument, where the sound is most bell-like. As the roll leads to the next measure

192 Figure 91. Measures 109-112

Karlheinz Stockhausen

I move toward the top of the bell, resulting in a continual transformation from the full sound produced at the edge to the relatively thin sound at the top. On the second beat of measure 111, following the final dyad glissando stroke (which this time turns the gesture around to begin an ascent), the pitch is played on the a chime, again in the form of a roll. This elucidation of the melodic line sung by the second soprano ensures doubling both lines equally while simultaneously utilizing electronic and acoustic instruments (see figure 92). Figure 92. Instrumental realization of measures 109-112

193 Electronic Manipulation Electronic instruments can be used to a degree far beyond the mere triggering of samples. Consulting the printed realization of Komet als Klavierstck XVII (Comet as Piano Piece XVII) by Antonio Prez Abelln, one sees that the performer of an electronic keyboard/synthesizer has many shaping tools at his/her finger tips. These include modulation wheels and various pedal controllers with many additional sounds available at the touch of a button (this is encouraged for the percussionist as well). However, holding mallets to play acoustic instruments and navigating around buttons, pedals, and mouse pads during performance becomes cumbersome very quickly. One can perform the piece entirely on a malletKAT or other electronic percussion instrument, but it is my opinion that the inherent visual and kinetic aspect of performing on a collection of percussion instruments is superior to an electronic keyboard counterpart. It is fascinating for the audience to see, feel, and hear the live attacks of the percussion instruments within this otherwise alien, electronic sound world. With that said, a good compromise could include some electronically created sounds which are easily manipulated in real time, so that at a few key points the performer utilizes the sculpting capabilities of the computer or other sound module (while still retaining the visceral nature of playing acoustic instruments). In measure 31, the two voices come together on the downbeat, arriving at a unison rhythm on an unspecified high pitch with a sharp consonant t sound. Although the texts are different, soprano two singing Weihnacht Geburt (Christmas birthday) and soprano one singing Dunkel wird Licht (Darkness becomes light) come together on the final consonant t of each of these phrases (see figure 93). This important and symbolic

194 moment is one of the few places in which a text can be clearly discerned; this choice of text obviously implies a connection between the Christmas birth and the transition from darkness to light, from ignorance to knowledge, or from divergence to unity (a somewhat abstract reference to the general narrative of Freitag aus Licht ). The text implies that transformation can open a new world, or at least give us a new view of the world. In that spirit, I attempt to further unify the electronic and acoustic music.

Figure 93. Measures 29-33

Karlheinz Stockhausen

In measure 31, after the voices converge, there is a very brief high sound represented in the score by a crescendo-decrescendo (hairpin) gesture notated above the staff. With the idea of transformation in mind, I connect the g# in the second soprano voice on beat four of measure 29 to the swell in the electronic music in measure 31. I do this with a common sound sample, taken from the cartoon The Jetsons: George Jetsons

195 spaceship car taking off. This, of course, ties into the idea of utilizing sound events associated with children, but it is also a very interesting sound in and of itself. It consists of both an accelerando and rising glissando, a cartoon spaceship version of the sound an automobile makes when it departs from an at-rest position. The sound is molded to fit the needs of its function at this point of the music. The original sample begins on d, but to have it fit into the harmonic context, I transpose it down to begin on a g#. Furthermore, I program the drumKAT, which is pressure sensitive, to play back the sample in direct response to the pressure applied to the pad. In order for the glissando and accelerando to occur, the performer must apply constant pressure to the pad; in addition, the amount of pressure can affect the parameters of the sound. The more pressure applied, the faster the sample happens; less pressure and the rate of change in pitch and speed decreases. This allows flexibility in the playback of the sample. Since the transposition of the sample down to g# slows it down, the pitch is clearly heard and connects nicely to the second soprano voice. I can then control how fast the process occurs: if I want the curve of the accelerando-glissando gesture to be more exponential, I apply more pressure toward the end of the gesture; for a more constant rate of increase an even amount of pressure is needed throughout the measure. Thus I can sculpt the gesture for optimal transformation into the electronic swell. The result at this point of convergence is an added layer of electronic activity which seamlessly connects and transforms one voice part into the other. Granted, this is a very isolated event, perhaps not readily noticeable to the audience. However, it is precisely these types of events that make a realization of Komet interesting. Ideally, the performer will bring out contrapuntal relationships that are

196 already somewhat apparent and additionally discover others less apparent or even nonintentional. The performer must interact with the given material in such a unique way that only his/her version will elicit certain aural relationships which otherwise might not exist. Other examples of this type of electronic manipulation occur in the last five measures of the piece, 133-137 (figure 94). Each of these measures contains a quarter note event on the downbeat, and the five measures are repeated with a continual ritardando that occurs through all ten measures.

Figure 94. Measures 133-137

Karlheinz Stockhausen

The harmony changes in each measure, all over a C1 pedal in the bass. As can be seen in figure 94 above, the soprano and alto lines in the harmony are doubled notes two octaves apart: they are a-eb-f-db-c. I select synthesized sounds to execute this voice

197 leading, using a large glissando to connect one pitch to the next, moving freely through the different registers. I program the drumKAT so the initial a, upon impact, begins a sustained, rising glissando. The next note I play is the e-flat2 on the downbeat of measure 134, which does a contrary falling glissando to the f in measure 135; it in turn slides up to the d-flat2 in measure 136, which then transforms into the c in 137. My idea is to bring out the specified pitches, but to zigzag through the register to show the notes in another light. To program the glissandi correctly, I timed each measure of the CDs ritard with a stopwatch. Each downbeat is given its own attack to best place it with events on the tape. These events are then further colored, with both samples and acoustic instruments, to create a very active last gesture. The samples for these last ten attacks are a boing from the video game Q-bert , a Tie-fighter swoosh from the movie Star Wars, a ducks quack, a bomb being dropped from the space ship in the video game Defender, Doh from The Simpsons, and the humanoid must not escape from the video game Berzerk (transposed down to a C). The final technique I use takes pitches from the relatively free harmonic fabric and composes (improvises) gestures and processes unique to this realization. Stockhausen states that the percussionist improvises points, curved glissandi, tremoli, sporadic attacks of intervals and chords and short arpeggi [sic], or he notates them in detail, and he goes on to say the soloist should by all means, however, form a process.148 One can refer to the performance directions of Hymnen for some specific ideas on the matter. Figure 95 below shows measures 52-57 from the score, but what it does not show is an event that occurs on the downbeat of measure 55. In the corresponding electronic

Stockhausen, Komet, IV.

198 music on the CD there is a high-pitched event which, if described in non-technical terms, sounds like a digitally altered bell of some kind. The rhythm of this gesture is represented somewhat inaccurately in the bass clef of the measure. This event is also the first in a measure with an intensified rhythmic design, an abrupt texture change, which lasts for the next eight measures.

Figure 95. Measures 52-57, original score

Karlheinz Stockhausen

Figure 96. Measures 52-57, percussion realization

For this section of music I only utilize acoustic instruments and create one of only two virtuosic points in the piece (see figure 96). In order to achieve a linear event with a clear goal, I create a process of events that goes from sporadic to dense over the course

199 of six measures, leading up to the bell-like gesture in the electronic music (directly on measure 55). Then, the density of the gesture gives way to a rhythmically active texture based on the suggested rhythm. The reverse then occurs: after measure 55 the rhythmic nature of the live music begins to dissipate until at measure 57 the notes are once again sporadic. Figure 93 shows the percussion realization. A similar moment occurs in measures 78-83 (see figure 97). Here, again, the vocal parts are much more rhythmically active. The upper part, soprano one, is extremely rhythmic and also highly chromatic, while the second soprano, though still relatively rhythmic, is more ill-defined and more focused on portamenti over an interval of a third. The overall effect is texturally dense, and the listener is hard-pressed to find something to grasp onto. These three measures create a feeling of instability.

Figure 97. Measures 78-82

Karlheinz Stockhausen

200 For the live aspect of these measures I mirror this instability. Using the prescribed harmonic outline, I construct a four-measure line of music that moves quickly from instrument to instrument creating an active, yet unstable, sound world. As certain ideas solidified, I began to hear the live percussion in these few measures coming from the unbalanced world of the music on the CD; yet it grew to inhabit an aural space of its own. As directed, I explored sound combinations from my various instruments, choosing amongst specific pitches offered in the score. I began to hear the ordering of the instruments as a melodic statement: the perfect example of klangfarbenmelodie. Amidst this sonic chaos (at least as I perceived it), experimentation with the score and the transformation of its contents had brought about a moment of discovery and clarity. At this point, the percussion brings to the fore a passage of music that was deeply hidden within the texture; focus is taken off the tape and emphasis is put, albeit briefly, onto the live music of that moment. Yet another level of counterpoint has been discovered within the rich and complex sound world Stockhausen created.

Conclusion Komet represents a culmination of compositional techniques and aesthetic concerns heard in Stockhausens music throughout his career. Extracted from the grand cycle Licht , it was written using his formulaic technique; it, therefore, has the formal rigor that has been a mainstay of his music dating from his first pieces of the early 1950s. The piece utilizes electronically produced and manipulated sounds in the creation of unique and meaningful works of artan idea that has permeated his work for an equally long time. The main aesthetic concern of the piece is exploration and

201 transformation on the part of the performer. S/he is expected to use the sonic material presented by Stockhausenmaterial that by its very nature is determined and fixed in timeto create an aural experience that is unique to each individual performer and, at the same time, unmistakably Stockhausen. The electronic/concrete/vocal music of Komet , along with the orchestration of the creative percussionist, creates a sonic landscape exuding the technique of a composer who has been on the forefront of avant-garde music for over fifty years.




Stockhausen has been an unparalleled proponent of contemporary percussion composition. Beginning in 1959 with his composition Zyklus, and continuing through the end of the twentieth century, he has shown his commitment to the genre and has proven that it continues to offer innovative potential to talented and creative composers and performers. The primary intention of this thesis has been to address Stockhausens percussion pieces from an interpretative standpoint. It is the hope of this author, not to establish the correct way of performing these works, but to provide an aesthetic backdrop for musicians to use for future performances of these and other pieces by Stockhausen, current and future. The three solo percussion pieces discussed in this study are unique and present their own interpretive hurdles. However, there are two main ideas that permeate all three works and should concern every performer who tackles them: instrumentation and unique sound combinations. In Zyklus, mentioned previously, Stockhausen calls for a very specific group of instruments. However, even forty-four years after the fact, some of these instruments are difficult to acquire. The percussionist must search for not only the correct instruments (i.e., specifically tuned almglocken and log drums), but those of highest quality so the performer has the best sounds available to realize the work. Of course, in Nasenflgeltanz and Komet , the instrumentation is much freer (especially the

203 latter), and the performer is now given the responsibility of choosing instrumental timbres that will best serve the interpretation of the work. Similarly, in these two works, the percussionist must utilize electronic sounds and devices. Aesthetically, the idea of unique sound combinations is crucial to all three works. In Zyklus, Stockhausen expects the performer to think polyphonically. The best interpretations are those that show evidence of the most careful thought behind the combination of different variable elements. The timbres and their textures are meant to create polyphonic sound structures. Similarly, in Nasenflgeltanz, the addition of the EX timbres to the existing score require that the percussionist utilize creative sounds. Rather than being inserted into the work at random, I have contended that these sounds should have an aesthetic connection to Stockhausen, the work, or each other; they require the kind of care on the part of the performer that turns the performer into a composer. Compositionally, Komet requires the most from the percussionist. S/he must not only choose the specific instrumentation and electronics, but the actual notes and gestures to be played. As in Zyklus, the performer chooses when events will happen, and must combine his/her material with the requisite material on the tape. In a way, the tape has a similar function to the primary timeline in Zyklus: the material on it is not optional. However, unlike Zyklus, the musical material to be played is written by the percussionist. Although Stockhausen began his career committed to the controls of total serialism and continues to implement rigorous pre-compositional formal design in his work, he has always valued the importance of the interpreters skills in the realization of his music and leaves many things to the discretion of the performer. Stockhausens music

204 places great demands on, and requires innovative thought and input on the part of, the performer. To execute a true performance of these works, the performer must take an active role in the composition of the work as well as in the technical interpretation of it. This study has provided some insight into how a performer of this music can begin to do that and apply it to music of future generations as well. Stockhausen is not merely expressing his ideas through his music, but he invites, indeed expects, the performer to be an equal partner in helping him create and shape each musical experience.

205 BIBLIOGRAPHY Applebaum, Terry L. A Comprehensive Performance Project in Percussion Literature. DMA diss., University of Iowa, 1978. Boettger, Andreas. Interview by author, 2 August 2000, Krten. Stockhausen Interpretation and Composition Courses, Krten, Germany. Coenen, Alcedo. Stockhausens Paradigm: A Survey of his Theories. Perspectives of New Music 32, no.2 (Summer 1994): 200-225. Cott, Jonathan. Stockhausen: Conversations with the Composer. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1973. DePonte, Neil. No.9 Zyklus: How and Why. Percussionist 7, no. 4 (1975): 136-149. Griffiths, Paul. Modern Music: The Avant-Garde Since 1945. New York: George Braziller, 1981. Harvey, Jonathan. The Music of Karlheinz Stockhausen: an Introduction. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1975. Hollings, Ken. Lost in the Stars. The Wire 184 (June 1999): 22-29. Kurtz, Michael. Stockhausen: A Biography. Translated by Richard Toop. London: Faber and Faber, 1992. Lambert, Jim. A Students Preparation of Zyklus. Percussionist 11, no.1 (1973): 15-18. Maconie, Robin. Through the Looking Glass. The Musical Times 139, no.1863 (Summer 1998): 4-11. ________. The Works of Karlheinz Stockhausen. With a foreword by Karlheinz Stockhausen. 2d ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990. Morgan, Robert P. Stockhausens Writings on Music. The Musical Quarterly 61, no. 1 (January, 1975): 1-16. Morton, Brian. Karlheinz Stockhausen: Taking Notes. The Wire 62 (April 1989): 3032. Neuhaus, Max. Zyklus. Percussionist 30, no.1 (1965): 6-12. Schick, Steven. Multiple Percussion. Encyclopedia of Percussion. Edited by John H. Beck. New York: Garland Publishing, 1995.

206 Sinker, Mark. Back from Another World. The Wire 105 (November 1992): 22-27. Stockhausen, Karlheinz. Aus den sieben Tagen. Hamburg: Universal Edition, 1968. ________. Interview by author, 9 August 2001, Krten. Stockhausen Interpretation and Composition Courses, Krten, Germany. ________. Komet als Klavierstck XVII: vom Freitag aus Licht. Krten: Stockhausen Verlag, 2002. ________. Kontakte. New ed. Krten: Stockhausen-Verlag, 1995. ________. Komet als Schlagzeug Solo: vom Freitag aus Licht. Manuscript Krten: Stockhausen-Verlag, 1999. ________. Licht aus Stockhausen. Interview by Malcolm Ball (December 1997). Avant 5 (December 1997): 20-28. ________. Musik im Bauch. Krten: Stockhausen-Verlag, 1980. ________. Nasenflgeltanz: vom Samstag aus Licht. Krten: Stockhausen-Verlag, 1995. ________. Pole. Krten: Stockhausen-Verlag, 1975. ________. Programm zu den Interpretations und Kompositionskursen und Konzerten der Musik von Karlheinz Stockhausen (Program for the Interpretation and Composition Courses and concerts of the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen). Krten: Stockhausen-Verlag, 1999. ________. Programm zu den Interpretations und Kompositionskursen und Konzerten der Musik von Karlheinz Stockhausen (Program for the Interpretation and Composition Courses and concerts of the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen). Krten: Stockhausen-Verlag, 2000. ________. Programm zu den Interpretations und Kompositionskursen und Konzerten der Musik von Karlheinz Stockhausen (Program for the Interpretation and Composition Courses and concerts of the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen). Krten: Stockhausen-Verlag, 2001. ________. Spiral. London: Universal Edition, 1973. ________. Texte Zur Musik . vol. 2 Cologne: DuMont, 1964. ________. Texte Zur Musik . vol. 4 Cologne: DuMont, 1978.

207 ________. Towards a Cosmic Music: Texts by Karlheinz Stockhausen. Ed. and translated by Tim Neville. Longmead: Element Books Ltd., 1989. ________ and Robin Maconie. Stockhausen on Music: Lectures and Interviews. London: Marion Boyars Publishers, 1989; Marion Boyars Publishers, 1991. ________. Zyklus: Nr.9. London: Universal Edition, 1960. Tannenbaum, Mya. Conversations with Stockhausen. Translated by David Butchart. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987. Toop, Richard. Karlheinz Stockhausen. In The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie, 24: 399-400. London: Macmillan, 2001. Udow, Michael. An Interview with Karlheinz Stockhausen. Percussive Notes Research Edition 23, no. 6 (1985): 4-47. Williams, B. Michael. Stockhausen: Nr.9 Zyklus. Percussive Notes 39, no.3 (June 2001): 60-67. Witherden, Barry. The Primer: Karlheinz Stockhausen. The Wire 154 (December 1996): 40-43. Witts, Dick. Stockhausen meets the Technocrats. The Wire 141 (November 1995): 32 35. Wrner, Karl H. Stockhausen: Life and Work. Edited and translated by Bill Hopkins. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1973.

208 APPENDIX A Discography Zyklus Mircea ArdeleanuTwo versions, 1988 Koch Schwann Musica Mundi 310 020 H1CD Christoph CaskelFirst Recording, 1960 Wergo WER 600 10LP Heliodor 2 549 016LP Mace S 9091LP Stockhausen Complete Edition 6CD Christoph CaskelSecond recording, 1961 Time Series 2000 58001LP Mainstream 5003LP Jonathan Farelli ARTS 47558CD/DVD Tristan Fry1975 CFP 40207LP CFP 40205LP RCA RDC-1LP Sylvio Gualda197Erato STU 70 603LP Florent Jodelet1992 Accord 202742 Max NeuhausFirst recording, 1964 Wergo WER 600 10LP Heliodor 2 549 016LP Mace S 9091LP Hr Zu SHZW 902 BLLP Max NeuhausSecond recording (spontaneous version), 1968 Columbia MS 7139LP Yasunori Yamaguchi1978 CBS Sony, Japan SONC 16012-I

209 SumireYoshiharaFirst recording, 1977 Japanese RCA RDC-1 (JRL-1-1026)LP (45 rpm) SumireYoshiharaSecond recording, 1980 Camerata CMT 1040LP Camerata 32CM-313CD (1994)

NasenflgeltanzOnly available in original operatic version during Luzifers Tanz, the third scene of Samstag aus Licht Samstag aus Licht 1988 Deutsche Grammophon: 423 597-2--423 600-2 (on container: 423 596-2)CD Stockhausen Complete Edition 34CD (same as above)(1992)

Komet (not available in version for percussion solo) Freitag aus Licht 2003 Stockhausen Complete Edition 50CD (complete opera) Stockhausen Complete Edition 49CD (electronic music with sound scenes from Freitag aus Licht ) Stockhausen Complete Edition 63CD (electronic and concrete music for Komet ) All scores, CDs, books, and videos of the Stockhausen Complete Edition are available from the Stockhausen-Verlag, 51515 Krten, Germany.