Mixtur 2003

Categories: Elettroacustica
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Published on: 9 February 2010

Karlheinz Stockhausen, “Mixtur 2003 (Forward Version)”
for 5 orchestra groups, 4 sine-wave generator players, 4 sound mixers, with 4 ring modulators and sound projectionist

From the Musica Viva Festival
Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Lucas Vis
Recorded January 27, 2008
Muffathalle, Munich

The essential aspect of MIXTUR is, on one hand, the transformation of the familiar orchestra sound into a new, enchanting world of sound. It is an unbelievable experience, for example, to see and hear string players bowing a sustained tone and to simultaneously perceive how this tone slowly moves away from itself in a glissando, the pulse accelerates, and a wonderful timbre spectrum emerges. Orchestra musicians are astonished when they hear the notes they play being modulated timbrally, melodically, rhythmically, and dynamically. All shades of the transitions from tone to noise, noise to chord, from timbre to rhythm and rhythm to pitch come into being from such ring modulations, as if by themselves.

Finest micro-intervals, extreme glissandi and register changes, percussive attacks resulting from normally smooth entrances, complex harmonies (also above single instrumental tones), and many other unheard-of sound events result from this modulation technique and from the variable structuring.

Secondly, the ring modulation adds new overtone- and sub-tone series to the instrumental spectra, which can be clearly heard, especially during sustained sounds in MIXTUR. Such mixtures do not occur in nature or with traditional instruments. Through these mirrored overtone harmonies, one is moved by alien, haunting sensations of beauty, which are completely new in art music.

Only such renewal in how music affects us imbues new techniques with meaning.

— Karlheinz Stockhausen

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