Karlheinz Stockhausen’s “Stimmung” Sprachkomposition as a Sign of Its Time

At the second half of the 50s of the 20th century, a certain kind of compositions appear, that in German musical language are called Sprachkomposition1Sprachkomposition – a German term, depictind the usage of language phonemes and their acoustic characteristics as music material. This term occurred in the West at the end of the 50s of the 20th century, including: Stockhausen’s Gesang der jünglinge (1956), Omaggio a Joyce by Berio (1958), Ligeti’s Aventures (1962) and Nouvelle Aventures (1965), and others. In a literal translation, the word Sprachkomposition means “language composition” or “lingo-composition”, but it is believed that as the terms Sprеchstimme or Klangfarbenmelodie it can be used as a borrowed foreign musical term. [Translator’s note: this article, published here, is in Russian. (“language composition”). They are characterized with musical phoneme usage, and their acoustic features as a building material, thus creating a completely new form of musical thought. Stockhausen is considered the pioneer in this field – he has created numerous works of this kind – including “Gesang der jünglinge” (1956), “Moments” (1962 – 1969), “Stimmung” (1968). This article aims to analyze the aleatoric score of “Stimmung” in light of the political, societal and art tendencies of the 60s of the 20th century, and also to tell the incredibly dramatic story of its performance up until the beginning of the new millennium. Particular interest deserves enlightening the little-known music history fact: Stockhausen’s influence on Werner Meyer-Eppler – a scientist-phonetician, a pioneer in the theory of information and the psychological aspect of phonetic communication interaction, a lecturer in the Darmstadt courses and an initiator of the first electronic music studio in Germany.

Keywords: Sprachkomposition, Stockhausen, contemporary phonetics, partial tone singing (throat singing), formula

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1. Sprachkomposition – a German term, depictind the usage of language phonemes and their acoustic characteristics as music material. This term occurred in the West at the end of the 50s of the 20th century, including: Stockhausen’s Gesang der jünglinge (1956), Omaggio a Joyce by Berio (1958), Ligeti’s Aventures (1962) and Nouvelle Aventures (1965), and others. In a literal translation, the word Sprachkomposition means “language composition” or “lingo-composition”, but it is believed that as the terms Sprеchstimme or Klangfarbenmelodie it can be used as a borrowed foreign musical term. [Translator’s note: this article, published here, is in Russian.