Research


Juan Verdaguer  (2nd year master's)

Making an Interactive Realisation Score for Stockhausen’s Gesang der Jünglinge

Gesang der Jünglinge was composed within the years 1955 and 1956 at the WDR studios in Cologne, Germany. Ever since its production Stockhausen tried several times to recover the realisation tapes of his work, unfortunately with no success. These tapes included sound material such as the recording sessions made with the singer Josef Protschka, as well as the electronic sounds used throughout the piece. In December 2011, now with the archived tapes fully digitised, the WDR finally returned about 40 realisation tapes of Gesang der Jünglinge to the Stockhausen Foundation for Music. The tapes are now available in their archives.

Regaining access to this material marked the end of a long overdue debt electronic music had with itself, and opened the door to a world of sounds that was missing and probably forgotten from the world of contemporary music. With the support of the Stockhausen Foundation for Music, I took it upon myself to study these tapes together with the available sketches in close detail, producing tools that could help educators, composers, musicologists and musicians alike to gain a better understanding of the compositional techniques used in this milestone of electronic music. The first tool I produced in this endeavour was the Swarmer: a software application that could be programmed to reproduce most of the sounds of Gesang der Jünglinge. This application follows the same set of rules and procedures Stockhausen used, allowing the user to learn with a comparable level of precision the techniques and compositional processes developed by Stockhausen to produce each of the sounds in the piece.

My main goal during my master’s studies at the Institute of Sonology is to develop a digital interactive realisation score of Gesang der Jünglinge, one that would incorporate all the knowledge extracted from the analysis of the entire piece, the original tapes, the sketches, as well as the compositional techniques developed with the available equipment. Although original in its nature, a software-based score for an electronic music composition like Gesang der Jünglinge seems to be a perfect fit, especially given the amount of information and cross-referenced material that needs to be shown and explained. The Stockhausen Foundation for Music has encouraged work along these lines and has also facilitated access to related material to furnish the research.

Gesang der Jünglinge is one of a few of Stockhausen’s electronic works that never had a complete and fully edited realisation score, perhaps due to its intrinsic complexity and the great amount of work that took Stockhausen and his assistant Gottfried Michael Koenig to prepare and produce each of the sounds. It is a work that was not always thoroughly documented as some of his later electronic pieces, e.g. Kontakte, Telemusik, etc.

It is key to emphasize the importance this project has in regards of possibilities for further research on historical pieces of electronic music that, by using this same model, could be communicated and presented in a thorough manner for educational purposes.

Juan Verdaguer was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1980. He studied music analysis and composition with Gustavo Mirabile, carrillon playing at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht, and attended several Stockhausen courses in Kürten, Germany. He is currently in the master’s degree programme of the Institute of Sonology at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague.

 

Anne Wellmer (2nd year master's)

On archiving electronic music & media art

 I am doing research on strategies of media archiving as a means to preserve cultural heritage, on the practical aspects and theoretical implications of recovering and saving media art and electronic music that otherwise might be lost, and on methods of how the contents of media archives can be made available in order to create and maintain valuable resources for future artistic and scientific work.

The Institute of Sonology owns historically relevant collections of electronic music and media, including the archive of tapes created at Sonology since the 1960's, the complete Dick Raaijmakers Archive which includes writings, drawings and art works, and treasures such as the original material for Poème électronique which Edgar Varèse made for the Philips Pavilion at the World Trade Fair of 1958. Much of the material owned by Sonology has yet to be indexed. The Raaijmakers archive will serve as a case study: Strategies will have to be laid out of how to include the wide range of materials that make up this unique collection in one archival system, which will be up to international standards regarding the documentation, preservation and distribution of the respective materials.

Often all that is left of a piece is documentation. The ephemeral nature of media art (and any cutting edge technology) requires special attention when it comes down to making a work available after the necessary equipment has broken down and become obsolete. Questions regarding the repair and maintenance of such obsolete equipment (players, computers) and the validity of transferring a piece from one medium to another (i.e. CD to hard disk) in order to save and preserve it will have to be addressed.

The more poetic questions that I intend to address concern the role of personal and collective memory, the impact that order has on meaning, the inherent beauty of special collections, as well as questions regarding the right to be remembered versus the right to be forgotten. 

Anne Wellmer is a composer and performer of electronic music and a media artist based in The Hague.  In 2007 she received an honorary mention in digital musics from the Prix Ars Electronica in Linz.  Wellmer studied classical voice in Mainz and Amsterdam, and electronic music at the Institute of Sonology. She holds an MA from Wesleyan University where she studied composition with Alvin Lucier and worked in the World Music Archives as a graduate assistent. 

 

Giacomo Lepri (2nd year master's Instruments & Interfaces)

InMuSIC - Interactive Multimodal System for Improvised Composition

My research at the Institute of Sonology focuses on the design of a real-time interactive multimodal computer-based system for free improvisation. The main idea is to implement a set of affective musical interactions by identifying and process relevant expressive musical hints of the performer through the observation of both embodied motion cues (motion tracking) and sonic parameters (audio stream analysis).

Music practice is often the result of a wide range of expressive requirements and technical skills. Based on this the goal of the research will be to try to intuit, observe and measure some of the most relevant aspects related to musical affective intentions during a free improvised performance. In this research, improvisation will therefore be conceived as a complete musical act, synthesis of an intricate creative process involving physicality, movement, cognition, emotions and sound.

From a practical point of view, the development of the system will focus on four nodes:

1.     Audio analysis: implementation of technics for real-time extraction and interpretation of meaningful audio features of a musician performing a free improvised session;


2.     Movement analysis: implementation of technics for real-time extraction and interpretation of full body movements of the improviser;

3.     Mapping and interaction design: implementation of a multilevel mapping strategy and decision-making algorithms able to deal with the interpreted musical information in order to generate satisfying musical feedbacks (i.e. development of musical structures and real-time sound interaction);

4.     Audio generation: implementation of digital sound processes (DSP) techniques for sound synthesis and live sampling consistent with the previous nodes.
The system should be able to balance different degrees of adaptiveness, autonomy and imitation/variation in relation to the musical information analysed during the performance. I will attempt to implement a system based on a few specific motion and audio cues in order to be able to deal with different musicians and instruments.
The framework of the work will be strongly related to the concepts introduced by the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) in which technology is no longer used only in exact and natural sciences contexts, but where it enters in a dialogue with the complexity of the human nature. The belief is that human behaviours and their ambiguity must be taken into consideration in order to design and shape a meaningful and sustainable technology.

Personal Website - http://www.giacomolepri.com/

InMuSIC Master Blog - http://leprinmusic.blogspot.nl/

Giacomo Lepri is a musician, sound designer and video artist. He studied piano and percussion specializing in the Afro-Cuban and Brazilian tradition as well as in Afro-American jazz practice. Since young age, he is also interested in electronics and informatics technologies applied to music. He was visiting student at the University of Edinburgh and he earned a bachelor’s degree in Electronic Music from the Conservatory of Genoa “N. Paganini”. His artistic activities mainly concern the interaction between music, other arts and technologies, with particular regards to the sense of performativity, ensemble-music practice and improvisation.

 

Adam Juraszek (2nd year master's)

Topology and Gesture in Electronic Music

If a sound can be said to 'move' what sort of space does it move in?

This research is an investigation into the gestural affordances of feedback-based signal networks and dynamical systems with a view to creating conceptual and practical models of gestural behaviour as an object of composition. I also intend to probe the importance of gestures in music cognition and how our understanding of them or the idea of 'liveness' has been altered with the intervention of electronic techniques.

I intend to compose electroacoustic pieces taking these considerations into account, and to develop software to help me 'compose with' gestures.

 Adam Juraszek (1989) is a musician from London. He has been involved in metal, math-rock, drone and electronica. He studied mathematics at Imperial College London (2007–10), and the one-year course at the Institute of Sonology (2013–14).

 

Darien Brito (2nd year master's)

Developing a Toolbox for Composition Using Generative Systems

This research aims to develop a framework that will facilitate and enhance the creative process by making use of generative systems. 

The very nature of algorithmic music demands some sort of generative process in its creation. This process can be seen at the micro level, where it is used to synthesize the elements of the composition, or at the macro level, where it is used to order the events in time. My main interest is in the mid-points, where networks can be utilized to create dynamic systems that change over time and that potentially can breed order from chaos.

Darien Brito is a composer/performer working with audio-visual elements through technology. His main interests are segmented musical forms, micro-sound, generative algorithmic structures and sound design as such. The visuals aspects in his pieces are an extension or counterpart to these concerns. He previously studied classical violin and holds a Bachelor of Music in Composition from The Royal Conservatoire in The Hague.

 

Iván Brito (2nd year master's Instruments & Interfaces)

A Dynamic System for the Creation of Rhythms in Real-time 

This research aims to include in the live electronic music improvisation the interaction of the musician with an algorithmic system in order to create rhythms from flexible sources. The project consists in the creation of a dynamic instrument for live performance, where the user controls the system and the system gives feedback to the user to articulate the control, or feed forward to actively guide the user.

The study involves the use of live sampling and the processing of incoming signals in real-time.

The objective is to explore new ways to organize or disorganize sounds to build new and different rhythms using the same sources.

Normally for doing rhythms in electronic music people are used to follow the tempo/grid that the machines have, but in this case the objective is the opposite. The instrument/DSP follows the tempo determined by the user. The goal of this study is to understand the way of measuring the time. In this way, the user and the machine could interact between themselves in a fluid and dynamic way.

Iván Brito is an Argentine musician, sound designer and technician. His main instrument is the drums. He studied music and holds a bachelor’s degree as sound designer from the Institute for Art Technology in Rosario (Argentina).

 

Maia Francisco (1st year master's)

The Use of Pure Sine Waves in Music During the Last 50 Years

The central theme of this research focuses on the use of pure sine waves during the second half of the 20th century until the present day. The framework for this research will include the study of composers who have worked with pure sine waves often from very different perspectives (i.e. physical, spatial, musical).

Furthermore, parallel to this theoretical research I am going to be working on a set of original pieces which will include the combined usage of pure sine waves and electronic devices. The theoretical research is going to define and enrich the musical work.

My research will also include an extensive analysis of the properties of sine waves, as well as including authors and pieces. That is going to generate a feedback that will reinforce and influence the development of the sound works.

This research could also extend to the analysis of how the use of pure sine waves has contributed to the development of new musical styles.

Maia Francisco is a pianist, sculptor and sound artist born in Barcelona (Spain). She studied music at the Conservatory Municipal de Música and sculpture at the Escola Massana Centre d'Art i Disseny in the same city.

 

Tomer Baruch (2nd year master's)

Non-Linear Groove in Electronic Music Composition

Groove is a much sought-after quality in many forms and styles of music, even though it is subjective in its essence and elusive in its nature. In fact it is a term that unites very different acoustical phenomena into a single perceptual phenomenon. This perceptual phenomenon involves rhythm and time, articulation, gesture and embodiment but it is also highly contextual, dependent upon style and meaning. 

In some of its appearances, groove is considered to be an inherently human phenomenon. A form of micro-rhythmic expressiveness, contrasted with the ‘stiff’ rhythmic and articulative expression of the computer. Many attempts have been made to import that feeling of rhythmical flow into the digital domain, usually by extracting micro-rhythmic fluctuations from a repeating drum pattern, and applying it to an electronic drum pattern. I believe that groove can also be found in entirely different musical environments, including for example the abstract phrases of Albert Ayler, the freestyle rhyming of Kendrik Lamar and the spoken words of Dr. Martin Luther King. 

In my research I intend to explore new, non-linear ways of incorporating groove into electronic music composition, mostly by using real-life sources of non-metric free-flowing grooves as a basis for gestural analysis. Other directions for this research might include the study of varying cyclicality, synthesis of articulation, and the usage of context.

Tomer Baruch, born in Israel, graduated cum-laude in the department of Jazz at the Jerusalem Music Academy. He released two albums under his name and several others with various music groups. He composed music for film, dance and theatre. 

www.tomerbaruch.com

 

Semay Wu (2nd year master's Instruments & Interfaces)

Exploring the Embodiment of Cello Playing: Through the Looking Glass

In the two years of my master’s, research will be concentrated on two parts: the practical artist-led design-and-build of an embryonic, as yet invisible instrument, that will serve as an interface for gestural interaction towards the exploration of sound manipulation in real-time. It is envisaged for multiple platforms: delving into live improvisation, installation work, and acting as a usable compositional tool for the creation of audio sources.

The artist-led design-and-build will be stimulated aesthetically, and somatically – amongst other methodologies – from my background as a cellist, which will serve as the initial groundwork for the second part of my research: investigating theoretical ideologies and existing methods; navigating through suggestible software to enhance the search for particular sound qualities, inherent in DSP and analogue electronics; understanding the body movements and its intuitive (visceral) relationship with the instrument – the cello – and clarifying an emerging awareness of how I conduct myself (cerebrally) whilst improvising.

The resulting crossover territory of electroacoustic music, in the murky realms of the acoustic and the electronic, is an interesting zone. The many layers of symbiotic connectivity between these two worlds will bring many possibilities and discussions. How will this reflect on the outcome? Will I find and define a sound? And with the new instrument, what will the sonic nuances be? Will it be partly acoustic or purely electronic? Is resonance a given, to pursue a depth of sound? Will I play it as intuitively as I do with the cello, or should I break away from the association? One honest and important aspect is the lifetime-guarantee for interest… Will I find it fascinating and full of surprises for a very long time to come? These are some of the questions I will have running alongside me, and with improved empathy to past and present ideas and thoughts, I will hopefully find it wanting.

Semay Wu is a cellist and composer and a lover of the physical act of making things with her hands.

 

András Simongáti-Farquhar (2nd year master's)

Aesthetic Potential in Cold War Analogue Radio Jamming

The main focus of my research is on exploring musical potentials in different aspects of Cold War radio jamming. Jamming of radio signals broadcast through the Iron Curtain was an essential part of communication war during the Cold War. Western stations broadcasting to the Eastern Bloc such as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Voice of America, Radio Luxembourg, etc. were constantly jammed with a variety of signals by authorities in the Eastern Bloc. The particularity of the different aspects of Cold War radio jamming provides a rich platform for musical exploration; the specific characteristics of audience perception, operation of radio-jamming stations, the performativity of listeners, the peculiarity of jamming sounds and their relation to the broadcasting signal, etc. 

The aim is to integrate ideas formulated in the research into compositions and to build a sound installation based on the conceptual framework developed from therein. In the installation several short-wave radio stations transmit different pre-recorded or live sounds while the signals themselves are used to interfere with the other radios’ transmissions creating a quasi-feedback system. The level of interference can be controlled either by the performer or by certain external circumstances.

András Simongáti-Farquhar was born in Budapest, Hungary. He studied Social Sciences as well as composition in the Western classical tradition. After graduating he turned entirely towards pursuing musical studies, especially in the field of electroacoustic music. One of his pieces was selected to be exhibited within the framework of the exhibition Kultur: Stadt at the Akademie der Künste, Berlin.

  

Dirar Kalash (2nd year master's)

An Electroacoustic Compositional Study Based on (Extra)musical Meta-analysis of Maqam-based Music

Arabic Maqam-based music in both theory and practice contains within it a formal system with some rich foundations that could be extended to achieve a contemporary electroacoustic treatment from both compositional and performative aspects. Of those foundations are the timbral and rhythmic elements, which provide the subject of musical and sonic analysis in my proposed project; each on its own, alongside the relationships between them, and their unity.

In addition to internal musical and sonic properties in Maqam-based music, extra-musical factors play an important role in the production and reception of this music, ranging from aesthetic paradigms to political, social and historical conditions and further to phonology and sound environments.

My research poses some questions regarding the complex relationships among those factors, and proposes a meta-analysis treatment, which could be used as a basis for a compositional framework that takes all those musical and extra-musical factors as input.

 

Donia Jourabchi (2nd year master's)

Mono No Aware - Explorations around Sonic Situatedness 

Inside a specific acoustic environment and social activity we are oscillating and getting tuned to the surrounding scales. A 'sonic identity' takes the shapes of the geographical context and the physical conditions. The interdependencies between sound and its environment are resounding dynamic patterns and are diffusing structures of organization that are constantly changing modes of correspondences. We create symbols and meanings through recorded experiences that are shaped by a preconditioned environment, like linguistic codes that form common logic paths to the expression of physical phenomena.

The research involves several fields of investigation that are concerned with a dynamic notion of space, aural experience and materiality of sound. It will overlook existing theories and analyze the notion of sonic systems within the idea that everything is interrelated as well as interdependent and that each moment transits through movements, influences, masses, energies, states and environments. The intention is to define a dynamic mode of reflection to consider practical purposes and the production of sound by avoiding a fixed framework. Location, medium, form, space and auditory position are examples of considerations concerning sound generation, reproduction, and reinforcement systems.

Donia Jourabchi (1986) is a sound explorer, an ongoing practice that takes various forms depending on the situation. She is trained as a sound engineer (SAE, Brussels) and followed courses in realtime sound processing, interface design (CECN, Mons), electroacoustic composition (Artzoyd, Valenciennes) and sonology (Institute of Sonology, The Hague). She intervened in and realized diverse artistic projects, worked as sound engineer and provided workshops. As a member of the collective Stichting Centrum (The Hague), she contributes to a freezone that provides space for activities related to sound, music, design of instruments and visual works. Since 2011, she collaborates with Taufan ter Weel on Hoorbare Herinneringen, a series of projects investigating the railway area in Delft, its urban context in relations to its sound environment. In her work, Donia explores the acoustic environment, the surrounding social activities and sculpts textures of sound as a physical matter.