Composing with Voltage-Control Techniques

29Feb16:0019:00Composing with Voltage-Control TechniquesErasmus+ Workshop

The Philips Pavilion at the Brussels World's Fair of 1958

Dettagli evento

Kees Tazelaar, visiting Professor dal prestigioso istituto Royal Conservatory Den Haag, partner Erasmus+ del Saint Louis, è Direttore del dipartimento di Sonologia e sarà al Saint Louis, sede di Roma, per presentare due workshop rivolti agli allievi di Musica elettronica e Musica Applicata.

Giovedì 29 febbraio il workshop si svolgerà presso lo Studio Miriam (Via Ponzio Cominio, 101, fermata Metro A Lucio Sestio)

Composing with Voltage-Control Techniques
Giovedì 29 febbraio, h 16:00-19:00
Via Ponzio Cominio, 101
00175 Roma

Aperto ad allievi accademici di Biennio di Musica Elettronica e Musica Applicata e Triennio di Musica Elettronica e Musica Applicata fino a esaurimento posti.

ingresso gratuito su prenotazione scrivendo a

Crediti formativi per i corsi accademici: 1 CFA

Programma Workshop

Variable Functions 1 and 2 were created between September 2022 and August 2023 in the Voltage Control Studio of the Institute of Sonology at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. The title refers to Gottfried Michael Koenig’s Funktionen (1967–69), a series of works that focused on control voltage technology, which at that time was relatively new, and in particular on the so-called Variable Function Generator, which was used to determine both the timbre of the Funktionen’s basic material and the parameters of the circuits used to transform this basic material. With these compositions, Koenig took an important step in the further development of a way of composing electronic music in which no distinction is made between material and form, between time structure and timbre movement.

Koenig used control voltage techniques in the Funktionen to ‘program’ the studio, as it were. Different combinations of sounds and control signals and different distributions of the sound types over the large form led to the different versions, whose titles are distinguished by colour: Funktion Grün, Gelb, Rot, and so on. The Funktionen are therefore not the results of the cut-and-paste work so common in analogue studios, but of a truly new way of transferring compositional representation to a technical reality. Practically all my compositions created in Sonology’s voltage-control studio since 1996 have been greatly influenced by this way of working. In addition, tone generators, modulators and filters in this studio are now available in much greater numbers, and many new devices have been designed and built in this context, allowing for much more complex circuitry which produces results with inherent polyphonic and spatial qualities. For Variable Functions 1 and 2, the devices of such a circuit were set up, after which multi-channel recordings were made of the sounding results without turning knobs or sliding faders. The devices were given a ‘command’, but they were not ‘played’ with. The recordings of the circuits’ output appear in the compositions in virtually unchanged form, although they may overlap with one another.

Another composition by Koenig that should be mentioned in connection with my own working method is Terminus (1962). Terminus has not only influenced my way of working in the voltage control studio: there has in fact not been a single composition I have made in which the influence of Terminus is not present in some way since my analysis of that piece in 1995. Central to Terminus is the idea of uniting the formal plan and the technical work process. A number of sound structures underwent successive transformations (amplitude modulation, ring modulation, filtering, chopping, etc.). The sound structures and their transformations were notated on a family tree-shaped diagram, which then formed the basis for the way in which the genesis of the material unfolds over time as a musical development. Different trajectories along the branches in the diagram result in variations in the form of the composition, which then is not the result of one specific elaboration of the diagram: the diagram is rather a form potential encompassing the possible variants.

The idea of programming the voltage control studio by means of complex circuits and systematically varying their settings played a major role in the realisation of the sound structures for Variable Functions, while the family tree model lies at the basis of the two form variants that have been worked out so far.

Kees Tazelaar Bio

Kees Tazelaar ha seguito corsi di Sonologia a Utrecht e L’Aia e successivamente ha studiato composizione sotto la guida di Jan Boerman alRoyal Conservatory Den Haag. Insegna all’Istituto di Sonologia dal 1993 e ne è direttore dal 2006.
La sua musica elettronica è caratterizzata da una combinazione di formalizzazione, ricchezza sonora e approccio compositivo alla spazializzazione del suono. Le sue composizioni sono state commissionate dal Performing Arts Fund NL, dalla Johan Wagenaar Stichting, dal Festival in de Branding, da Hollandia, da De Veenfabriek, dal Festival Relevante Musik Berlin e dal Groupe de Recherches Musicales Paris.
Oltre che compositore, Kees Tazelaar è uno storico, specializzato nei primi anni della musica elettronica nei Paesi Bassi e in Germania. È stato due volte Edgard Varèse Guest Professor presso la Technische Universität di Berlino, dove ha conseguito il dottorato di ricerca nel 2013 con la tesi On the Threshold of Beauty: Philips and the Origins of Electronic Music in the Netherlands 1925-1965 (Rotterdam: V2_Publishing, 2013).
Kees Tazelaar ha ottenuto una Fellowship Residency dalla Fondazione Bogliasco nel 2017.


(Giovedì) 16:00 - 19:00(GMT+00:00)