Wednesday, February 4, 2015

OKTOPHONIE

DIENSTAG AUS LICHT
Greeting
DIENSTAGs
GRUSS


Act 1
JAHRESLAUF
 vom LICHT


Act 2
INVASION – EXPLOSION
mit ABSCHIED 

OKTOPHONIE

Form scheme for OKTOPHONIE derived from the DIENSTAG section of the LICHT super-formula. 
The top M (MICHAEL) staff is represented in Channel II's pulsations starting in Ab. 
The L (LUCIFER) staff is realized in Channel VII's "bass drones". 
The E (EVE) staff is realized in Channel VIII's "fast pulses".
The bottom 2 staffs represent the MICHAEL and LUCIFER Nuclear formulas
www.karlheinzstockhausen.org)

No. 61, Extract 1:  OKTOPHONIE (OCTOPHONY)
8-Channel Electronic Music, 1990-1991 [69']
from ACT 2 of DIENSTAG AUS LICHT (Tuesday from Light)

Introduction
     OKTOPHONIE is an electronic music piece in 3-dimensional space (actually 4 if you count time).  It can be played back independently as an "octophonic" 8-channel tape work, or it can heard as "background music" in INVASION – EXPLOSION mit ABSCHIED  (INVASION – EXPLOSION with FAREWELL), the 2nd Act of Stockhausen's opera DIENSTAG AUS LICHT (TUESDAY from LIGHT).  In the context of the opera, the swirling, diving, sizzling and exploding sounds of OKTOPHONIE are aural constructs representing bombs going off, missiles shooting upwards and airplanes crashing down.  Low bass drones and ethereal sliding chords create a kind of "miasma of war".  The general setting and plot are further described in the page on Act 2 of DIENSTAG.

Electronic Music
Placement of the 8 speaker groups (from CD cover)
www.karlheinzstockhausen.org)
     The basic tracks of the electronic music of OKTOPHONIE were developed by Stockhausen assisted by his son Simon.  A few vocal elements were performed by Stockhausen, his son Simon, and Kathinka Pasveer.  Later on, Stockhausen "spatialized" the tracks octophonically using special equipment designed for the project (QUEG: Quadrophonic Effect Generator).  In performance, 4 speakers are arranged in a square around the audience, and 4 are set in a square above each of the floor speakers.  This places the audience in a "cube of sound", so that the sound movements are completely 3-dimensional (left-right, front-back, up-down). 



     OKTOPHONIE's elements develop slowly at first, possibly so that the spatial movement in 3D can be appreciated more easily.  It tends to have 1 to 3 ever-present background drone layers, while sound events explode across the sky in different combinations and sequences.  During INVASION, the "Signals" of MICHAEL and LUCIFER's brass/synth troops sometimes obscure the electronic music shapes in OKTOPHONIE, so it's definitely worthwhile to hear the OKTOPHONIE electronic mix by itself (also available on CD).  The electronic timbres in OKTOPHONIE were initially assembled by Simon Stockhausen using several synthesizers:
     These sounds were enhanced with several effects processors: Art Proverb, Roland SDE 200 reverb, SVC 350 Vocoder (and one brief 5 minute sound at the beginning of FAREWELL filtered with the EMS Synthi 100, which was also used in SIRIUS).

     In a great article written by Michael Mannion ("From Tape Loops to MIDI, Karlheinz Stockhausen's 40 Years of Electronic Music"), Simon Stockhausen describes his experience creating the basic timbres of OKTOPHONIE:
     “I, together with my Dad, produced the sounds/materials which were later processed by my Dad and made into OCTOPHONIC music, ‘spatialized’ as he calls it.  Of course he wrote the score, which would indicate, for example, to play a C-sharp, but what this C-sharp could become, I could determine myself, to a great extent, while he was correcting and making suggestions.  So, I was the interpreter of the score; this is electronic music, not ‘normal’ music, and so I had alot of freedom to create the sounds, and he had final approval.

     "Rather than making ‘sounds’ which are played in a normal sense, I used micro-composition. For example, I would use samples that were made up of three or four textures, then re-sampled and played polyphonically. So, I would get very complex inner textures for the sounds. Or the score would indicate a glissando from a high D-natural to a low C-sharp - that could be anything - so what was done with the inner texture of the glissando was up to me, though my father was always leading the realization.  "The entire tape is about seventy minutes long, so each sound must be interesting. If you hear a D-sharp for two minutes - it gets pretty boring if it doesn't have something to it.  If I had a long sustained sound, I would always add some stereo phasing, or filtering, controlling the filter curves by hand - I don't like sounds that have automatic filter curves, too boring. And my father doesn't like that sort of thing either, so I'm always looking for interesting ways to make sounds.

     "On the DX-7s for instance, I would make oscillator glissandi, using two sliders. Slider one would control operator 4 and slider two would control operator 2. And using the wheels and aftertouch, you could have four controllers affecting the sound. Microtonal capabilities are also useful. In the 3rd Invasion there are “sound-explosions”, and, very quickly, one sound goes up, one stays steady and one goes down.  I used 1/8 tones. The ‘steady’ sound was moving in 3 or 4 cents around the tone.

     "I had a great time, and I learned alot, working with my Dad, because he has fantastic ears! He helped me find more and more interesting inner textures, because the music itself is very slow, with very long durations. Each sound in itself is very lively, and very interesting, so that the music doesn't seem slow, it seems very dense and very complex.”

Stereo Mixdown
     On CD Stockhausen translates the 3 dimensional 8-channel sound space into a 2-channel stereo mix using some novel ideas.  In order to create rotating sound events (left-right/front-back) he causes different amounts of phase shifting to occur as sounds come around the front or the back while moving horizontally.  Phase shifting occurs when a speaker set up is wired "backwards", and the stereo field sounds "wrong".  By changing the proportional amount of "wrongness" during a sound's duration, Stockhausen simulates a feeling of changing depth.

     In order to translate the horizontal (up-down) movements of 3 dimensional space into stereo, Stockhausen increases the brightness of the sound as it goes higher in space.  Sounds coming from above have less obstacles to go around before they reach our ears, and thus lose less high frequencies as a result (Stockhausen noticed this effect when birds would fly up or down outside his window ("Stockhausen on Music", 1981 interview, Maconie)).  These simulations are of course only partially successful, the 8 channel speaker cube is really far and away the best way to appreciate the spatial movements of the octophonic sound material.

QUEG (Quadrophonic Effect Generator), used to create movement in 3D for octophonic projection in space.
The lower half of this device shows 4 control joysticks, used to manipulate the spatial movement.

Structure:
Some OKTOPHONIE Elements:
  • Sound BOMBS (&"crickets") (Channel 6, 1st invasion) : Bass synth pad attacks with fast decay
  • Sound Missile SHOTS (Channels 4 & 5): Complex sound clusters with quick rising glissandi, ending in swarms of fireworks
  • Plane Hits and CRASHES (Channel 3): jagged falling glissandi, usually spiraling or "figure 8's", sometimes "recovering", and sometimes just "wobbling" up and down
  • EXPLOSIONS: 3 masses of swarming noises
  • WINDING Sounds: Looped chord arpeggios, similar to a music box, constantly speeding up or slowing down
  • Searchlights or HIGH CHORDS (Channel 1): constantly-panning soft pad chord
  • CRYSTAL TONES (Channel 4, 5 during ABSCHIED) 
  • OVERTONE GLISSANDI (Channel 6 from 2nd INVASION): similar in effect to the manipulation of formant spectra in SIRIUS
     The chart below lists the events and major drone pitches as indicated in the score.  Many sound events are described as "AM modulation" in the score, but I substituted some more specific sound descriptions as I heard them ("twitter", "wobble", etc...).  The Channels are from left to right: IV, V, III, VI, I, II, VII, VIII.  I moved the columns around a bit from the ascending order on the score since I thought it was easier to follow this chart by putting the more active channels next to the CD track numbers.  CW means Clockwise rotation, CCW means Counter-clockwise rotation.  The aural position of the listener is in the CENTER, so CW motion will be left to right, then "quieter" right to left.  A CRASH with RECOVERY means that the glissando goes down and then eventually back up.  A WOBBLE is an even tone with short fast glissandi up and down (like a heartbeat graph).  SPLASHES are sound clusters, less loud.  The score of OKTOPHONIE provides information about the many 3-dimensional shapes and surfaces created by the movements of the various loops, but for simplicity's sake I mostly left those out.  Some of the links at bottom have more information about those elements.

CD
Trk
IV
(LICHT 
MICHAEL 
formula)

V
(LICHT
MICHAEL
formula)

III



  
VI 
(LICHT
 LUCIFER 
formula)

I
(LICHT
 EVE
formula)

II
(DIENSTAG MICHAEL
formula
segment)
VII
(DIENSTAG LUCIFER formula segment)
VIII
(DIENSTAG
EVE 
formula
segment)
Dur.
Beginning and 1st INVASION
1


High Chords
slow
CW loops


|
|
|
|
| |
V












Bass
Drones:

Gb

|
|
V



1:06
2 SHOT
(11 fast rising tones,
followed by phasing)
CRASH
CW
23 BOMBS

(each attack
3-5 elements)










High fast Ab pulses slowly fading in and out 

(sometimes "wobbly") 








Fast, varied middle Eb pulses
fading in and out

(Sometimes
"twittering")
CW 

0:56
3 SHOT
(22 tones)

0:28
4 3 SHOTS
(10 tones)
followed by pulses
F,
Gb,

F




2:23
5 6 SHOTS
high notes w tinkling swarms
CRASH
CCW
falling gliss at end 0:50
6 5 SHOTS, high swarms
BOMB
plus high crickets
high drone twittery, buzzing


glissandi


 










Gb,
F






flanging 1:41
7 SHOT w trombone dives
Swarms of high "water drops"
slowing down
CRASH
CW
falling gliss at end 0:14
8
BOMB slow chord
glissandi


some pulses becoming like sonar "pings", "beeps"





0:21
9
BOMB 0:22
10 BOMB 0:21
11 1st INVASION
BEGINS
SHOT w Swarm (firecrackers)
BOMB Gb,

F
0:21
12 BOMB
0:21
13 BOMB 0:21
14
BOMB 0:23
15 BOMB 0:21
16 BOMB rising/falling gliss at end 0:19
17 SHOT CRASH
CCW
-
9 BOMBS
-
6-note acc/rit
Loops with
phasing
CW

(metallic
"winding/
cranking"
tones speeding up/slowing down)


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V






Db phasing
pulses,
up to 12/sec

Pulses alternately
accel.
ritard.



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V



B
0:40
18 2 SHOT cluster
w fast swarm
Oscill. high SPLASHES rising/falling gliss at end 0:16
19 High notes rapidly changing position 2 CRASHES
w Recovery
(no landing)
CW

brief low flanging


































twittery









twittery
0:50
20 3 SHOT cluster
w small swarm
WOBBLE
(hovering tone w up/down glisses)
CCW
0:41
21 2 SHOT cluster
w small swarm
High SPLASHES w. short glisses up - CW 0:15
22
3 CRASHES
w Recovery
CCW
3
BOMBS
(Now in Octaves)
F,B 0:30
23 -
5 BOMBS
-
0:23
24 SHOT WOBBLE w percussive pulses
CCW
(w softer high parallel line)
F,B 0:26
25
-
5 BOMBS
-
0:13
26 2 SHOT cluster
w reverb
13 7-note high SPLASHES w recovery wobble 0:15
27
4 CRASHES w Recovery
CW
Gb,F,B 0:31
28 -
4 BOMBS
-
0:17
29 3 SHOT cluster
w bounce
WOBBLE
CCW
ornament to B




(fade out)
0:32
30
-
3 BOMBS
-
0:08
31 4 SHOT cluster High SPLASHES w. short falling glisses
(fade out)
Pulses ritard. To 1/sec
(fade out)
0:19
CALM
32 Middle register
EVE formula fragment


Chord gliss,
CW





rushing noise at end
Ab

Pulses alternately
accel.
ritard.

Low Eb "flutter-tongue", microtonal glissando 2:11
COUNTING, 2nd INVASION
33 Morse-staccato-portamento mixed pitches changing speeds,
3 Layers:
White noise splash impulses, Sampled wood beats,
woody synth (high),
low gurgling rhythm
EVE fragment as dyads






CCW
phasing 40" cycles
w accents

(overtone glissandi)




Modulated voice:
whispering, hoarse
COUNTING:
"1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 1"



whisperingly
whistle,
clear pitches











Pulses
accel. to 12/sec



 




Bass drones:
Gb... F…Gb

(bass drone briefly drops out)



flanging tone












low flanging tone





3:33
34 SHOT w upper dyad impacts FALLING Tritone gliss
w GAPS and swarms
CW

Electronic
vowel
filter
sounds
(overtone glissandi)










Db

Pulses alternately
accel.
ritard.









































G, Gb 0:21
35 2ND INVASION
BEGINS
Soprano:
[tio]

0:36
36 [mars] SHOT "wasp sample" rising/falling gliss 0:24
37 [michalutz] 2 SHOTS WOBBLE
CCW
B

wind tones














flanging tones





glissandi

twittery












0:25
38 [lumitsaxel - kalutselmifer] 2 SHOTS 0:36
39 [tius - tak -
from]
3 SHOTS 3 CRASHES Gb 0:19
40 [LIGHT - Flight] 2 SHOTS 2 CRASHES rising/falling gliss





(overtone glissandi)
0:21
41 [fright - fight] 2 SHOTS 2 CRASHES 0:18
42 [Krieg] SHOT 1 CRASH
(8 landings),
sputtering white noise
D 0:42
43 [Luzi-fer] 2 SHOTS
0:28
44 Bass:
[Lucifer's ]
SHOT (overtone glissandi)












Low Gb
plus
Tam-tam gong









0:24
45 B: [trombones]  SHOT 0:27
46 [against] SHOT 0:24
47 S: [Michael's] SHOT 0:20
48 [trumpets] SHOT 0:17
49 B: [trombone against]
S: [against]
2 SHOTS 0:26
50 [trumpet] SHOT 0:12
51 SHOT
"bright shiny"
Drone on A




Electronic
vowel overtones

(falling bass drone)
low E/G




(fade out)
0:59
52 1:56
53 Bright "vowel"
drone on A
(fade out)




calm dynamic changes
(fade out)

(actually on TI for this section)

High pulses





(fade out)
3:48
PIETÀ
54 Low pulses and drones,
slow rit/acc.
CCW



flanged bass drone




Irreg., slow, "wind" tremolo on Eb/D
Ab in 2 loops

Falling glisses

(twittery)
2 high chords
slow CW
spiral
Extremely slow, irreg trill on Eb w. flutter-tongue (?)










2:00
55 3 falling wind glisses slow tremolo on 2 chords











bass
drone


2:00
56 Low wind tremolo Falling
glisses



twitter
1:00
57 3 overtone glissandi
cycles on vowel-filtered dyad chord
CW

3:05
58 Wind, wobbling

phasing
Rising wind notes falling
glisses
brief gliss 1:18
59 trill 0:34
3rd INVASION
60 4 SHOTS
floor/front wall to
ceiling
CRASHES w 4 accents Isolated low dyad chords with vibrato




Db
diagonal loops
alternate
accel, ritard.















5 isolated chords

















hollow rattling noises

bells, sparkling pops
0:22
61 small flack 0:23
62 6 SHOTS


CRASHES w 6 accents



 
0:15
63 0:15
64 0:13
65 Swarms of falling points FLACK EXPLOSION
w multiple falling swarms
11-note chord drone w Accents






Swarms of points 0:25
66 4 SHOTS CRASHES w 4 accents kissing noises 0:07
67 0:17
68 Explosive rising/falling mass of points CRASH
bell-like metal sounds
EXPLOSION
w multiple swarms
Swarms of points 0:29
69 Explosive swarms of points 2 CRASHES EXPLOSION
w multiple swarms
Swarms of points 0:16
JENSEITS (BEYOND)
70 treble chords (choir patch?)












at end crescendo 
bass chords



rising scale







gong timbres
rising scale, rising gliss,
 crescendo
11-note chord drone













Dyad w irreg. timbre changes
CCW
11-note chord drone













10" loop slightly
hissing












low bass dyad drone





slow irr. Kissing noises, water drops, metallic rattle,
some intermittent drop outs






0:14
71 0:24
72 0:27
73 0:27
74 0:35
75

0:13
76 0:25
77 0:27
78 0:28
79 0:34
SYNTHI-FOU
80 Swelling percussive chords
and ornaments
L/R













Rotation
Lateral
Counter-
Movement
F-L/B-R
11-note chord rises
Trumpet tone on F w 6 sub-
harmonic tones, changing irregularly
(Synthi 100)
11-note chord drone

 











Ab
pulse loop
accel.



Bass
Chords
Isolated "comical" sounds 
(aleatory,
non-scored)
crackling water drops

flanging scales




water drops
0:17
81 0:17
82 0:28
83 Bass chords vary L/R








0:45
84 11-note chord rises continue on
C
ritard. 0:53
85 continue on
B
0:28
86 11-note chord falls accel. 1:20
87 0:43
ABSCHIED (FAREWELL)
88 Chord
Waves
L/R
(Cont'd)
Complex chord,
CW
glass sound, fast modulated filter

Double
Rotation
Low E
11-note chord drone
(Cont'd)









Db
pulse loop
ritard.





Bass chords vary L/R
(Cont'd)




bell sounds, perc, twitter, squeaking pulses 0:18
89 0:11
90 0:16
91 pulse and pitch modulation (C/E) 0:26
92 Crystal Tones

wobbly tones
tweeting, squeaking, twitter loops 0:41
93 high wobbling, sub-bass accents



Crystal timbres, softer
Glass
CCW

Held tones with intermittent chord movement

Slow double rotation
on E octave,
slow rising scale 






Sound of Glass being pulled
across
surface







Crystal Tones
soft bell, electronic w slow filter curve






Bell accents, track 32 briefly resurfaces 0:48
94
0:36
95 0:45
96 Bell sound
MICHAEL Nuclear fragment
pulsed rushing noise
(jingling, croaking, wobbling)
0:41
97
0:40
98 0:18
99 13
ritard. chord
accents




13
ritard. dyad
accents, fermata



13
ritard.
accents, fermata



13
ritard.
accents,
fermata

high metallic scraping
13
scalar
accents

wobble and wind continues
13
ritard.
accents, fermata



4:58
Fade Out

Score:
Page 1 of OKTOPHONIE Score from CD Booklet
www.karlheinzstockhausen.org)
1 - High Chords (sweeping L/R)
2 - High fast pulses varying speed
3 - Crashes with glissandi
4/5 - Shots, Soprano Voice
6 - Sound Bombs
7 - Stationary Bass Drones
8 - Fast, varied middle Eb pulses fading in and out (twittering)

After EXPLOSION Staves 4 & 5 indicate "Chord Waves"which double the choir parts in JENSEITS

     It's interesting that the LUCIFER formula from the LICHT super-formula can be clearly seen in the "sound bombs" (staff 6) and the MICHAEL formula is expressed in the "shots" (staffs 4 and 5).  In the "Calm" section, 2 measures of the EVE formula (the MITTWOCH segment) are used as the harmonic framework.  This is appropriate since MITTWOCH is the "day of cooperation" and EVE's role during this opera is basically as a mediator.
     "More specifically, the 'deep middleground' structure in the first half of OKTOPHONIE – that is, up to PIETÀ – is based upon the augmentation of the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday limbs of the Superformula. From PIETÀ to JENSEITS, the Friday and Saturday limbs of the Superformula form the background material. SYNTHI-FOU is based on an extension of material from the end of JENSEITS, while the Sunday limb determines the structure for the final section of OKTOPHONIE, namely, ABSCHIED and SPIEGELWELT. "
- from "Oktophonie & Lichter Wasser - Stockhausen and the Serial Shaping of Space" (Paul Miller 2009 thesis).
Karlheinz Stockhausen and Rikrit Tiravanija, OKTOPHONIE (Installation View), via Park Avenue Armory
(artobserved.com)
Sound Impressions:
     INVASION and OKTOPHONIE as a pure electronic work both have lots of moving parts (and not just spatially!), all of which reveal themselves as the piece goes on, as well as after repeated listening.  Aside from the spatial movement aspect, there are many layers at work, and the table above really just lists the major signposts.  Tones, drones and glissandi in each sequence each have their own evolution and lifecycles, and new sound textures continually enter the scene, just as new weapons and vehicles might enter a real battlefield.  Also in 1st INVASION, I really like the high-pitched metallic "wind-up toy" sounds, since they fit right in with the imagery of the toy planes and vehicles at the beginning and end of the Act.  Some of these revving sounds also evoke images of a spinning roulette wheel, which also fits into the "war game" message.

Links:
Sound samples, tracks listings and CD ordering
Score Purchasing
OKTOPHONIE Experience with Kathinka Pasveer and Rirkrit Tiravanija
OKTOPHONIE Wiki 
"From Tape Loops to MIDI, Karlheinz Stockhausen's 40 Years of Electronic Music" (Manion)
OKTOPHONIE & LICHTER-WASSER - Stockhausen and the Serial Shaping of Space (Miller 2009 thesis)
Stockhausen's Spatial Processes in Gruppen & OKTOPHONIE (Overholt)
The influence of technology on the composition of Stockhausen’s Octophonie... issues of spatialisation (Clarke & Manning)
OKTOPHONIE on Youtube
OKTOPHONIE 2013 NYC

1 comment:

  1. An excellent analysis that will increase the listener's enjoyment of the music!

    ReplyDelete