MOMENTE: Pt 1 - Concepts and Structure

Mary Bauermeister's "PST", from the original Nonesuch LP cover of MOMENTE.
At top left are the words: FACE, MOUTH, TENSE, LOOK, TROUGH, +, -, ->.
On the right side is FEEDBACK.  Piano keys are in the lower teeth of the central mouth.
Many arrows are scattered around - these are probably representative of the arrows in
the MOMENTE score indicating which direction the Inserts go. 
Mary Bauermeister)
No. 13: MOMENTE (Moments)
for soprano soloist, 4 mixed choirs (with soloists) and 13 instrumentalists (4 tpt., 4 tbn., 2 el. organs or synth., perc. w tam-tam)
1962-1964, 1969 [1 hr. 53 min.]
(Also published as "MOMENTE Europe Version 1972")

Premiere History
  • 1962: WDR Cologne - K moments, M(m), MK(d), İ(d), İ(m) (25 min) ("Cologne Version")
  • 1965: Donaueschinger Musiktage - K & M moments, İ(d), İ(m), İ(i) (60 min) ("Donaueschinger Version", Nonesuch LP)
  • 1972: Bonn - Complete (K, M, D, İ, plus İ(k)) (113 min) ("Europe Version")

     MOMENTE is one of Stockhausen's longest works at almost 2 hours, and was premiered in progressive stages over an 8-year period.  In this massive work, a soprano soloist and mixed choir (also with soloists) join with an 8-piece brass ensemble supported by electric organs and percussion. 

     One of the innovations of MOMENTE (and its most controversial element during the premiere) is that besides making use of normal singing and speech-song ("sprechstimme, sprechgesang"), the choir vocalists are often producing scaled "noises" using their hands (clapping, snapping, etc...), feet (shuffling, stamping...), and mouth (kissing, tongue-clicking...), as well as making sounds with 4 kinds of small hand percussion instruments.

     The title, MOMENTE (Moments), comes from the idea that the work is basically a sequence of short, self-contained sections ("Moments"), which do not depend on a previous or a following Moment in order to "make sense".  In traditional classical music, a main theme (a "Moment"), is stated and then developed through variations (each another Moment).  This produces a kind of dramatic arc, and the theme is sometimes revisited at the end as a coda.  Sonata form is based on the development of 1 or 2 main themes, and in general the drama of these kinds of works is produced by the "journey" that the main theme takes.  In "Moment form", the Moments are regarded as "free-standing", so the flow does not have to be based on the forward development of a basic thematic Moment.  In other words, the sequencing is "non-linear", to borrow a term used in audio/video editing software.

     Related to this concept, Stockhausen also envisioned performances in which different works would be continuously repeated in separate rooms and an audience could move from room to room in order to get a "custom" musical experience.  Moment form is a logical solution to the potential problem of missing the beginning of a work.  Since each Moment is free-standing, there is no beginning.  Or possibly, any Moment could be a beginning, since the order of Moments is not based on a "story".

     However, Stockhausen does create a very specific set of rules behind the possible orderings of the Moments in MOMENTE.  The score basically provides 30 of these Moments (based on combinations of 3 "root" Moments) and the rules of how they can be ordered.  The conductor "assembles" a version out of these loose score pages and this is what is performed.

     Stockhausen first started working with this kind of regenerative form in KLAVIERSTÜCK XI (where brief piano fragments are chosen at random from a large sheet of score, with each fragment affecting the next), but here he refines the Moments and his structural rules to a much greater degree.  He also explored Moment form previously in KONTAKTE and CARRÉ.  In a way, MOMENTE almost transcends the concept of Moment form due to its complex rules of Moment sequencing, and also due to the fact that it's Moments are actually numerous derivatives of only 3 "true" Moments (the 3 Moments are connected by webs of what Stockhausen sometimes labels "partial Moments", but here I'll just be calling them Moments).  It seems to me that a few of Stockhausen's works have titles which are actually more appropriate for the most previous work.  Besides MOMENTE, these would also include KONTRA-PUNKTE, and GRUPPEN, since "counter-points" describes a main innovation in PUNKTE, and "groups" describes a key element of KONTRA-PUNKTE.

Vocal Text
     There are 4 languages used in MOMENTE, with the primary language being the native language of the country it is being performed in (for all performances so far, the primary language has been German, with the other languages being English, French and Italian).  The text used in MOMENTE is not based on a single story or poem, buts instead a collection of fragments from several sources, used as primary or secondary elements in assigned Moments.  Below are the main text sources, with some notes about which Moments they may occur in (explained in much greater detail farther below):
  1. William Blake's quote, "He who kisses the joy as it flies...lives in Eternity's sunrise..." (from the  prelude of the book, "Man's Emerging Mind" by N.J. Berrill): This passage is slowly sung by the soprano soloist in the M(d) Moment, accompanied by soprano choir fragments from "Sexual Life..." (see below).  It also occurs as an M(d) insert in M..
  2. "The Sexual Life of Savages in Northwestern Melanesia" by Bronislaw Malinowski, 1929: Several quoted exclamations from the Trobriand Islands in British New Guinea (such as shouts during an initiation rite, etc..) are used.  An example of these shouts would be the "frantic incantations" of the sopranos in M(d).
  3. The Song of Solomon (Luther translation): Selected phrases are put into a thematic scale (from the sexual to the spiritual).  This is the most-used text source in MOMENTE (especially in the D moments, sung by the female choir).  In M moments, the solo soprano uses some fragments, and in the İ(d) and İ(k) Moments some fragments are sung aleatorically by all 4 choir groups.  (“If you know not, you fairest among women, go your way forth by the footsteps of…”)
  4. Letter from Mary Bauermeister: This text occurs in İ(k), accompanied by some fragments from the "Song of Songs" (above).  Sung in German, when it appears as an Insert, it changes to English.
  5. Artificial nonsense words, onomatopoeic words
  6. Names from fairy tales (Ex., in MK), German exclamations (in M(k)), other language exclamations (K(m)), invented names such as "Kama", "Dodi", "Maka" (M(m)):  these names stand for Karlheinz, Doris (Stockhausen's first wife) and Mary (Bauermeister, Stockhausen's 2nd wife).
  7. Audience reactions (shouts, phrases):The K moments include shouted audience criticisms of Stockhausen's own previous music performances ("Bravo!", "Stop!", etc...), such as in K(m), and the KM Insert of İ(d).

     Additionally, some other unique vocal events occur:
  • M(d): the soprano soloist begins with fast syllables, and intelligible words are gradually added.  These understandable words are a spontaneously made up story told to the choir members (in one incident, the brass group was late to the concert, and the soprano basically here told a story of how much of an inconvenience this caused).
  • M(m): hiccups with phonetic variations of intelligible syllables from an actual phrase: "the vineyards in the the Gardens of Engedee"
  • After the İ(m) (Applause Moment) occurs, the choir makes a wordplay on vowels (a - i - e - o - u), eventually combining them with consonants

Choir and Auxiliary Non-Pitched Sounds
     Vocally, there is one main soprano soloist, supported by 4 mixed choir groups (3 x SATB, with some soloists).  Each choir group is also armed with a different type of auxiliary percussion instrument:
  1. tambourines without jingles, drums made from cardboard tubes with lids on one side
  2. different pitched hard wood claves
  3. plastic containers filled with loose buckshot
  4. struck metal tubes of different pitches
(from MOMENTE score)

     These auxiliary instruments were designed "to create mediating links between the percussion and vocal timbres" (vocals and instruments fuse into a homogeneous range of timbre with the aid of this supplementary percussion).

     As mentioned previously, the choir singers also make sounds with their bodies based on a scale of articulation from short to continuous noises, using feet, hands, and mouth (stamping, clapping, tongue clicks, finger snaps, etc..).  There is also a scale of vocal sounds from voiceless consonants to vowels, and then to sounds of breathing, whispers, giggling, murmuring, speaking, calling, shouting, laughing, singing, continuous talking, etc...  A variety of phrasing shapes were also used, especially in the İ Moment, where the singers independently sing either evenly, irregularly, with small pitch bends, or in a combination of all 3. 
Brass, Organs and Percussion
4 Trumpets, each with 3 mutes
4 Trombones (bass and tenor tbns), each with 3 mutes
2 Electric Organs with 5 cinelli (steel plates) & sizzle cymbal
3 Percussionists: (tam tam, vibraphone, drums, guero, etc…)

Form Structure
     The main structural idea behind MOMENTE is the idea of "Moment-forming", which is basically the progression from one "root" Moment to a totally different root Moment ("root" is my own terminology, Stockhausen never uses this word).  This is done by putting hybrid (combination) Moments in between contrasting root Moments.  In fact, MOMENTE is based on just 3 highly differentiated root Moments: K, M and D, which stand for Klang (sound timbre), Melody and Duration.  Combination Moments (such as KD, K(d), etc...) act as transitional Moments between K and M, or K and D (M and D never connect).

     Some "special" Moments (the İ Moments) act somewhat like a prelude, coda and 2 interludes between the groupings of K, M and D Moments (all of the Moments whose names begin with K are collectively called the K Moment group (K, K(d), KD(m), etc...), and all of the ones which begin with M are called the M Moments, etc...).  The İ moments occur before and in between these 3 groups.  The Moments themselves also do a fair amount of "handshaking" through the use of "inserts" which are interchanged excerpts (more details further below).

     From this description, the concept of Moment-forming may seem a bit like classical ("epic") form, due to the fact that the root Moments are connected by combination Moments, but this structure is unique in that the actual sequences can be in many different permutations, as long as the transitional Moments exist in between the root Moments.  This "mobile" form allows many possible progressions, including retrograde (backwards).  The reason the Moments can be interchanged is due to the non-linear relationship of the root Moments and their combinations.  Stockhausen calls this "polyvalent composition".

     In the below initial sketch, Stockhausen organized the M, K and D Moment groups as 3 "trees".  At the "root" of each tree are the Moments M, K and D (in this early sketch listed as M(k,d), K(m,d) and D(k,m)).  On the first level above the roots the combinations begin.  M (here labelled M(k,d)) grows M(k) and M(d), K grows K(d) and K(m), etc...   Each of these branches in turn split into more branches (M(k) grows MK(d) and  MK, etc...).  Additionally, each of these split branches can be switched around (flipped, such as in a hanging mobile).  For example, the beginning of the 2nd level could be M(d) and then M(k), instead pf M(k) and M(d).  All of the branches above would of course be affected by this.

MOMENTE sketch from CD cover.  The 3 "trees" show the M, K and D Moment groups (separated by the vertical dashed lines).
In each moment, the 4 numbers indicate ratios of silence, voices alone, voices & instr., instr. alone
(from MOMENTE CD booklet)
      With a diagram like the above in hand, a conductor must trace a line hitting all of the leaves of the 3 "trees".  Additionally, İ Moments must be placed before and after each group of Moments.  The İ(i) (or just İ) Moment, also called the "Prayer Moment", always ends a performance.
The 1972 Europe version starts from İ(k) at top right and follows the colored path until it reaches I at the far left.
The final sequence in normal reading order (left to right) is below.

     In the Europe 1972 version, Stockhausen opens with the fanfare-like İ(k) Moment, followed by the D Moments, then İ(d) (which features the electric organs), then the K Moments, and then İ(m) played backwards (actually reversed page sequence), featuring clapping sounds.  After an intermission, İ(m) was repeated (forwards), followed by the M Moments and then ending with the İ (Prayer) Moment (see below).  Because of the mobile form of the leaves, Stockhausen was able to essentially flip the D(k) and D(m) Moments, and then choose a backwards path.
Sequence of Moments in Europe Version 1972 from left to right.(from MOMENTE CD booklet)

     To summarize, there are 26 Moments in 3 groups of M, K and D (Melody, Sound, Duration) and 4 İ Moments.  A conductor arranges these Moments in a sequence based on a tree structure.  Moments around a common center (root branch) can be exchanged, but the group of K moments must always be in the middle (however, after the first İ Moment (prelude), MOMENTE can begin with either the M Moments or the D Moments).  The İ Prayer Moment is always last.

     The above describes the innovative form structure of MOMENTE and how it can generate many different versions.  The next section describes how these root and combination Moments are constructed, and how they actually sound.

Musical Forces
     Stockhausen put his tonal colors into separate categories in order to assign them proportionately as "ingredients" to create distinct Moments.  Below in the emboldened indentations are the voices and instruments used, based on category breakdowns.  It's interesting to see how Stockhausen broke down his forces by tone color, noise content and duration.  Each of the "Vocal" elements also seems to have a matching "Instrument" color, though this pairing may not necessarily be exclusive of course.

Total Mixture of Tone Colors (derived from the original diagram)
  • Vocal
    • Pitched Singing
      • Solo 
        • Soprano (also 2 female choir soloists)
        • 3 Male soloists
      • Choir
        • Female choir (SA)
        • Male choir (TB)
    • Non-Pitched Noises
      • Short (attacks, etc...)
        • Body (hand clap, foot stamp, a shout, vocal click, etc..)
        • Auxiliary Instruments (a strike)
      • Long, Continuous
        • Body (hand rubbing/clapping, feet shuffling/stamping, speaking, etc..)
        • Auxiliary Instruments (tremolo), speaking (murmuring), whistling, 
  • Instruments
    • Pitched (continuous)
      • Keyboard (Electric Organ)
        • Lowrey Organ
        • Hammond Organ
      • Brass
        • Trumpets
        • Trombones
    • Non-Pitched Noises (percussive)
      • Short resonance
        • Drums
        • Small cymbals, vibraphone
      • Long resonance
        • Large cymbals
        • Tam-tam (gong)

MOMENTE rehearsal 1962
(from MOMENTE documentary film)
     There are 3 "pure" root Moments (K, M and D), whose elementary musical attributes are combined in different proportions to generate 23 additional "hybrid" Moments.  Dynamically, the root Moments K, M and D are ff, mf and pp, respectively, and the dynamic of the combination Moments are calculated on a scale of 1 to 7.  A summary of the 3 root Moments is below, followed by a more readable explanation:
      Some of the other musical attributes which are used to create uniqueness between Moments include register, tempi, harmonies, amount of silence (see below), etc...  Stockhausen also notes that the K, D, and M letters are also related to the names of himself and his 2 (ex-)wives (Karlheinz, Doris, Mary).

K Moments
     The basic sound of the K Moment is blocks of chords (separated by silences) made by male choir and percussion in loud, even rhythms.  The silences are "colored", in that they are actually not "total silences", but are filled with background scraping and rubbing on the surfaces of the percussion instruments.  The K Moment group has the greatest amount of silence distributed amongst its Moments (about one-third).  In general, there is also a relatively high "noise" content, but every note and rhythm is exactly notated.  The root K Moment produces a tree of 7 combination K Moments. 

     The K stands for the German "Klang", which means "sound".  Since a sound is basically a stacked complex of layered frequencies, chordal homophony is appropriate.  Male voice and percussion are well-suited to produce blocks of loud, noisy sound masses.

D Moments
     The basic sound of the D Moment comes from soft, polyphonic, layered phrases made by female choir (sometimes breathy/whispery during colored silences) and electric organ in irregular rhythms.  In general, there is a low content of "noise", but some elements use graphic or aleatoric notation.  The D Moment group also has the highest percentage of purely instrumental music amongst its Moments (about half) .  The D Moments have the least amount of contrast between them and the root D Moment produces a tree of 11 combination D Moments. 

     The D stands for "Duration", and the idea of polyphony is used here because if phrases and silences of different durations are layered on top of each other, polyphony naturally results.  The female choir is the appropriate sound element because high female voices produce generally clear tones, which make it easier to perceive the polyphony.  The electric organ is used here since, due to its electronic nature, it can hold a tone at any duration (even very long ones).

M Moments
     The basic sound of the M Moment is melodic (or heterophonic) phrases (often in speech-song) made by solo soprano and brass in aleatoric rhythms (ie - "free" rhythm or using graphic notation).  There is an even mixture of pure sounds and "noise".  The M Moment group has the most voice and choir in its Moments (totalling about two-thirds, altogether).  In contrast to the K and D Moments, the silences in these Moments are "real" (ie - no background whispery/shuffling sounds).  The root M Moment produces a tree of 8 combination M Moments. 

     The M stands for "Melody", and the soprano solo and brass instruments are naturally single-voice melodic instruments.  Melody could be thought of as a rising/falling line, and if this line were to have thickness, then this thickness could be called its "bandwidth".  Since melody is linked to heterophony, the pitch variations produced from a heterophonic structure could be considered it's pitch bandwidth.  Many traditional world music forms use heterophony, such as when a flute ensemble loosely follows a basic folk melody.  This "looseness" forms the melody's bandwidth.  This bandwidth can be scored using graphic notation, and so is "aleatoric" or "statistical".  Stockhausen uses several mixtures of articulation instructions to create this aleatoric bandwidth, including normal attacks, staccato, melodic fragments with pauses, etc...

Combination Moments
     There are 23 combination Moments, and these Moments have mixed attributes of the 3 root Moments based somewhat on a scale of 1 to 7.  For example, the MK Moment has 4 parts M properties and 3 parts K properties (the first capital letter always has a bit more than the second).  The M(k) Moment has around 5 parts M and 2 parts K (specifically 30 percent K by attribute proportion, but 1/7th by time proportion (I think)).

     These numerical proportions are probably not as audible as how the mixtures are actually realized.  It's much easier to hear how, in K(m), two rhythm attributes (even and aleatoric) are combined by having the even rhythms of K interrupted by a few blocks of free rhythm.  Alternatively, one group of instruments could play evenly, while another group plays aleatorically as a separate, quieter layer.

     Another interesting example is the M(m) Moment.  In this self-reflexive "feedback" Moment (see the Bauermeister painting at top), one M attribute is mixed against another M attribute (ie - two different characteristics of the same group are sharply contrasted).  The monody of the solo soprano is interrupted by masses of heterophonic (wide bandwidth chordal) ensemble outbursts.  The sound masses are described by Stockhausen as the horizontal melody of the soprano being stood on end (horizontal).  In the D(d->m) Moment, the D self-feedback attribute transitions to M attributes.  For DK(k), the K feedback attribute affects only 1 of the capital letter attributes (D or K).

     Jerome Kohl notes that "the internal elements (partial moments) of six of the eight M moments (M(k), M(d), MD, MK, MD(k), and the central M moment itself) are also rearrangeable" (Kohl. "Four Recent Books on Stockhausen", PoNM 37, 1999, 233–34).  These M Moments are subdivided into sections with labels like "m", "i", "r", "a", "k", etc...  These subsections can be in different orders (m-i-r-a-k, or r-a-k-i-m, etc...).  Also, if a Moment is sub-divided into several parts by Inserts (see below), then when a repetition of that Moment occurs (with or without the Insert), the subsections can be in a different order.

     In any case, the main idea is that each Moment is able to have a unique mixture and proportion of different sound properties.  It's also important to mention here that the Moments themselves are generally not static textures.  Oftentimes there may be an introduction, one or more subsections, and a coda.  These subdivisions are used sometimes to accommodate the contrasting characteristics of a combination Moment (in other words, a secondary Moment may appear as a middle section, etc...).

Examples of Rhythmic Mixtures in Root and Combination Moments
     Roger Smalley's article on MOMENTE ("Momente - Material for the Listener and Composer" (Musical Times)) has several great examples of how the 3 rhythm types are mixed in the combination Moments:
    K REGULAR Even, periodic.  In the root K Moment, an attack occurs every 12 seconds.  In DMK, an attack occurs every second.
    D IRREGULAR Syncopated around a constant beat.
    M ALEATORIC Statistical or free rhythm, using a set of notated pitches
    K(m) REG(alea) 1 layer (or unison layer) of beats which accelerates, and then ritards.  Each beat also has a swarm of aleatoric tenor attacks around it.
    K(d) REG(irreg) Each part is irreg, but performed together every beat of a regular tempo is sounded (irreg. periods combine to form a regular pattern of beats).
    KM REG(ALEA) Layers of acc/rit beats, creating an aleatoric distribution.
    KD REG/IRREG Irregular layer on top of a regular layer
    KM(d) REG/ALEA(irreg) Regular (acc/rit) layer on top of an irregular layer where each downbeat is articulated.  Accel./rit. create an aleatoric texture.
    KD(m) REG/IRREG(alea) Layers of regular rhythms at different speeds (creating an irregular texture) with independent acc/rit to create an aleatoric texture

    I Moments
         The "I" in İ Moments stands for "Indeterminate".  Stockhausen describes these as "neutralizing" Moments (I suppose in a sense these interludes act as a way of "refreshing the palate").  Placed before and after each of the Moment groups, these work wonderfully well as structural "excursions" (I really want to say "inserts", since that is how these kinds of detours will be called in future Stockhausen works, but "inserts" at this point have a very different meaning in MOMENTE).  In contrast to the other Moments (which average about a minute each), these are very long (from 6 to 26 minutes in duration).  There are 4 İ Moments:
    • İ(d): "Organ Moment" (sustained organ textures faded in and out, added overtone mixtures, crawling chords)
    • İ(m): "Oh daß du mir gleich einem Bruder wärest..." ("O that you were as a brother...") - "Clapping Moment" (clapping is conducted in blocks from different groups).  This Moment, like some of the M Moments, can also be arranged in different page orders (Ex.: pg 1, 2, 3, 4 or pg 4, 3, 2, 1)
    • İ(k): "...denn die Liebe ist stärker als der Tod" ("... for love is stronger than death"), a somewhat "regal" entrance fanfare
    • İ: Betmoment ("Praying Moment", always the last Moment in a performance of MOMENTE)

         To summarize, at this point Stockhausen had created a work consisting of a customizable sequence of 30 unique sound structures which have interrelated properties to different degrees.  In the next step he would add variety by inserting Moment "quotation echoes" before and after each Moment.

         When assembling a version of MOMENTE, each Moment has one or more fragments which can be "echoed" forwards or backwards into the next or preceding Moment (or sometimes skipping over an adjacent Moment).  These "Inserts" are on a separate piece of paper (included with the score) and can be fitted into slots in the destination Moment.  When an Insert is placed into a Moment, it is "integrated" into that Moment (it takes on new timbre, tempo, duration, dynamic, etc…).  Sometimes the Insert interrupts the flow of a Moment, and sometimes it can appear as a simultaneous layer (more specifically, when an Insert occurs, the preceding notes from the Moment sometimes sustain on top of the Insert, and then finish after the Insert is over).

         There are 71 Inserts in all included with the score, all of which are fragments from various Moments (9 from the İ group, 21 from M, 13 from K, and 28 from D).  If more than one Moment is harvested for an Insert fragment, then the Insert gets a number suffix (İ(m) 1, İ(m) 2, M(m) 1, M(m) 2, etc…).  The score pages of each Moment have arrows which indicate where Inserts harvested from that Moment can go (previous Moments or following Moments), as well as arrows showing from where to get an Insert.  In other words, some arrows show a "giving" action (sending an Insert out) and some arrows show a "receiving" action (getting an Insert from an adjacent Moment).  Some Inserts have instructions where a Moment is played once with the Insert and then repeated without the Insert.  In general, the K Moments "give" Inserts, the D Moments "receive" Inserts, and the M Moments both "give" and "receive" (M Moments have the most contrasting forms, but because they both give and receive Inserts, they also have an additional level of randomness).

         From a durational standpoint, there are 4 basic lengths to each type of root or combination Moment, but these durations are naturally lengthened by the Inserts which they receive.  The basic lengths are reflective of the "tree-level" of the Moment type.  Examples of the 4 types with their basic lengths (without inserts) are:

    K: 120 sec
    K(d): 60  sec
    KD, KD(k): 30  sec
    KD(m), DKM, D(d-m): 15  sec

         The relationship between the 4 lengths should be pretty obvious.  If an Insert from KD(m) is placed in a K Moment, then the KD(m) Insert tempo is reduced 8-fold (2 to the 3rd power) as part of its "integration".  If a K Insert is placed inside a K(d) Moment, the tempo is doubled, etc...  In another example of integration, when an Insert is placed in the D Moments, they are usually transposed to match the central tone of the host Moment.

         In Stockhausen's sketches, he marks each Moment with the number of Inserts being received and the number being given out by that Moment.  The greater these 2 numbers are, the "weaker" the Moment, since its impact is reduced by interruptions, announcements and echoes in this and the surrounding Moments.  However, if a Moment does not receive any Inserts and only gives out several Inserts, then that Moment could be considered "strong" (dominating) since that Moment does not receive any interrupting Inserts.  A Moment which neither gives nor receives would have the strongest impact, since it would be a totally uninterrupted Moment with no repetitions in other Moments.  There are up to 4 "slots" in a Moment, with only 3 Moments having none (DKM, DK and DM).  These 3 would be considered very "strong" Moments.

         Finally, because of the "mobile form" of MOMENTE's structure, there are very many possible Moment-Insert combinations.  The score lists all of the possible permutations, and some Inserts have up to 15 possible destination host Moments.  This element contributes to the "polyvalent" nature of the work.

         So to summarize once again, the variable form structure comes from the ability to flip around Moments.  The Moments are organized in 3 groups with each member of a group being unique, but sharing some general properties with other members of the group.  The Inserts are quotations from nearby Moments which suddenly surface in the middle of a Moment, briefly interrupting the static texture.  This kaleidoscope of fast changing blocks of sound is created by a soprano soloist, mixed choir, brass, organ and percussion.

    Pitch Structure
         Stockhausen organized groups of central tones for each Moment type (K, M, D), but I think it's harder to hear this particular kind of serial organization, especially since there are no "melodic formulas" here (though obviously that changed quite dramatically starting with MANTRA, and reached its virtual apotheosis in the LICHT opera cycle).  Nonetheless, it's worth summarizing some of the main elements as described in Roger Smalley's excellent article on MOMENTE again...

         Each root Moment (M, K and D) has a central tone (middle C, E above that and G# above that, respectively), and each Moment group has a selection of central tones which range a tritone above and a tritone below, with twice as many central tones in the bottom tritone range as the upper.  The M Moment group, being "melody", naturally has the most central tones (84), and K, being "noise", has the least (21).  In fact, the K Moments only have anywhere from 1 to 6 central tones in each Moment combination.  The central pitches given to each Moment are often used to guide the melodic shapes in a Moment (if any), but more importantly, the central tones are used to generate 1 of 4 related chord types (which, when combined, contain all 12 chromatic pitches).  These may be more audible in the block chords of the K Moments.

         The İ Moments have either a single central tone or a cluster of pitches in a wide pitch range.  İ(m) has only the F below the bass clef, and I only has the B below middle C.  İ(d) starts with a cluster in the high treble clef, moves to the middle clef, and then goes back up to where it started.  İ(k) is centered around the bass clef (naturally, considering the male choir).

    The last section of the M(d) Moment featuring the solo soprano singing the William Blake phrase,
    "He who kisses the joy as it flies, lives in Eternity's sunrise...", supported by polyphonic/heterophonic female choir.
    This section is also slotted into neighboring Moments (such as just below) as an Insert.
    (from MOMENTE CD booklet,
    On the 2nd page of this M Moment, the 2nd Insert from M(d) (ie - M(d)2) is "slotted in" at 258.
    The tenors, brass, organs and percussion hold background sustaining chords as
    the soprano soloist and the female choir from M(d) take the foreground.

    Go to Part 2 of my appreciation of MOMENTE to view an analysis of each of the Moments in the Europe 1972 Version as well as an overview of the official recordings and scores.

    Sound Samples, Track listings and CD ordering