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An example of evolution in electroacoustic music performance: Stockhausen’s Solo and the creation of a soundscape

Simonetta Sargenti

Simonetta Sargenti, Conservatorio di Musica ‘G. Rossini’, Pesaro / Conservatorio di Musica ‘G. Cantelli’, Novara


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In our time, in everyday life, it is a regular occurrence, when walking outside in the city or in the country, to hear sounds or music mixed together with the noises of the surrounding environment or with other sounds. All these events create something different from a simple ‘musical work.’ We can rather speak of sound situations, of ‘soundscapes’ and even of ‘musical works’, but not in the classical sense of ‘work’ as a set and defined event. With the increased evolution of technology, the conception of musical ‘work’ has gradually changed. It has become even more an expanded sound event, with the addition of noises, of sound effects and participant in other aspects of artistic expressions. Multimedia installations, ‘soundscapes,’ are all events not only to be heard, but also associated with other aspects of perception. There are also many examples of musical works conceived at an earlier time that have been transformed by technology and are still relevant. One of the many interesting examples, certainly not the only, of this is represented by Stockhausen’s Solo, for a melodic instrument and feedback, a composition of 1966, an early time in the history of electroacoustic music. It was performed in the ‘60s with analogic techniques, subsequently with digital ones, and now there are different experiences coming up to make from this composition an improvisation and even a real ‘soundscape’. An emblematic piece to show how the evolution of technological means has transformed the conception of musical ‘work’.

EMS15 Proceedings