An Apple on the Moon: Karlheinz Stockhausen's "Telemusik"
ContributorsPopović Mlađenović, Tijana
Book part (Published version)
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The article deals with Stockhausen’s first journey to Japan that affected his later production and worldview. The composer was fascinated by Japanese culture, which inspired him to integrate it into his composition that is the case study of this paper – the piece Telemusik. Stockhausen’s idea to present a musical microcosmos was already brewing in his mind when he decided to travel to Japan. The composer received an invitation from his student, Makoto Shinohara (1931) to visit NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai) radio in Tokyo, Japan, where Shinohara was employed. Japanese culture was not the only culture that intrigued Stockhausen. He felt the need to comment on the events of Vietnam War and the presentation of Vietnamese people in the media. Besides elements of Japanese and Vietnamese culture, there are also the cultural elements of Bali, China, Hungary, the Shipibo tribe from Amazon, Spain and many others that are modulated, transformed, harmonized and absorbed into one piece via the metod of ...intermodulation that was the key for the composer’s creation of a virtual world. The process of intermodulation will be relevant to later works by Stockhausen, but in this particular case, it is used to combine different musical materials – the composer himself defines it as a modulation of the certain characteristic of one found object, with the certain characteristic of another found object via ring-modulation. This is, in essence, a transformative process upon which the virtual world of Telemusik is based. Additionally, the goal of applying this technique was to create a new sound world. The topic of this piece’s auditory availability was also touched upon. The piece presents a challenge to the listener, especially to those listeners who were not raised in radio culture – the challenge lies in the comprehension and recognition of world cultures that were brought here under one roof. Nevertheless, playing with timbre and the new concept of time, Stockhausen managed to create a whole new virtual world, that is under his surveillance – under the surveillance of the One.
Keywords:Karlheinz Stockhausen / Telemusik / intermodulation / 1960s / Vietnam War / Japan / Japanese culture
Source:Contextuality of Musicology - What, How, Why and Because, 2020, 373-381
- Belgrade : Faculty of Music
- Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, Republic of Serbia, Grant no. 451-03-68/2020-14/200176 (Institute of Musicology SASA, Belgrade) (RS-200176)