Workshop: Electronic music for children and young people

Music has been around since time immemorial. People possibly first used their voices (and lips to whistle), then discovered rhythm, clapping, drumming, blowing in and bowing on objects.

The oldest musical instrument known to us today is a bone flute that was found in a cave in Ulm and is around 35,000 years old!

For many thousands of years, until the age of electricity in the early 1800s, all instruments were based on the principle that a “body of sound” is set in vibration; moving so fast that we hear one or more tones.

How does that work?

An object made of stone, wood, stretched skin (fur), metal, etc. is stimulated by tapping, a stretched string is plucked or bowed with a bow (strung with hair that feels rough), a column of air is made to resonate by blowing… So that you can hear something with your bare ears.

Let’s take a look at this! […]

Are you interested? Please do contact me via eMail 🤗


Workshop: Elektronische Musik für Kinder und Jugendliche

Musik gibt es seit Urzeiten. Möglicherweise haben Menschen zuerst ihre Stimmen (und Lippen zum Pfeifen) genutzt, dann den Rhytmus entdeckt, geklatscht, getrommelt, in Objekte gepustet und auf ihnen gestrichen.

Das uns heute älteste bekannte Musikinstrument ist eine Knochenflöte, die in einer Höhle in Ulm gefunden wurde und etwa 35.000 Jahre alt ist!

Viele Tausend Jahre lang, bis zum Zeitalter des elektrischen Stroms Anfang der 1800er Jahre, basierten alle Instrumente auf dem Prinzip, dass ein “Klangkörper” in Schwingung versetzt wird; sich so schnell bewegt, dass wir einen oder mehrere Töne hören.

Wie geht das?

Ein Objekt aus Stein, Holz, gespannter Haut (Fell), Metall usw. wird durch Klopfen angeregt, eine gespannte Saite wird gezupft oder mit einem Bogen (mit Haaren bespannt, die sich rauh anfühlen) gestrichen, eine Luftsäule durch Blasen zum Mitschwingen gebracht,… So, dass man mit blossen Ohren etwas hören kann.

Gucken wir uns das mal an! […]

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Releases galore

A package from Portugal just arrived,
with 50 copies of the recording from May 1st:
«Quadruple Quadrature Questions»
Featuring some–if I may say so ;-)–fascinating tracks.
Now available on Audio-CD.

Send me an eMail to order.

Andrew Levine meets Michael von Hintzenstern

November sees the release of all four recordings of the Duo LufftStrom. When I had set up at Denstedt Michael von Hintzenstern demonstrated the Liszt-organ–and I just had to play along. “Tryptichon” (11/01) is a collection of the three playful pieces where I focus on [1] Cracklebox, [2] Stereo Field and [3] Continuum.

Septem” (11/08) is the complete recording of our first concert in Michael’s series „Neue Wege zur Musik – Wege zur Neuen Musik“ (New paths to music–Paths to new music). Dada Royal #40 is a video documentary on this evening by

Next up was Bad Berka. After setting up on the evening before the concert we used the quiet of the following morning to record “Inauditum” (11/15): two improvised sets based roughly on the sequence we had laid out for the evening, when the musical segments were interspersed with some recitations.

Audivi” (11/22) is the musical part of the live concert.

Quadruple Quadrature Questions

On my Spring tour to Portugal I played at Cossoul in Lisboa, traveled to Porto for the party at Sonoscopia and returned for the first gig at Sistema SMOP. By that time I was longing for a group session 😉

Come May 1st I met up with Ernesto Rodrigues and José Bruno Parrinha, or rather tried as (surprise, surprise 😉 there was a manifestação blocking the Praça Martim Moniz. Cars were blocked but I managed to cross and we drove over the Ponte 25 de Abril and onward to Flak‘s home and studio in the countryside.

I patched my modular, enjoying the sunshine and a drink on the terrace…

…and then it was time to set up in the cozy studio space.

Flak was at the recording station, playing lap guitar with FX and engineering the multitrack, Bruno was playing the bass clarinet on the opposite end, and me and Ernesto with his viola were snuggled up on between. I don’t remember kneeling, but the pillow is proof that I must have spent the entire session in this position.

Here is my setup of modular, STEIM Crackle Box and Stereo Field next to the OpenTheremin v4 I brought along.

We began tracking with a 20-30 minute long, continuous, freely improvised deep dive. After that I suggested we record a sequence of miniatures between three and five minutes of length to explore different sonic characters and colours, with more focus on developing each one–rather than trying to cover all possible ground. I picked that up from Thomas Reuter when recording the al’kar​(​r​)​at SUITE. And on and on we recorded, until the evening culminated in a delicious affair involving black linguine, fried shrimp in a delicious sauce and me and Ernesto singing our favourite opera arias.

The result of (the recorded part of) our session is available now on all major music downloading and streaming platforms as “Quadruple Quadrature Questions”, e.g. on Apple Music.

Graphic design by Carlos Santos

Some thoughts on electronic multiphonics…

When I recently tried to introduce some additions to the English Wikipedia-page on Multiphonic I was told:

“The fact remains that reliable secondary sources do not appear to apply the term here, so again, it’s OR [Original Research] to extrapolate otherwise, even in passing reference. If, down the line, mainstream literature comes to apply the term to such instruments we can add it then. There is no deadline.” [Discussion]

So, here are my thoughts in the hope that someone will point me to quotable research–or use this opportunity to publish a paper 🙂

“Multiphonics are of course possible on musical instruments producing sound by electronic means. This way e.g. the traditionally monophonic theremin can be augmented and it’s restricted range of timbres supplemented significantly.
For electronically produced multiphonics there are several Eurorack VCO modules enabling the creation and manipulation of overtones, e.g. (in order of the date of announcement on modulargrid) the tELHARMONIC by Make Noise Music (2015), Xaoc Devices Odessa (2018), Generate 3 by Joranalogue (2019), the Harmonic Shift Oscillator by New System Instruments (2020) and the Ensemble Oscillator by 4ms (2020).” [Andrew Levine, 2023]

Walker Farrell from Make Noise had some interesting comments:

“The techniques described for wind instruments sound acoustically similar to ring modulation, with a carrier and modulator represented by the instrument’s note and the performer’s own voice. […]
Elsewhere, the Wikipedia article mostly seems to refer explicitly to sounds that are not part of the harmonic series of the “main” note that is being produced. Almost every VCO and VCO-adjacent synth module like tELHARMONIC is going to operate primarily in its own harmonics unless modulated by a second source that is tuned differently. […]
One thing I’m not totally clear on is where the line resides between timbre shifts and multiphonic playing, if it is not primarily about creating non-harmonic overtones. Just about every traditional tonal acoustic instrument will have a change in harmonic content across and between notes, and this is a primary component of what’s experienced as the timbre of the instrument. […]
Audio rate FM, RM, AM or audio rate modulation of any timbral parameter on any VCO is probably going to be similar in its overtone structure to extended wind techniques.“ [eMail correspondence; published with permission]

Even Buswell from New System Instruments had these comments:

Increasingly, especially in the case of drone music, the term “timbre” is not adequate for our instruments and what we’re making them do. At the heart of Western music theory is the idea that music consists of notes, with a non-overlapping category of entirely atonal sounds (percussion, sounds, noise). These notes are then measured according to different characteristics (pitch, timbre, overtones, harmonics, envelopes, etc.). Multiple notes theoretically blend in a characterless purely additive space, where each note retains its individuality and interacts with other notes only pathologically (unwanted beat frequencies, or “phase issues” in mixing). But this theoretical basis is not actually how a lot of modular or drone music works, where you might have an entire piece in which no musical event changes what “notes” are playing, but the overall tonal mix does profoundly change. “multiphonics” is of course a counterexample within Western music, but the term seems to be structured to recover the notes theory rather than to accept its destabilization. Maybe “pathophonics” would be better; how many notes are there? We can’t always answer and that is part of the music.

This destabilization is one of the core drivers of my musical instrument creation and my music. Adjusting the HSO‘s stride parameter can sometimes be more a matter of adjusting the rhythmic structure of different parts of the harmonics than forming some kind of a priori overtone series of a “note.” Also, the root tone and the overtones of the HSO will perceptually cohere and decohere into a single whole depending on how they are moved. The Triphase is partly interesting for its ability to cancel and then recall the root harmonic, seeming to exist in an unstable register. Even more so, playing different notes into Babel creates a *singular* harmonic structure that, well, it’s not *not* polyphonic, right? (e.g. To me, that litotes captures the essence of this kind of music. We can’t put it into the supposedly opposite categories of monophonic or polyphonic or tonal or atonal, because those categories are being broken by the music. But at the same time, these categories aren’t irrelevant, as they might be in some harsh noise music, for example. So you might say something like “pathophonic,” not really poly- or monophonic, “orthogotonal,” not really tonal or atonal, etc. [eMail correspondence; published with permission]

Berlin & Kassel in July

Apostel-Paulus-Kirche in Berlin-Schöneberg

On Friday, July 21 at 20:23 CET I will be performing together with Thomas Noll, organ and Rudi Fischerlehner, percussion in this beautiful space (Apostel-Paulus-Kirche, Grunewaldstraße 77A, 10823 Berlin-Schöneberg) as part of the festival OrganoVino.

And on Sunday, July 23 at 17:00 CET you can hear me in a duo with Peer Schlechta, organ in the “Ambient Stairs” series in the Auferstehungskirche, Mombachstraße 24, 34127 Kassel.