Stimmung

From Academic Kids

Stimmung is also the german word for 'mood'


Stimmung, for 6 vocalists & 6 microphones, is a piece by Karlheinz Stockhausen written in 1968 and commissioned by the City of Cologne for the Collegium Vocale. Its average length is seventy-four minutes.

Influenced by LaMonte Young and long periods of practicing humming, the piece is in just intonation, its title meaning tuning or in tune in German (Die Stimme = voice). Six singers amplified by six microphones tune to a low Bb drone inaudible for the audience and expand upwards through overtone singing, with harmonics 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 9 also being used as fundamentals for overtone singing. It is in 51 sections and is the first European influenced piece to be based entirely on vocal harmonics (Rose & Ireland, 1986).

According to the 1986 Hyperion Singcircle liner notes:

Each female voice leads a new section eight times, and each male voice, nine times. Some of the other singers gradually have to transform their own material until they have come into 'identity' with the lead singer of the section...by adopting the same...tempo, rhythm and dynamics. When the leader feesl the 'identity' has been reached, he or she makes a gesture to another singer who leads the next section. Each model is a set of rhythmic phonetic patterns, often with actual words used as their basis, such as 'Hallelujah' or 'Saturday'.
In 29 of the sections, 'magic names' are called out. These are the names of gods and goddesses from many cultures - Aztec, aboriginal and Ancient Greek, for instance - and have to be incorporated into the character of the model. The erotic and intimate love-poems that are recited were written by Stockhausen 'during amorous day' in 1967.

The order of the sections and the "magic names" used are decided by the performing group, with Collegium Vocale's premier, the 'Paris version', has been published (No. 24 1/2) and performed throughout the world.

Stockhausen (1974) himself attributes a month spent walking among ruins in Mexico as his primary influence, Stimmung recreating that 'magic' space. He also describes (1982) it being too hot in the small rented house to compose during the day, and his wife and two babies needed quiet day and night regardless, so he began to sing quietly, eventually humming the overtone series.

The piece has been recorded and released on:

Sources

  • Stimmung (overview) at allmusic.com (http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&uid=UIDSUB040402070125133172&sql=A7q67gjur36iv|)
  • Stimmung (1986), performed by Singcircle directed by Gregory Rose, recorded 1983. Hyperion CDA66115. Liner notes by Stockhausen, Gregory Rose and Helen Ireland.
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