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3 Henk Badings

Badings’ writings on Dutch electronic music De Bruyn on “Kaïn & Abel”


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The electronic music of Henk Badings Upon his death in 1987, composer Henk Badings (b. 1907) left behind an eclectic oeuvre: symphonies, operas, sonatas, cantatas, and compositions for brass bands. He also earned the distinction of having composed what is considered the first electronic music composition in Dutch history, the ‘radiophonic opera’ Orestes (1954).

B

adings was mostly self-taught in xmusic. In 1931, he finished studies in Geology at the Tech­nic­al University in Delft, where he continued to work until 1937. In his spare time, he sculpted, painted, and composed music and poetry. His music education was limited to orchestration lessons from compo­ser Willem Pijper. In 1930, at 23, Ba­dings had his composition Eerste Symfonie (First Symphony) performed in Amster­dam. However, his Derde Symfonie (Third Sym­phony), presented in 1937 by the Con­cert­ge­bouworkest and conducted by the legendary Willem Mengelberg at the Am­ster­dam Concertgebouw, gave Badings national fame and recognition. That success convinced him to devote his career to music.

Advertisement from B. Schott editions, 1934 3


Concert program from the International Week for Experimental

Music, World Expo 1958, Brussels

★

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In 1956, Badings was commissioned by the Holland Festival to compose an electronic score for the dance production Kaïn en Abel. Desperate for a place to produce his sound montage, Badings was fortunate to be invited to the Acoustic De­partment of Philips Research La­bor­atories (PRL). Al­though the PRL staff were accustomed to dealing with scientific research of sound reproduction, they had no prior experience with the production of music, and certainly of electronic music in particular. Badings’ call for assistance and facilities inspired the establishment in Eindhoven of the NatLab electronic music studio, which became the primary Dutch outlet for electronic music recording over the following four years. Although electronic composition was a daringly new and unexposed art form, Kaïn en Abel, performed by the Nederlands Ballet with choreography by Jan Zielstra, was a great success. After its performance at the Holland Festival, the score was commercially released on a single. Short-wave station Radio Ne­der­­land Wereldomroep distributed the work as a ‘transcription pro­gram’ to radio stations worldwide. Over 900 stations broadcast Kaïn en Abel. Iron­ ically, Dutch public radio declined to air it, deeming the work too radical. Badings, convinced that this new direction would enhance his career as a composer, delved deeper into the world of electronics. He re­turned to NatLab studios almost on a daily basis, completing an astonishing number of new compositions commissioned

Schöffer’s CYSP I robot in action by institutions both in the Netherlands and abroad. In 1957 and 1958, he produced an electronic score for the short animation movie Variations Électroniques, the ballet music Evolutionen and the theatrical compositions Geluid van de werkelijkheid (Sound of Reality) and Mens en machine in Eindhoven (Man and Machine in Eind­ hoven). Badings was not just versatile — he worked fast. Geluid van de werkelijkheid premiered in Amsterdam at the opening of the auditorium of the Rijks­academie voor Beeldende Kunsten (State Academy of the Arts). The work was a collaboration with six poets, representing the avant-garde movement De Vijftigers (Fifties Group). It featured, moving around onstage, a robot named Cysp I, 5


created by the French-Hungarian cybernetic artist Nicolas Schöffer. Another work, Mens en machine in Eindhoven, paid homage to the Dutch town that had become synonymous with the Philips lab. For this work, Badings borrowed fragments from Evolutionen and Geluid van de werkelijkheid. In 1958, Badings completed his ambitious four-channel electronic composition Genese. That same year, he was one of two Dutch composers (the other was Ton de Leeuw) invited to present a work as part of the Dutch contribution to the International Days for Ex­peri­ment­al Music at the Brus­ sels world exhibition. (Ton de Leeuw’s Studie was presented as Etude Électronique.) Badings enjoyed another triumph in January 1959 when Mens en machine in Eindhoven was broadcast in the Nether­ lands. It was the first time that Dutch listeners had been exposed to electronic music on radio. Remarkably, the program was transmitted by the Nederlandse Chris­te­ lijke Radio Vereniging (NCRV, the Dutch Christian Radio Society), one of five public radio stations in that era who shared airtime. NCRV’s programming was traditionally cautious and conservative, and it was a daring gesture to broadcast the Badings work. (It could be asserted that Badings’ Orestes had been the first Dutch radio broadcast of electronic music; however this ‘opera’ with sound effects was, in concept, more akin to the national tradition of radio play than to modern electronic music.) 6

Scene from the production “Salto Mortale,” June 1959 In June 1959, the Nederlandse Televisie Stich­­ting (NTS, Dutch Television Foun­ dation) aired Ba­dings’ “television opera” Salto Mortale, which was based on a science fiction libretto by Dutch writer/ poet Belcampo. The story was a philosophic


mus­ing about life and death, in which a visionary physician succeeds in reviving a dead man. However, when the former corpse falls in love with the doctor’s daughter, the physician labors to put his ‘science experiment’ back in the grave. It took

Badings three months to realize the soundtrack in the NatLab studios. Later, transformed voices were added by running the dialogue tapes at higher or lower speeds. In the television studio, the actors and actresses lip-synched their dialogue. Salto Mortale 7


caused a sensation, and received much press coverage. The public expressed strong opinions about the work and about the revolutionary sound techniques employed. Badings received commissions from other European countries, including Ger­many, where choreographer Yvonne Georgi, of the Dance Com­pany of the Landes­theater in Hanover, requested ballet music three times. For Georgi, Badings creat­ed Elektronisches Ballett (a 1957 remake of Kaïn en Abel), Evolutionen (1958), and Die Frau von Andros (performed 1960). In May 1960, Badings composed 18 minutes of electronic stage music for the third act of his opera Martin Korda D.P., another Holland Fes­ti­val production. It was the last of many electronic work Badings completed in Eindhoven. The NatLab studios closed in November 1960, and the equipment was moved to an old building in Utrecht to become part of the State University. Ba­dings played a directorial role in the relocated institute from 1962 until 1964. From 1962 to 1972 he held a post at the Hoch­schule für Music in Stuttgart, Ger­ many. He also authored educational books about music.

Henk Badings and Dick Raaijmakers at Hermann Scherchen’s studio, Gravesano, Switzerland, August 1959 ★ 8


Reprinted from “Philips Topics” number 61 No. 2452 E

by Henk Badings

ELECTRONIC MUSIC ITS DEVELOPMENT IN THE NETHERLANDS

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ot so very long ago it was the fashion among writers on modern music to assert with a show of resignation that after the logical application of one or other technique of composition—dodecaphony, or a­tonalism, or what have you—no further possibilities would remain. No other choice would be left to young composers than to be silent or to return to well-worn paths and vegetate in aimless epigonism. Such Spenglerian prophets of doom can not be too emphatically confronted with the anecdote of how, during a walk along the Danube Canal in Vienna, the aging Brahms tried to convince young Mahler of the horrifying fact that when he, Brahms, should come to die, the last genuine composer would have passed away. Wher­eupon Mahler, pointing to the water, replied: “Look, Master, there goes the last wave!” In the past ten years, while scribblers

have been airing their fantasies about the imminent exhaustion of musical resources with more self-assurance than ever, a new shoot that has budded on the manybranched trunk of musical composition has brought about a radical change in the situation. This new shoot manifested itself in what were at first apparently different forms and under different names, names such as “musique concrète”, “tape-music”, “Radio­ phonie”, and “elektronische Mu­sik”. But it was not long before the common element in all these forms was perceived, and they acquired their present collective name of “electronic music”. One of the first things discovered by the people concerned with this new art form was the staggering abundance of new potentialities it offered. As a result, the musical problem of our time is, of a sudden, no longer that there are so few 9


Badings in NatLab Room 306. Dick Raaijmakers (far left), Hans Kox (with bow tie), R. Vermeulen (far right) new possibilities in music but that there are so many, so uncountable many that we are at a loss where to begin. Anyone who sets out to explain what electronic music is soon runs into difficulties. His account either lapses into the arcane language of the initiate or skims the surface without touching the heart of the matter. I want to remain comfortably be足tween these two extremes, and I can best do that by describing how electronic music originates, what stages of development it has to pass through. 10

There are generally five such stages: the generation of electronic vibrations (formation), the alteration, the reshaping of these vibrations by means of electrical apparatus (transformation), the combination of the vibration figures according to frequency, duration, and intensity (montage), their registration via a suitable medium (recording), and the conversation of the recorded vibration figures into sound by means of loudspeakers (reproduction). In the formation stage it is possible to apply two essentially different methods.


One of these is the generation of electric vibration by means of an audio-signal generator, an apparatus constructed for the purpose of generating electric vibrations of a specific composition and frequency; the other is the conversion of a mechanical vibration (of the string of a stringed instrument, a blow, or anything else) into electric vibrations by means of a microphone. These two possible methods initially led to two distinct names for the music created by means of them. In the first case, the result was called “pure electronic music”; in the second one spoke of “concrete music”, since the electronic material had been produced by concrete sounds. At first glance this division into two classes seems quite feasible, but numerous factors work together to make the dividing-line between them very uncertain. The chief of these factors is that in the second stage, that of transformation, the vibrations, irrespective of their origin, are so altered that the alteration is often more important to the final result than the mechanical or electrical source of the sounds. The apparatuses which effect this transformation include electric filters and modulators, while the magnetic tape recorder can also bring about characteristic alterations. For instance, if the sound of two pebbles being tapped together is recorded on magnetic tape, and this recording is played back through the reproducing head of a tape recorder at one fourth of the correct speed, the result sounds as if not pebbles but two great rocks are colliding with each other.

Transformation is the most im­port­ant manipulation from the point of view of obtaining the desired vibration patterns. From the point of view of actual composition, however, montage is the most important. The term “montage” has been deliberately chosen on the analogy of photographic montage, for it is in a comparable fashion that the vibration patterns are arranged, according to duration, intensity, and pitch. The time factor - which of course plays an important part in every tonal composition - is treated in an extremely characteristic way in electronic music: it is converted into a space factor (that is to say, into tape length) and dealt with in this spatial form. In certain tape recorders a length of fifteen inches of tape is equivalent to one second of sound. The sounds can be cut to any length required, then stuck together - a feature which justifies calling the procedure “montage”. Another process, reminiscent of the plastic arts, is construction of the electronic composition from a number of acoustic layers: a back-ground layer, a harmonic layer, a rhythmic layer, and one or two melodic layers. These are then combined and registered, by means of the same number of tape recorders, on one or more sound tracks. Reproduction can be effected by playing the result back through a loudspeaker. But electronic music also offers the opportunity of enlisting the space of the concert hall as an element in the reproduction. For one thing, by applying loudspeakers which are dispersed and come into operation with 11


precisely the right time-lag, it is possible to create the impression of increasing the reverberation of the hall, and so to produce a sensation of vast spaciousness. But, in addition, by splitting the sound into different sound tracks and conducting them to separate groups of loudspeakers, it is possible to make the parts of the music respond antiphonally (as in the old double-choir style of the Venetian school of composers: the sound can be located stereophonically in space, and if desired can also be caused to move about in the hall. [...] In turning to consider what has been done in the Netherlands in the field of electronic music, I am faced by an embarrassing difficulty: a large part of work I shall have to consider in my own. I trust the reader will forgive this seeming concern with the first person singular. It was in 1952 that the first electronic music was written in the Netherlands. The pioneering piece was my incidental music for Yeats’ play “Countess Cathleen”. In it concrete sounds and the sounds of musical instruments were combined in an electronically processed composition. For instance, in a six-part fugue two parts only were ‘played’, and the others were added after electronic transformation. In 1954 the “Nederlandse Radio Unie” (Dutch Radio Union) gave me the opportunity of writing a composition in which all the facilities the “radio city” of Hilversum had to offer were to be utilized. The result was a radio opera on the story of “Orestes”, in which musical instruments and voices were used, both in their natural 12

Final receipt for the “Hanover Ballet” state and transformed by electronic means, sometimes in combination with electrically generated vibrations and at other times with transformed concrete sounds. The composition was specially intended to serve as the Dutch entry for the annual radio competition in Italy, and won the Prix Italia for the Netherlands for the first time. It was above all the electronically deformed choruses of the Furies which gave the work its


distinctive color. But what was also new was the process whereby the radio set was no longer meant to give as faithful a reproduction as possible of the sounds made in the studio, but, on the contrary, all that was done in the studio was to prepare sounds that would receive their final form in the radio set. [...] A composer can only produce ‘radiophonic’ works such as “Orestes” if he has a studio equipped with the necessary apparatus at his disposal. I myself was given such an opportunity in 1956 by the Acoustics Group of the Philips Research Laboratories at Eindhoven. This enabled me to create a ballet suite in which the sound material was produced by sinewave generators, noise generators, multivibrators, an optical siren, condenser drums, an electronic clavichord, and electronically modified percussion in­struments. These new sound sources inspired me to experiment with a number of untried musical possibilities. For example, I used other systems of tuning than the customary equal-temperament system of twelve notes to the octave; in particular, I made use of tuning in pure harmonic intervals. The new sound sources opened the way to exploitation of new timbres, new rhythmic structures, new dynamic nuances, new speeds and areas of pitch. And by splitting the sound between one part directed from the stage and another diffused through the auditorium, it was possible to utilize the possibilities of three-dimensional reproduction. This first ballet to electronic

music, “Cain and Abel”, was performed during the 1956 Holland Festival. Later it was given in Hanover under the title of “Elektronisches Ballett”, and the theme chosen shifted to that of the fears and conflicts of the modern world. [...] On the subject of “Elektronisches Bal­ lett” the Hanover critic Wolfgang Schlü­ter wrote: But then the idyll vanished. Loud­ speakers gave electronic utterance, in many ways, gently or menacingly, eerily foreboding or bursting out in nerves rushes, like a timid cry for help or a rhythmically ecstatic tumult. A great dome of sound came into being, arching over the stage on which the dancers performed their parts in vivid projected light. And now, on hearing the work as a coherent whole, we recognized the clever artistic talent with which this world of sound had been organized, and saw how well its thematic material had been developed and treated counterpoint-wise in positively classical style.... It was one of those evenings at the end of which one goes down the theater steps feeling inwardly enriched. The reaction of the Monacan critic Julia Tardu-Marcus was similar: Space, the theater, is invaded by sounds coming from everywhere. They fill the listener with sonorous waves and submerge him in sensations which take him beyond the gates of habitual perception.... Modern choreography has been enriched by a ballet which opens up new prospects, expressing the widening of our horizons and the anxieties of the moment. [...] 13


NATLAB. REPORT No. 3204

by J.W. de Bruyn

REPORT CONCERNING THE REALIZATION OF ELECTRONIC MUSIC FOR THE BALLET “KAÏN EN ABEL” BY MR. H. BADINGS

1. Contents This is a translation of a mimeographed report from Vermeulen’s personal archive

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page

14

2. Introduction

15

3. a. Overview of the material 1. The score 2. The instrumentarium b. Discussing the process of realization c. Realization

15 23 24

4. Conclusion

33

5. Epilogue (performance in concert halls)

34


2. Introduction The Gaudeamus Foundation in Bilthoven facilitated* a collaboration between composer Henk Badings and mr. Roelof Vermeulen to produce a musical score for the ballet Kaïn en Abel. The music was conceived electronically by Mr. Badings at NatLab [Philips Research Laboratories]. After an orientation visit, mr. Badings composed a score which would be realized in the studio. The instruments and their applications are discussed * In his copy of the below in terms of musical time frames. In a conclusion and an epilogue, some aspects of the work manuscript, Badings wrote “untrue” next to itself are reviewed. this statement

3.a. Overview of the material

1. The score. The score was written in traditional notation, and was subdivided into a number of “acoustic layers,” which can be compared with the voices in an orchestral score. Each acoustic layer usually contained one musical phrase with its own rhythm, melody and timbre. [...] Before combining all the elements into the larger work, the material was divided into two groups. Since we had the opportunity to use stereophonic recording equipment, we could distribute these sound layers over two tracks. By using two tracks during performance, it became possible to spatially separate certain sounds from other sounds. The consequences of these techniques are discussed in the epilogue. 2. The instrumentarium This consisted of: technical devices normally used for electronic measurements (A); devices developed at NatLab to serve as musical instruments (B); recordings of traditional musical instruments (C); and additional equipment to further transform the primary sounds (D). 15


Tone generator GM2315 (A1)

Tone generator GM2307 (A1)

Schematic representation of the optical siren. A beam of light emitted by light-source W is concentrated on a photomultiplier tube F by a lens L. Situated in the beam is a holder H containing a sheet of paper P in which a waveform has been cut, and behind which rotates a disc S 16

J.W. de Bruyn and H. Badings with optical siren (A3)

The first category included: A1—tone generators (Philips type GM2315 and GM2307) A2—noise generator (laboratory model) A3—optical siren (developed under the supervision of Dr. Schouten)

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driven by a motor M. As the disc rotates the pattern is successively scanned by narrow radial slits in the disc, and the light passing through the slit varies in accordance with the ordinate of the pattern. The photoelectric current in F varies in the same rhythm and is passed via an amplifier to the speaker U. A natural “vibrato” effect can be introduced by holding the sheet of paper in the hand instead of fixing it in the holder. ★

Different wave forms

with corresponding stencils and the oscillograms obtained. Form “a” is a pure sine curve; “f” has the form of a profile of a human face. ★ 31139

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The electronic clavichord. The parallel single wires S are made to vibrate in the

92734

same way as in a normal clavichord, i.e. with key-operated tangents (t; T: are the keys and a their pivots) which, after being struck, also act as the endpoints of the respective strings.

93096

with variable pitch. The pitch is controlled by a potentiometer (Pot) whose sliding arm is fixed to a wheel; a cord-and-pulley system enables the musician to turn the wheel by moving a clip (z) along a scale calibrated in notes a to a3. By moving z rapidly to and fro a natural vibrato can be produced. A multivibrator

18

Badings plays the Multivibrator (electronic clavichord visible at right)


The second category included: B1—an electronic clavichord, in which the vibrations of the strings are traced by means of capacitive pick-up; B2— a bariton clavier [an instrument built by Philips NatLab, which had 12 push-buttons that produced the 12 chromatic notes within a low octave] on which square wave-like tones could be produced; B3—a multivibrator [an electronic device that, when built around tubes, produced a specific sound] with a sliding tone-scale on which the waveform changes according to the pitch. In lower registers the waveform approaches a square wave, whereas in higher registers, it produces a sawtooth pattern; B4—two types of electronic percussion: a. traditional condenser microphones in which the membrane had been enlarged and reinforced to withstand a rhythmic beat played with the fingers; b. a steel plate approximately 25 to 50 cm with an attached crystal tracer, the entire device suspended in a frame. The third category included recordings of C1—a grand piano, and C2—orchestral instruments such as cymbals, triangle and a bell. Added to these were sound effects which mr. Badings had previously used in his radio opera Orestes. The fourth category included additional equipment which was of great importance in changing the character, timbre, pitch, etc. of the primary sounds. D1—tape recorders—up to five used simultaneously— including: a. three professional portable “Viennese” recorders (Philips 10039), tape speed 30 ips. b. two so-called “N.R.U. [Nederlandse Radio Unie] pla­ teaus” (Philips 10040), in a special NatLab stereophonic model, tape speeds 15 and 30 ips.

Electronic drum (B4a)

Philips 10039 (D1a)

Stereo version of Philips 10040 “NRU plateau”  recorder (D1b) 19


c. a special version of Philips 10039, modified to record and reproduce eight tracks simultaneously on 16mm tape, tape speed 30 ips. d. a semi-professional model used by mr. Badings to make piano recordings at home, tape speeds 3.75 and 7.5 ips. Philips semi-professional tape recorder (D1d)

Octave filter (D2a)

Rohde & Schwarz thirdoctave filter (D2b)

Characteristics molder (D2c) 20

D2—Filters, including: a. octave filters, with which one or more octaves could be filtered out; b. a third-octave filter, which restricted bandwidth transmission to one-third of an octave at a time; c. a characteristics molder, which could either amplify or weaken a signal by 6 dB at 12 different frequencies. D3—a Philips 10039 recorder modified to allow continuous transposition within a range of ± 1 octave. This was used, for instance, to speed up (and thus increase the pitch of) a piano or to slow it down (and decrease the pitch). D4—A device [Philips EL6910] that made it possible to reproduce sounds with a time-delay, and to create artificial reverberation. D5—A ring modulator which could cross-modulate two different sounds. D6—A mixing desk which could mix three signals and control each level independently. Also: peak-voltage meters and tape splicing equipment. D7—An oscilloscope to monitor tone intervals and waveforms. D8—A tuning fork oscillator (one complete octave), and two metronomes (one mechanical, one electronic). D9—A tone gate. A continuous input signal resulted in bell-shaped output impulses. The envelopes were triggered manually, and the device allowed the operator to control their form and duration (the latter could be set to fall within one of five ranges).


1000 Watt amplifier

SINE-WAVE  OSCILLATOR

Peak voltage meter (D6)

3-channel mixing desk? (D6) VARISPEED  SWITCH

Varispeed modification for a Philips 10039 recorder

Electronic metronome (D8)

Philips GM5659 oscilloscope (D7)

delay wheel

Stereo reverberation installation with delay wheel (bottom) and amplifiers (top) (D4) (Photo A. Buczynski)

Arrangements for introducing reverberation (a) and excessive feedback (b). E = sound source (this may be an amplifier if the sound source is not electronic); M = magnetic tape, on which the result of the treatment is captured by recording head K.

Wave-forms as seen on the oscilloscope (D7) from Badings’ notebook 21


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Tone gate (D9) and ring modulator (D5)

22

Basic circuit diagram of the “tone gate�. A signal, e.g., an alternating

voltage of constant amplitude (sound intensity) is applied to the input of a push-pull amplifier with tubes B and B'. In the position of switch S as shown, the tubes are biased below cut-off by a voltage of about -90V on the grid and no signal appears at the output. When switch S is thrown, the grid bias becomes more positive (rapidly at first) and rises above cut-off potential, whereupon (depending upon the charging of capacitors C1 and C2) it returns again to -90V. During this interval the amplifier gain rises gradually from zero to a certain value, from which it gradually returns to zero, so that the input signal arrives at the output with its amplitude modulated in the shape of a bell. The width of this tone pulse (i.e. the duration of the tone or note) can be regulated in five steps by switching over to other values of capacitors C1 and C2. After returning the switch to its original position (whereupon the capacitors discharge very rapidly via diodes, not shown), this process can be repeated.


3.b. Discussing the process of realization Before the realization of the work got underway, we discussed how the notations in the score were to be interpreted (combining acoustic layers, adding reverb, etc.). Combining acoustic layers was usually done by synchronizing two or more tape recorders, mixing the respective outputs, and capturing the resultant mix on a separate machine. Various factors complicated the combination of these acoustic layers. 1. Each layer was created to a specified time length, using the most prominent voice of the entire work as a reference. This voice was produced by measuring the duration of every note in tape centimeters, after which the result was judged on its musical qualities and, if necessary, corrected. The next step was to make a number of tape copies of each part. On the back of each copy, pencil marks were made at the points in the “main voice” (according to the score) where start-points of secondary voices were located. After this was done for each voice, the copies were erased electronically, and the sounds that belonged to these measures were spliced in. For every length of tape spliced in, an equivalent amount of tape was removed so that the total

length of all copies remained the same. Since the copies had been erased electronically, the empty spaces within a voice were completely silent. Eventually we ended up with a number of tapes, each containing an acoustic layer. When these tapes were played synchronously, they formed the complete work. [...] 2. Synchronization was effected as follows: The beginning of a sound layer was spliced after a “leader” tape containing spoken sequential reference numbers (1 through 25), each followed by an audible click. During this recording process, the inputs of all tape recorders were connected in parallel. Thus, each machine had its own leader tape. A start error could be corrected during playback of the leader tape by slightly manipulating the tape speed. However, because the machines would eventually “drift” apart, acoustic layers synchronized in this fashion could not exceed three minutes. Therefore various synchronizations had to be executed, the results of which were later spliced together. We found that the 8-track recorder was impossible to use for this work, because its start-time could not be precisely controlled. Additionally, it was impossible to erase or record tracks individually on this machine. At this time, we decided to arrange 23


the recordings on two tracks. This offered the possibility of reproducing one track directionally from the stage, while the other track could be diffused in the hall. We kept in mind that a Philips artificial reverberation system had previously been installed in a number of concert halls. 3.c. Realization Here we describe the origin and treatments of the sounds in a minute-byminute breakdown (see chart). 0 min. The main melody consists of a cyclic repetition of a seven-tone theme in pure harmonic tuning. These notes came from the sine-wave gener-

CD1 TRACK 1 Introduction / Dance /

Dance of the Destructive Forces

0'

1

0'44"

first piano chord

ator processed through the tone gate. The tones were cut to specified TRACK 2 Conflic 3' 3'10" 3'26" 3'39" 3'47" (0'03") 4 lengths and then spliced into a tape loop. In the second acoustic layer, there 3rd sine-wave “hand-dial” is a three-note chord4th of sine-waves, #1 bell bell glissando followed by a timbre-melody created with an optical siren. About 12 different timbres were chosen and proTRACK 3 Passacaglia 6' 7 duced with the22" optical siren (0'03") 30" (0'11")at the same fundamental frequency. Each timbre was recorded for around two “Abel” “Kain” minutes, after which lengths of tape melody

9'

9'11" (0'39")

“Kain” melody

12'

melody

1

9'29" (0'57")

“Abel” melody

12'35" (1'46") 12'52" (2'03")

end of sawtooth melody

1

start “Abel” melody

0:00 – 0:44

24

15'

15'52" 15'58" (1'26") (1'32") 1


1'

2'

1'32"

second piano chord

2'09"

start clavichord

2'31" 33"

Cymbal hit

1st bell

2'54"

2nd bell

were cut and spliced together in a specified sequence. The conclusion of 4'09" 20"(0'36") the(0'25") melody was created by a piano 5' chord (at 0'44"), which was transposed down three octaves and gradupiano b a b a b a b b ally faded toa zero. attack

reversed tam-tam sound enters. The passage concludes with a cymbal hit 05"(2'31"), (1'21") 19" (1'35") 27" (1'43") on the direct 5'51"(2'07") which enters track and cross-fades onto the diffuse track. last a Thevibraphone next passagetriangle consists of four strike crash hits sound layers with piano effects: a ret1 min. The seven-tone melody reapro-figure, an accelerated piano melody TRACK 4 Arioso pears, now in piano-tones. 7'49" The (main theme), a lowered piano 8'58" 8'47" 8'13" 8'17" 8'27" 8'35" accompaniment is the same as above. (chords), and a(2'08") harp-like (0'03") effect (0'15") (0'26") 8' (1'30") (1'54") (1'58") The same piano chord, transposed achieved by strumming the down to four octaves, again closes the undampened strings of a piano with start End of 1st “hand-dial” “Kain” “Abel” phrase (1'32"). Some timbre-melodies fingernails and2nd speeding up the tape piano tremolo thud melody thud melody #2 follow, with reversed and lowered during playback. These four layersmelody piano chords in the background. filled the diffuse track, while the Reprise (Arioso) TRACK 5 Conflict, direct track contained an acoustic 2. min A fast clavichord figure layer11'13" with(0'22) four bell sounds (each sepa10'51" was 11'02" (0'12) cross-modulated with a sine-wave rately tuned using a modified varithat simultaneously increases in able-speed tape recorder), followed by pitch. At the end of this figure, figure described earlier. End ofa crash the clavichord start

ct, Conclusion, Transition

4'

7'

10'

piano figure

13'

16'

13'49" (3'00")

sawtooth melody

14'

end “Abel” melody

Sign (telegraph) key

16'41" (2'15")

17'

3 min. After the fourth bell sound, a sine-wave glissando begins (3'39") TRACK 6 Conflict, Finale simultaneous with a tam-tam sound 14'26" that gradually disappears. The glissando climax is followed by a rhythm created with a sign-key [a telegraph start key] connected“murder-dance” to a tone generator. During the first repetition, this figure is interrupted by a noise created 17'09" (2'43")

25


first piano chord

3'

second piano chord

TRACK 2 Conflict, Conclusion, Transition 3'10"

3'26"

3rd bell

4th bell

3'39"

3'47" (0'03")

sine-wave “hand-dial” #1 glissando

with a so-called “hand-dial-effect.” A 3 Passacaglia recording of aTRACK sudden noise burst was 22"(0'03") 30"(0'11") put on a recorder whose brakes were released [to allow manual manipulation of the reels, like the action of “Abel” “Kain” “dialing”]. The reelsmelody were rotated by melody hand so that the noise burst passed across the playback head, then was quickly stopped and rotated back to 9' 9'11" (0'39") (0'57") the tape point just9'29" before the noise. The background of low humming tones was made by sharply transpos“Kain” “Abel” ing down piano melodylong, sustained melody chords, slightly saturating the tape, then creating envelopes with a volume control. 6'

12'

3:39 – 4:00

b

a

b

a

b

a

b a

The sign-key sounds, the “hand7'49" dial” noise burst, and the background 7' (1'30") textures each formed acoustic layers.

4 min. After the seventh repetition End of of the sign-key effect, a staircase-shaped piano tremolo sine-wave glissando appears on the diffuse track with considerable delayTRACK 5 (100 msec) and artificial reverbera10' with feedback. A considerably 1 10'51" tion distorted attack achieved by hitting the piano keys was transposed down End of four octaves (4'09"). This was fol- piano figure lowed by a rhythmic figure of piano strikes which were transposed up two octaves. 13'

13'49" (3'00")

start “Abel” melody

end “Abel” melody

16'41" (2'15")

15'52" 15'58" (1'26") (1'32") 16'

end “murder-dance”

26

4'09" (0'25") 20"(0'36")

piano attack

12'35" (1'46") 12'52" (2'03")

end of sawtooth melody

15'

4'

cymbal crashes


start clavichord

5'

b

Cymbal hit

1st bell

05"(1'21") 19"(1'35") 27" (1'43")

a

vibraphone strike

triangle hits

2nd bell

5'51"(2'07")

last crash

3rd bell

6'

4th bell

sine-wave “hand-dial” #1 glissando

TRACK 3 Passacaglia

7'

22"(0'03") 30"(0'11")

“Abel” melody

“Kain” melody

TRACK 4 Arioso 5 min. The composite sound decays, 6 min. After some repetition of this 8'58" 8'47" 8'17" 8'27" and8'13" is replaced by 8'35" four acoustic layglissando and several cymbal hits, the (0'15") (0'26") 9' 10' (1'54") (1'58") (2'08") (0'03") 9'29" (0'57") 9'11" (0'39") ers of page 5, which decay as well. stage [during public performance] This pattern repeats several times. would go dark to indicate a change. This passage is abruptly terminatA sine-wave signifies the darkness. 1st “hand-dial” 2nd start “Kain” “Abel” “Kain” “Abel” ed bythud a combination of “hand-dialGradually the harp-like figure of melody melody thud melody #2 melody melody effect” noise and some reversed page 5 becomes dominant, and the piano figures. The climax was lights [in the concert hall] would Conflict, Reprise (Arioso) heightened by an accelerated clavicome on one by one while the sine11'02" (0'12) 11'13" (0'22) 12'35" (1'46") 12'52" (2'03") 13' chord trill combined with a so-called 12' wave slightly diminishes in volume. “lancet-fish” (in which a low noise, When the harp figure stops, the sinethird-octave bandwidth sound was wave remains. The sine-wave then crash start end of start “Abel” recorded, during which the tape was goes into a staircase glissando, which sawtooth melody sawtooth melody melody gradually slowed down; hence, durleads into a straight glissando ing normal-speed playback, the noise towards the pitch of “E,” which conTRACK 6 Conflict, Finale sound rises in pitch). tinues into the next passage. 15'52" 15'58" 14' 15' In this part (6'19") we hear: (1'26") (1'32") 16' 14'26" Next, a vibraphone was struck (5'19"), and this was combined with 1. a constant sine-wave (E) accelerated piano figures. Just after 2. a low noise of a third-octave start end the vibraphone decay, another “lanbandwidth “murder-dance” “murder-dance” cet-fish” surfaces, which was ended 3. the melody, which resembles the with a triangle hit combined with a main seven-note theme piano strike (twice lowered, and with 4. a melody of clavichord chords a delay 17' 17'09" (2'43")of 100 msec and considerable feedback). A reversed piano chord After 11 sec. (6'30"), a sawtooth-wave precedes the next attack. During the joins in accompanied by piano figFinal chord build-up of the piano chord, a short ures. The third-octave noise starts to glissando is heard, played by hand play a melody, while the sine-wave on the sine-wave oscillator. begins a chilling downwards glissando and then disappears.

8'

27


piano attack

b

a

b

a

b

a

b a

b

vibraphone strike

a

last crash

triangle hits

TRACK 4 Arioso 7'49" (1'30")

7'

8'

8'13" (1'54")

End of piano tremolo

8'17" 8'27" 8'35" (1'58") (2'08") (0'03")

1st “hand-dial” 2nd start thud thud melody #2

8'47" (0'15")

8'58" (0'26"

“Kain” melody

“Abel” melody

7 min. The third-octave noise repeats 8 min. During the decay of the last Conflict, Reprise (Arioso) TRACK 5 note the simple melody as an accompaniof this figure, one hears acceler10' 11' 10'51" 02" (0'12) 11'13" (0'22) ment to the sawtooth figure. Finally ated and filtered piano chords as all voices disappear except for the rhythms, followed by a thud (8'13") piano figures, which become louder which consists of: and are repeated once in a slower End of crash 1. a noisestart of two octaves between piano figure sawtooth melody form. 1000 and 4000 Hz 2. a low third-octave noise

2'03")

13'

13'49" (3'00")

Abel” ody

TRACK 6 Conflict, Finale

14'

14'26"

end “Abel” melody

16'41" (2'15")

15'58" (1'32") 16'

start “murder-dance”

17'

17'09" (2'43")

Final chord

d dance”

cymbal crashes

7:37 – 8:12

28


“Abel” melody

" ")9'

12'

15'

End of piano tremolo

TRACK 5 Conflict, 9'11" (0'39")

“Kain” melody

y

“Kain” melody

10'

9'29" (0'57")

11'02" (0

10'51"

“Abel” melody

End of piano figure

crash

3. the self-generating sound of the created with the tone gate. The meloreverberation machine when the sixth dy (8'35") consists of pure sine-tones playback head feeds back (i.e., the note of 14' (2'03") 13' in pure harmonic tuning. Each 12'35" (1'46") 12'52" 13'49" (3'00") feedback was larger than a level of 1) the melody was recorded for a consid The same rhythmic figures were erable time, after which the required end of start “Abel” “Abel” repeated with the “hand-dial-effect,” tape lengths were cut out andendspliced sawtooth melody melody melody again followed by a thud (8'27"). [...] together. A chord of six sine-tones in pure After a few bars (8'46"), this pasharmonic tuning enters. The six fresage is overtaken by another which 16'41" 15'52" 15'58" quencies were recorded on six tracks 17' (1'26") (1'32") 16' consists of: (2'15") of the 16mm 8-track recorder. 1. a rhythm made with the “hand Simultaneous with these chords dial-effect” are rhythmic pulses of the sameend chord 2. a melody of the Baritonclavier. “murder-dance”

cymbal crashes

10:51 – 11:03

29

1

Fin


1st “hand-dial” 2nd start thud thud melody #2

End of o tremolo

“Kain” melody

“Abel” melody

“Kain” melody

“Abel” melody

TRACK 5 Conflict, Reprise (Arioso)

11'02" (0'12)

0'51"

End of piano figure

crash

11'13" (0'22)

start sawtooth melody

12'

12'35" (1'46") 12'52" (2'0

end of sawtooth melody

start “Abe melody

9 min. Each of the two main melodies A piano figure emerges (accelerated TRACK 6 Conflict, Finale alternate in the foreground. and with much reverberation) from 15'52" 15 (1'26") (1 14'26" '49" (3'00") 14' the 15' sine-wave melody. The figure 10 min. A slight melody interrupts the decays and is overtaken by reversed sine-wave. piano sounds created by striking the end d “Abel” start vibraphone (10'51"). “murder-dan melody “murder-dance” 11 min. After a considerably accelerated piano figure (11'13"), a melody 17' 17'09" (2'43") follows, played on the Multivibrator with a shifting tone-scale. This is accompanied by a combination of ten Final chord piano recordings processed in various ways (e.g., accelerated, reversed, or filtered).

12:26 – 12:35

30

12 min. A sawtooth figure (12'35") is followed by another piano chord, transposed down three octaves, which veers into a glissando. This is followed by an accelerated piano figure, whose pace diminishes and which is accompanied by a vibraphone strike (transposed up one octave). This is followed by a third-octave noise sound. A dance passage occurs (12'48") in which we hear successively: a. third-octave noise continued from the previous passage b. a six-tone chord, accentuated


03")

End of piano figure

13'

13'49" (3'00")

el” y

start sawtooth melody

14'

end “Abel” melody

with clavichord chords without their 16'41" attacks (2'15") c. short (low) piano chords, transposed up one octave d. a melody of pure sine-waves (see 8'35") cymbal crashes

5'58" 1'32") 16'

nce”

crash

13 min. In the accompaniment one hears the reemergence of the clavichord chords just as the rhythmic piano strikes, while the six-tone chord sustains. 14 min. A clavichord chord turned

TRACK 6 Conflict, Finale 14'26"

start “murder-dance”

into a glissando when the tape machine was manually braked for a piano rhythms continue for a while, after which the last phrase of the melody repeats. Final chord Immediately after, the last phrase of the sawtooth figure (of 12'35") enters, after which it is repeated in reversed form. At 14'26", the murder-dance of Kaïn starts. It was created out of four attack sounds and a filtered noise figure. The attack sounds were made using an electronic percussion instru-

17' 17'09" (2'43") moment. The

13:46 – 14:26

31


sawtooth melody

melody

melody

16'41" (2'15")

15'52" 15'58" (1'26") (1'32") 16'

end “murder-dance”

16:41 – END

17'09" (2'43")

Final chord cymbal crashes

ment fashioned out of a small steel plate (see: Instrumentarium, b.4 no. 2). The first attack was made by striking the center of the plate with the finger, with a lot of added reverberation; this sound was dynamically shaped using a volume control. The dryer sounds were made by striking the plate on its edges. The rhythm was created by splicing “rests” in between the attack sounds, combined with a certain figure of similar

32

17'

sounds, and then spliced into a tape loop. The noise sounds are in the frequency ranges of 2000-8000 Hz and 1000–4000 Hz. The five tape loops accordingly produced were replayed in one group of three loops and one group of two. Following a specified pattern, the rhythms enter one by one, and disappear eventually, each replaced by another. Finally, all patterns are played together, gradually increasing


“murder-dance”

in speed and volume to a climax, followed by a downward noise-glissando which segues into a sine-wave-glissando with added delay and reverb. The next attack (15'52") was made by recording the first attack of the dance with heavy distortion. 16 min. The last passage begins with a soft repetition of the sawtooth figure of 11'13", followed by a cymbal hit. The 14th cymbal hit (16'41") is almost completely drowned out by a tam-tam hit that was transposed down three octaves. The decaying sound is overtaken by another “lancet-fish.” 17 min. Next we hear a three-tone chord of high sine waves with little variance in pitch, which ends in a downward glissando with reverb. The end of the work is marked by a return of the first attack sound of the dance, but here re-shaped in amplitude and combined with a tam-tam hit (17'09").

4. Conclusion a. Despite flaws that can be cited at various levels of the work, it was successful in its intentions. At certain points it was difficult to follow the score precisely, taking into account the very short time in which the piece had to be finished (about 17 days). Some deviations occur—for in­stance, in the dance passage that starts at 8'35", there are minor rhythmic errors in the accompaniment. These became apparent only after the combination of all acoustic layers c.q. tapes. To return to the tapes to correct the rhythm, and then combine it again with the other voices, would have taken too much time, so we left it as it was. b. We discovered that electronic equipment supplies us with a rich collection of new sounds and timbres. c. The use of musical instruments, both classical and electronic, is thereby expanded. It is possible to effect glissandi on any instrument and to every desired extreme. Additionally it is possible to reverse every dynamic or melodic form.

33


5. Epilogue

Stereo reverberation

The first performance took place in Gebouw voor Kunsten en Weten­ schappen (Building for Arts and Sciences) in The Hague. Of the two tracks on the stereo tape, the left channel was reproduced directly through a 70-watt amplifier and two cabinets with two loudspeakers (Philips model 9762) each. The other track, the so-called “diffuse” track, was reproduced through one channel of the artificial reverberation system (Philips EL6910). At later stagings in the Koninklijke Schouwburg (Royal Theatre) and the Stadsschouwburg (City Theatre), there was no reverberation system available. The diffuse track was therefore reproduced through a 70-watt amplifier connected to ten loudspeaker panels, each with one speaker (Philips 9710). The loudspeakers were placed throughout the hall to optimize a diffused reproduction.

installation (in experimental form) in the Arts and Sciences Hall (Gebouw voor Kunsten en Weten­schappen), The Hague. The delay wheel was fitted with ten playback heads, six of which could operate simultaneously. It was possible to switch rapidly from one set of playback heads to another.

Eindhoven, August 17, 1956

85210

J.W. de Bruyn Physics Laboratory Philips Light Factories 34

Installation for simulating indirect sound with various time lags. A = auditorium, P = platform, M = microphone, W = delay wheel, 0 = recording head, 1–6 = playback heads, 7 = erase head, L = speakers


Philips loudpeaker model 9762M

85184

85188

In the Arts and Sciences Hall, the loudspeakers were mounted along the edge of the upper balcony and (although not visible in the photograph) under the balconies.

Philips loudspeaker model 9710M 35


Popular Electronics: Henk Badings  

One of seven cd booklets in the cd box set "Popular Electronics: Early Dutch Electronic Music from Philips Research Laboratories, 1956-1963...

Popular Electronics: Henk Badings  

One of seven cd booklets in the cd box set "Popular Electronics: Early Dutch Electronic Music from Philips Research Laboratories, 1956-1963...

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