Please Note: Everything showing as available to buy is physically in stock in our UK warehouse and available for delivery!

Stockhausen - Questions and answers on Intuitive Music Pt 2

Question: You say that you call this music Intuitive Music because improvisation is always related to a certain system

Stockhausen: Style

Question: to a pattern. What about improvisation like that of the Globokar group?

Stockhausen: He calls it improvisation. I would not recommend calling it that.

Question: What would you call it then ­ intuitive?

Stockhausen: Yes, I would say so.

Question: Do you think Globokar would call it that?

Stockhausen: What do you want to talk about now: opinions or analysis?

Question: I simply would like to know exactly where the difference between improvisation and intuition lies.

Stockhausen: In Intuitive Music, I try to get away from anything that has established itself as musical style. In improvised music, there is always, as history has shown, some basic element ­ rhythmic, or melodic or harmonic ­ on which the improvisation is based.

In the Globokar group it is clear, for example, that ­ although the musicians intend to play "out of the void", and although nothing is prescribed and there also are, allegedly, no prior agreements ­ from time to time the percussion player Drouet plays tabla rhythms familiar to us from Indian music. He once studied tabla playing for a short time with an Indian tabla player, and these stylistic elements emerge from him automatically. So there is no pre-established style for this music as a whole, but certain stylistic elements come into the music which I would try to avoid, in order to completely concentrate on intuition. The same is true of Portal, the clarinet player. Whenever he gets into a rage ­ when the musicians are "heated up" ­ he plays typical free-jazz melodies, configurations which he, as a free jazz player, has played for years. There are certain idioms that come from the group he played with, and from the free jazz tradition in general. At such moments, one finds oneself therefore in a certain style. Even though the musicians do not intend to play such styles, they have not eliminated them

Question: But systematized patterns are a part of improvisation.

Stockhausen: Yes, this has been so historically.

Question: No, it should be so, and it always will be so ­ or has always been so.

Stockhausen: Now, that completely depends on us. If one calls what I do "improvisation", then it must be added: "Be careful, the term improvisation is now very broad and is no longer related to any agree- ments". But in such a case, I prefer a new term. Therefore, I suggest the following: baroque music, Indian music, some African music ­ for example music from Mozambique ­ is improvised music. Let's call that improvisation and leave it at that.

Question: And free jazz?

Stockhausen: It is "free jazz" because the word "jazz" means that a certain style is aimed at. Something specific is desired, which sets into motion that which is being played.

Question: What I heard on your tape recording today was Western classical music. I could tell that it was played by people whose training was in classical music.

Stockhausen: What do you mean by "classical"? I am completely thrown by your comment, because for me, classical music is something which has been composed. It has certain characteristics as regards rhythm, harmony, melody and form, and I do not find any of this in the music which I presented.

Question: I could tell by the gestures that the players were socially sophisticated, people who come from this particular culture in which we now find ourselves ­ as opposed, for example, to Eskimos.

Stockhausen: That is obviously the case. What shall I say now? I mean ­ I cannot change the situation.

Question: Yes, and thus in that sense it is also improvised music, because it is narrowed by the cultural frame of reference.

Stockhausen: If someone comes from the star Sirius and hears ter-restrial music, he says: "So that's terrestrial music: no matter how hard they try to be intuitive, there is certainly a very typical channelling of intuition on this Earth as compared to Sirius". Naturally one can argue like that, if you wish. We are not yet universal, if that is what you want to say.

Question: Would you like to work with musicians who have a completely different musical background?

Stockhausen: By all means. I also do it. I am not tied to this group. For years I have been trying to replace certain players, who cannot get away from what you have just described. I realise that their limitations are too great. They have reached a certain limit and now cannot surpass it. I observe that these musicians cannot develop themselves further. Their possibilities seem to have come to an end, because they are not simultaneously working on the further development of their personalities.

Question: Don't you also think that this is the right way to find one's true inner culture musically, in the same way as you make your Intuitive Music in a group?

Stockhausen: It is difficult to speak about this. Basically it means to make contact with all that has been called intuition. In traditional music we are accustomed to say that a composer has only brief moments of intuition. (Let's say he had an inspiration in a tram or during a walk, and then he worked out the so-called idea or sound-vision for the next few weeks.) One imagines such inspirations like a flash of lightning in the night. At this point, I would like to make it clear that I am searching to discover a technique for myself as composer and interpreter ­ and also for the other musicians who work with me ­ to consciously extend these lightning-like moments of intuition; a technique which can actuate intuition when I want to start working, so that I am not a victim, having to wait until it comes. It often used to come, namely, at the wrong moment, when I had no time, or just when someone else wanted to talk with me. I must find a technique through which the intuition can be started and stopped. And these moments of intuitive working must last longer, as long as I want. But then I have to find a completely new technique for making music. I cannot simply sit in front of a piece of paper with my pencil sharpened and my eraser ready, and then write down what my intuition administers to me, because the intuition has a very particular kind of speed, which is by no means congruent with the speed of writing.

And that is the crux: for 600, 700, 800 years we have learned to translate music ­ which we perceive intuitively ­ into the visual, to represent it by means of a system we have agreed upon. Most of it is mechanical work. As I have said, in all my works there are always only a few intuitive moments which determine entire sections of several minutes, as it later turns out. Then I start working like a mechanic for days and weeks, calculating the details, etc. But I always knew what I wanted from the first moment on, and thus, most of this work is actually industry. As every insider knows, genius is 95% hard work and 5% intuition. I would like to add that this conception ought to come to an end as fast as possible. It is based on the unbelievably complicated process in which we have been trapped since Gutenberg, in fact ever since the first monks started to write down music. It was necessary ­ as a mediation between composer and interpreter ­ to write music on paper, then give it to someone who was like a musical mailman transporting it to another city, for instance, where other musicians could read it and transform it into sounds again. And now this process somehow is coming to an end. Namely, we do not need this mail any longer. I can fly there myself by plane or send a tape.

We must therefore develop completely new processes in order to find the time inherent in intuition and to work within this time of intuition so that intuition can last, and so that one does not always have to interrupt and say, "Wait a minute, first I have to write it down", by which time naturally it has slipped away again. This "Wait a minute", has become a source of frustration for most artists in the field of music, at least for the composers, and I would say that the traditional concept of the composer as a writer of music no longer suffices.

Your basket contains:0 items