Vertical Movements

ein Kompositions- und Forschungsprojekt

Vertical Movements beschreibt mit musikalischen Mitteln den Auf- und Abstieg auf Aldarax , einen Hügel
im Valle de Ricote, Murcia (Spanien). Aldarax, bekannt als spiritueller Berg der
Sufisten im Mittelalter und “Wächter über die Region Valle de Ricote” spielt eine
herausragende Rolle im Mittelalterlichen Spanien. Diesem entgegengesetzt wird der
Auf- und Abstieg auf andere Erhebungen in Berlin, Brandenburg und im Saarland.
Bezugnehmend auf die Praxis des eigenen täglichen Auf- und Abstiegs über einen
bestimmten Zeitraum beschreibt die Komposition einen Weg, der sich physisch und
kompositorisch mit dem eigenen Lebensweg und mit der Darstellbarkeit von Höhe und
Tiefe auseinandersetzt. Der visuellen Dominanz des Horizontalen in der westlichen
Kultur wird eine auditive vertikalität entgegengesetzt, die – nicht als Hirarchie
gedacht sondern als zweite Öffnung gesehen – den Lebenszyklus beschreibt. Diese
Vertikalität ist im Wesentlichen der Musik verwand, allerdings in der technischen
Umsetzbarkeit des vertikal Erlebbaren sehr beschränkt. In “vertical
movements” entwickle ich ein auf generativen Elementen, Komposition und
fieldrecordings basierendes dreidimensionale Komposition.

This project has been supported by the Musikfonds scholarship programme within the framework of Neustart Kultur 2020-2021.

project log in english (work in progress):


In the course of the project, I visited natural and artificial elevations alike to do fieldrecordings and research the auditive perception of height.

Elevations have been important to humans in practical and mythological ways. Living between the earth and the sky this it is interwoven in all elemental narratives of mankind. Think of the tower of Babel as a biblical example of an artificial elevation, think of the myth of Sysyphos. Think as well of nomadic gatherings and early settlements and the role of hills and mountains as watchouts. Examples are endless and once you start thinking about you find them everywhere.

When thinking about (hu)man made elevations architecture comes to mind with their materialisations of visions, be them spiritual religious, capitalistic or serving other ideas and ideologies, Architecture knows a thing or two about it. Glas (the Moniker of Bruno Taut) in “Die Gläserne Kette” (Korresponenzen 10, Die Gläserne Kette, Eine Expressionistische Korrespondenz über die Architektur der Zukunft, Verlag Gerd Hatje, S.27) describes in 1919 in his letter to the gläserne Kette a building called “Monument des neuen Gesetzes” (monument of the new law) , in which on glas boards mounted high up on the building letters read phrases of Martin Luther, Karl Liebknecht , Friedrich Nietzsche, phrases from the book of revelation and others. From the ground you read against the sky, looking into the sun or the clouds. The body position gets stretched and altered, there is a forecast on Yoko Onos Instructions if you wish. The words ascend from above, read and listened with our inner ear.


composition: how to write a vertical score?

Thinking about a representation of height and verticality I decided to compose not only in a linear time manner, but also in a spacial distribution manner: sonic events can happen on different height levels in the perceived space, without having to have a causal relation to each other. as a receiver standing on the foot of a hill or on top of a 17 floor building, sound events can happen simultaneously without being connected to each other. This is the starting point for “layering” in a spherical sense sound on top or above of each other.

There are historical as well as examples from present days where immersive sounds from above or below direct the attention of the listener in space. Like in case of many church organs the sound is coming of above suggesting a otherworldly authorship.

vertical composistion visualisations:

energy distribution of the different regions of low middle and high domain, as measured with the Energy Visualizer plugin of the IEM plugin suite

While easy to reproduce on a ambisonics multi channel system, the binaural headphone playback is not that clear in reproducing height. Other than on the horizontal axis, where blauert fields help the localisation of a sound being in the front or in the back, for up and down there seems to be no such thing.

Spatialisation studies:

just a quick proof of concept test for upper middle and lower regions rendert to binaural stereo

With a Thank You! to Petra Goldman and cultur im corbusierhaus and Musikfonds