this is my contibution about Stockhausen which is also one of the pioneers of electronic music and has a huge influence on many artist till these days its an article i wrote about two years ago hope its not too long
Karlheinz Stockhausen is a German composer who is also involved in writing, lecturing, conducting and producing his works. Born in 1928, he was especially prominent throughout the post war era and into the 1950s and 1960s pioneering electronic music. Stockhausen used such techniques as tape slicing and analog pulsing . As technology progressed he moved on to use synthesizers. The work of Stockhausen has influenced many mainstream musicians both directly and indirectly. He has influenced a range of genres of music from jazz to techno, in a varying number of ways. His influences are also apparent in sound used for film, television and radio.
This article will identify some of the artists that Stockhausen has influenced and explore the various ways and different techniques that have influenced the individual artists and their genres of music.
One of the most successful and influential bands of the 20th century, was The Beatles. It has been suggested that Stockhausen's work influenced this hugely popular mainstream band . In 1968 The Beatles released Revolution #9 which is constructed largely of pre-recorded tape loops. The year before this, Stockhausen released his work Hymnen. Hymnen is a composition that integrates a wide variety of national anthems and transforms them electronically. In addition to the national anthems, other 'found sounds' have been used including, speech, sounds of crowds, recorded conversations, events from short-wave radio receivers and recordings of public street noises. Hymnen consists of four sections or regions which have a combined duration of 113 minutes. Each region is dominated by a national anthem and has been described as having several centres or focal points that act as points of convergence for the transformation process used. Some of the main instruments that Stockhausen used in Hymnen were four track tape recorders which were played simultaneously to create phase patterns and repetitive rhythms.
At that time John Lennon of The Beatles was creating his own electronic music by using tape recorders. In Revolution #9, Lennon sliced tapes of classical music to make various loops. The phrase 'number nine' is being repeated throughout the track, a similarity to Hymnen where Stockhausen has a croupier's voice, as a divider between regions, saying 'neuf the nine'. Revolution #9 is also divided into four regions and each region has its own story just like in Stockhausen's piece where each region is dedicated to something.
Although there is no cited evidence of Lennon using Stockhausen's Hymnen as a basis for the structure of his work, it is known that at the time Paul McCartney introduced Stockhausen's work to The Beatles. In 1967 The Beatles used a photograph of Stockhausen on the cover of the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. In 1969 there were discussions about a joint concert with Stockhausen and the Beatles, a concert which never came about, which indicates a mutual interest between the two artists . At the time of The Beatles, avant-garde music was mainly confined to intellectual and academic circles. Lennon's release of Revolution #9 on one of the Beatles most successful albums brought this experimental music to fans and gained acceptance as well as being an open influence to other musicians at the time and since its release. Stockhausen and Lennon were friends and after Lennon's death Stockhausen said, ' In my eyes, John Lennon was the most important mediator between popular and serious music of this century.
At around 1958 Stockhausen visited the conservatory in Duisburg, Germany giving compositional lessons on new ideas in the world of music. One of the students who attended these lessons was Holger Czukay, who later, in 1968, formed the band Can along with another former student of Stockhausen's who was previously a free-jazz drummer and vocalist. For Czukay, his introduction to Stockhausen was the first time he heard electronic music being played from a tape. In an interview, Czukay says how Stockhausen's work influenced his musical ideas, in particular a piece called Kurzwellen . In kurzwellen, which translates to short waves, short wave radio receiver sounds were used to link the sounds of the various instruments. Each musician has a short wave receiver in addition to his or her instrument and he or she can imitate the sound, alter it, and transposes it to a different key, playing together with the other musicians, reacting to each other's sounds. The timing and frequency of a player changing between instrument and short wave sounds is left to his or her discretion .Czukay has spoken of how important Stockhausen's ideas were to him, especially the use of short wave radio sounds which Can also began using.
Although Czukay's main roll in the band was playing the bass, his contribution to the band involved much more than this. He was also the engineer, tape editor, and very involved in manipulating the sounds. Early in his career he undertook his experiments seriously and always viewed them valid music not just mere sound effects . His methods included treating and sampling the sounds from short-wave radios and incorporating found sounds collected via Dictaphone. He would then spend much time splicing tapes and constructing collages of sound which were used over live sets of the band. Can had the unconventional idea that a pop song could be written during improvisation of the whole band and most of the band's tracks began life as lengthy jams recorded in the studios. Czukay has used Stockhausen's piece Kontakte by playing it along with rhythm tracks and he reports that other DJs have also admitted Stockhausen had a strong influence on Can who in turn, went on to influence many other bands across genres of music and this came mostly after the band has separated in 1978.
The post-punk generations of bands were looking for a way to combine avant-garde music with rock and they found this influence through listening to Can's music. Bands that have been influenced by Can include the Eurhythmics whose first album had contributions from Czukay; and Brian Eno whose piece Backwater in the 70s was influenced by Liebezeit, Can's drummer. John King of the Dust Brothers who produced albums for The Beastie Boys and Beck acknowledges the influence that Can has had on many modern acts . Can's drummer Liebezeit and guitarist Schmidt have suggested that the band has greatly influenced drum and bass due to the repetitive constant rhythms they used and the fact that the drums and the rhythm were the centre of their pieces. The drummer said in an interview, 'I've always drummed, basically, like a sequencer. Once I've set a rhythm, I keep it from beginning to end . . . it's like not changing the key of the piece,' ) Liebezeit,
Stockhausen's later work was mainly in the field of electronic music and so this was the area he greatly influenced. However, up to the 1970s, this electronic music was mostly an underground scene and had not yet reached the mainstream. At the end of the 70s, a group called Kraftwerk was one of the main contributors to bringing electronic music into the mainstream. Kraftwerk was a product of the same German experimental music community in the late 1960s which also gave rise to Can. Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider-Esleben, members of Kraftwerk, were studying improvised music in Dusseldorf, Germany. They were influenced by composers such as Stockhausen and his experimental electronic sound and they began to create minimalist music on synthesizers, drum machines and tape recorders. Kraftwerk experimented with technology at the time and found inspiration in the industrial world around them. They developed a sound that was original and was followed by a great number of artists in the decades that followed.
In 1977, Kraftwerk released Trans-Europe Express which was a track that gave inspiration to musical pioneers in the fields of hip hop and electro. It was a dance track with a strong beat and an original bass line, featuring musique-concrete noises and an ascending melody. Many of the acts that came out of the early 1980s have cited Kraftwerk as one of their influences. Kraftwerk's Eurosynth sound was an influence in the dance music of the 80s, and in the 1990s, had a massive revival as electronica. One significant artist who has been influenced by Kraftwerk is Afrika Bambaataa. Bambaataa fused two of Kraftwerk's tracks - Numbers from 1981, and Trans Europe Express from 1977 - and made a song called Planet Rock, which has been hailed as the first electro-hip hop song. This track altered the genre of hip hop music, and was followed by other musical icons such as Mantronix, The Egyptian Lover and Cybotron and even inspired Herbie Hancock and other jazz musicians to experiment.
Kraftwerk members have acknowledged the influence of Stockhausen and ex-member Karl Bartos said, 'As a student I had performed pieces like Kontakte/Contacts or Kurzwellen/Shortwaves by Stockhausen, that had absolutely nothing to do with classical drumming-techniques. Stockhausen's piece Kontakte was one of first pieces to combine pre-recorded material and live instrumentation. It uses what Stockhausen called 'moment form' which involved working without sequences, where one section does not clearly lead to the next.
The piece has been performed in two versions, the first with four-channel tape and the second with four-channel tape and added piano and percussion. Most of the sounds and noises were produced by multiple acceleration of rhythmic impulse sequences. These techniques are explained in Stockhausen's biography,
"So there were loops running everywhere, . . . Finally I used the fast-forward on the tape recorder to accelerate the tapes so they were already four or five octaves up, then the result went up another four octaves - so then I was up eight octaves - until finally I got into an area where the rhythms were heard as pitches and timbres,"
In conjunction with working on Kontakte Stockhausen put together his Four Criteria of Electronic Music, which were the basis of his work. The first is 'the unified time-structuring' which is a principle in electro-acoustic music that has no possible parallel in the acoustic domain. It refers to the sonic phenomenon where if you take a phrase that has a pitch and rhythm and speed it up enough, the sound becomes a tone or noise. This timbre can then be used to create new rhythms and pitches. The second is 'splitting of a sound' which means that a timbre is broken into its component parts, which can then be used to form individual musical layers. The third is 'multi-layered spatial composition' which is the ability to move the sound around in a multi-speaker environment simulating distance as well as placement. The fourth criteria is 'the equality of tone and noise', which means that, if sound is considered to be a continuum from a simple sine wave at one end, to a complex noise at the other, then sounds from any point along the continuum are musically useful,
Stockhausen's criteria define the complex relationship between electro-acoustic composers and the sounds they work with. Pitch, harmony, rhythm, timbre and spatialisation can be used to create structure and can be connected using a variety of techniques, Although the techniques that Stockhausen pioneered have influenced many bands, computers have taken over due to the ease and speed of working with them. For example, working with tapes using techniques such as the multiple acceleration used in Kontakte, was a very slow process and now these effects can be achieved easily using a computer. Kontakte therefore sounds almost ahead of its time and now similar results are achieved in the techno, drum n bass, and the popular music of today without the laborious processes Stockhausen engaged in. Richard D. James also known as Aphex Twin has commented on the ease of making music with computers compared to working with tape .
When electronic instruments and techniques began to be used in mainstream music in the 80s, there were music pieces that could be related directly to Stockhausen's techniques, for example artists such as Kraftwerk. However, due to both consumers and artists continuously looking for new and different sounds, these experimental electronic techniques became utilised more in the mainstream in the last decade. Aphex Twin has been noted for some of his work reaching the mainstream with his video for Windowlicker appearing as a hit on MTV and other work being used for sound on television. He cites Stockhausen's early work as a major influence, but despite this, Stockhausen has criticised the techniques that Aphex twin uses.
The artists that have been mentioned already include some of the major artists influenced by Stockhausen, however there are many more including Bjork Gudmundsdottir who has been a great fan of Stockhausen's work since she was introduced to him at the age of 12 and has even interviewed him (Gudmundsdottir, 2004). Mile Davis, the great jazz musician, has also taken inspiration from Stockhausen's work and his album On the Corner, released in 1972, has hints of Stockhausen's modern electronic sounds .
In conclusion, Stockhausen has been and still is a prominent influence for many genres of music and has been cited by many artists as a central influence. His techniques were avant-garde at the time but are now utilised by many with greater ease due to the advance of computer music programmes. His influences are apparent in mainstream music, for example The Beatles, although they may be more apparent in the electronic music scene.