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Eimert: Klangstudie I (1952)

Listening exercise for Eimert's Klangstudie I (1952)

Listening exercise

This one’s a short listen! Herbert Eimert’s Klangstudie I comes in at just under four minutes in duration – so have a few listens and see what you can make of what is going on here.

Listen on UbuWeb

As you can probably guess, this is one of those pieces the GRM accused of being an “elementary laboratory experiment”, and indeed there is something scientific about this piece. You can kind of hear the exploration taking place, the idea of uncertainty in how these sounds should be used or combined together, and instead running through different ideas and combinations methodically to see what the resulting outcomes are elicited.

The title Klangstudie translates literally to “sound study”, and that’s exactly what it is, a study of different kinds of electronic sound. In many ways, this is somewhat analogous to Schaeffer’s Cinq études de bruits, in that it is a short, focused exploration on some of the central musical ideas the centre was interested in exploring. As we listen, we can hear a remarkable shift in pitch content, timbre, range, and dynamic volume. We can hear repeated phrases not unlike Schaeffer’s locked grooves, and we can hear sound move between static tones to more unstable, almost noise-like qualities. And we can assume that some sort of serialist processes governed the creation of a lot of the material here.

Over to you

How does Klangstudie I make you feel? What did you think was interesting, and what did you think wasn’t interesting? What kinds of distinct sounds do you hear here? How does it compare to Schaeffer’s Cinq études de bruits?

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