That Stockhausen Sound

A simple MaxMSP patch to re-create the sound of the original recording of the legendary STUDIE II


This could be filed under “contemporary musicians that get crazy at sound design or sound designers that get crazy at contemporary music, thread”…

This year, Santas brought me the wonderful Studie II score, so after a while I’ve decided to make something about it..

As you know at WDR at the time of STUDIE II, there was only one sine oscillator. In order to create the Tone-mixtures for the work, Stockhausen had used an interesting method.

He had recorded every single sine frequency on tape, then he had cut every tape in 4cm long cuts.
To build the mixture he sequenced 5 of these pieces of tape (lowest frequencies played first) in a tape loop, and played back those loops into a reverb chamber with RT60= 10sec

While playing back, he had recorded the reverb chamber sound, and then he had cut the first part of the resulted sound so to obtain the reverb tails only.

Lastly he had used those reverb tails for the work, shaping the amplitude envelopes by hand.
When a crescendo was needed, he first had reversed the tape, then he shaped the amplitude.

This simple Max Patch can help students to build the tone mixtures (that then must be arranged in audio editors like Reaper, Logic, Protools or Cubase and the like).
It’s an interesting learning tool for it is faithful to Stockhausen’s technical approach at the problem.

audio example can be listened here

max patch for max6 can be downloaded free here

You will hear that the obtained sound is much more close to the original recording compared to the classic Stockhausen patch that comes with Max. I hope students and teachers will find this interesting.

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