German electronic musician demonstrates the Rohde & Schwarz UBM in the video link below. It is a piece of test equipment Stockhausen used in making Kontakte. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=En24uIjiGsg rsubm.jpg - Bild entfernt (keine Rechte)
Thanks for sharing this Justin. I remember seeing this and much of the equipment Stockhausen used in those years when I visited the WDR Studios a few years ago. I know so little about how any of this works - both the equipment from then and all the much more sophisticated stuff that musicians and composers work with today. But I never cease to be amazed by this early equipment in particular, and how adventurous and creative Stockhausen was in discovering uses for it: not just in finding such remarkable sounds, as he did, but, even more so, how he then worked with them, crafting them, and shaping them, into works of such magnificent artistic and musical structure and creativity. KONTAKTE was a fantastic example of this: the way he worked not only with interesting sounds, but explored and organised the ways those sounds interacted with, and contacted each other. It is so great to see people still fascinated by all of this.
I am glad you liked the video. It's very cool you got to visit the WDR studios! Awesome. Was that as a side trip around the Kurten courses?
Being a ham radio operator, I have two reasons to love all this test equipment, and got my first audio signal/sine wave generator with some hopes of making some music with this type of stuff myself. The other reason, is of course, to use it to test equipment with :)
Yes! The creativity Stockhausen showed in wrestling with these beasts and coaxing such beauty out of them remains inspiring. I would love to hear Kontakte with the loudspeaker on the rotation table.
If you are interested in the history of all these kinds of devices in music, the book Live Wires is excellent. (Live Wires: A History of Electronic Music by Daniel Warner). It has a fair amount about Stockhausen in it. What I liked was how he broke down the history into types of devices: the tape recorder, turntable, microphone, circuit, & computer. He then goes on to show how a lot of the early mainframe computer music techniques are now all available in things like MAX. It really is amazing.
Yet even with powerful electronic processing tools at our fingertips there is something primal about returning to the older equipment, the big knobs, and the limitations it places on you by the sheer physicality. Encountering those limitations can make for great art, whereas the total openness to every possibility is sometimes too much, if you get my drift.
I feel that it could be useful to have a discussion-forum on the music of Stockhausen. There are so many people from all over the world, young and old, learned and eager to get into contact with this musical world: musicologists, composers, musicians, music lovers; people who plan concerts - who write books or have to give lectures and so on. So there should be much stuff, many ideas that we can share. And when we have open questions, there may be people who studied just that and could give a hint or a stimulus.
A problem might be the English language, but i feel that is the only possibility that many people who are interested can participate. And we can exercise tolerance to mistakes!