You're not registered yet. Click here to register. Credits 
Karlheinz Stockhausen - a platform to discuss his works, to anounce forthcoming concerts and to review them.
You can register here for free.
This topic has 4 replies
and has been read 1.011 times
 General Items
DonSolare Offline

Posts: 9
Points: 9

Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:15 pm
gebärfte Pause | coloured silence reply

Hi there,

is there a concrete definition of "gebärfte Pause" (coloured silence), either by Stockhausen himself or by a scholar?
Of course I know what it is and I could define it myself, but if there is an official one, it is better to - at least - know it.

A last request: I was several months inactive in this forum due to the extremely rude and aggresive behaviour of a certain member. Please don't answer me "this is a silly question".

Juan María

DonSolare Offline

Posts: 9
Points: 9

Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:25 am
#2 RE: gebärfte Pause | coloured silence reply

oops, ich meine natürlich "gefärbte Pause" (so ein Dreher...)

Jerry Offline

Posts: 181
Points: 181

Thu Oct 02, 2014 7:49 am
#3 RE: gebärfte Pause | coloured silence reply

Schade! Ich habe den Tippfehler bevorzugt!

Your question proves more difficult to answer than I expected. I have not yet found a quotation from Stockhausen (though I know there is at least one somewhere). The best I have been able to do is find some definitions from musicologists:

Frisius, in volume 3 of his book on Stockhausen, page 143:
“Zwischenformen zwischen klaren Tonstrukuren (“Klang”) und Pausen (“Stille”): gefärbte Stille – Pausen, die durch akzentuierte oder gleitende Geräusche oder Klänge “belebt” werden."

Two items by Alcedo Coenen:
"Colored pauses" are pauses with some soft non-pitched noise"


“Stockhausen’s Paradigm: A Survey of His Theories”. Perspectives of New Music 32, no. 2 (Summer 1994) 200–25.
p. 214: “(soft noise-like sounds instead of a silent pause)”
[a little further down the same page:]
“It is interesting to notice that most accessories seem to have their origin from the practice of electronic music. Echo and pre-echo are known as unwanted side-effects of tape recordings; colored pause is originally the hiss of the tape; the scale could refer to the glissando-effect if a tape is started, and modulation is a well-known electronic technique. These mostly unwanted "accidents" in the praxis of electronic tape music are incorporated musically in the formula technique: another example of a way of working in which everything that passes the composer's way is incorporated into the system.”

I hope this helps. I shall keep looking for a definition from the composer himself.

DonSolare Offline

Posts: 9
Points: 9

Thu Oct 02, 2014 12:40 pm
#4 RE: gebärfte Pause | coloured silence reply

it helps, yes... I am almost sure I have listened a definition (or rather an explnation / description) from KS himself in Kürten during some of the courses ... but when exactly, I cannot say.

I would also instinctively say that "non-pitched noise" is posibly ONE type of gefärbte Pause but not the only one. Possibly too short for a "definition".
The idea of relating it to the hiss of the tape is very attractive - etimologically, albeit not structurally (= g.P. als Trennungselement).

Clear is that a coloured silence
- is much softer than the context
- is heard in the background, i.e it doesn't call the attention of the listener as atrongly as the "main" layer.
- split motifs or synthactical units (like a komma or a point / colon or period in written language)

But this is not saying what it IS, but HOW it functions. Perhaps it wold be undue to say more than that.

Thank you, jerry
Juan María

uatu Offline

Posts: 206
Points: 206

Thu Oct 02, 2014 6:34 pm
#5 RE: gebärfte Pause | coloured silence reply

I recently wrote a blog post about the LICHT super-formula and I noticed that KS seemingly labels certain effects as "colored pauses". These look to be:

tongue click (measure 3)
voicelessly calling numbers (measure 7, 14 and 18)
breathing noises (inhale/exhale) (measure 12)

He also labels colored "noise" as
toneless tremolo (measure 7)
toneless (but pitched!) rushing glisses (measure 8,9)

There are some other "voiceless/toneless" instances but they are not specifically labelled colored pause or colored noise. My guess is that he thought it would be repetitive? Or I'm totally wrong and colored pause means something else!

As far as how it functions, it seems to be just another musical aspect (or "accessory") such as scale, echo, tempo, or timbre modulation, which he used as part of a "behavior row" (as opposed to a tone row) to assemble the LICHT formulas. In any case they make it much easier to "find" the formulas in LICHT!

Anyways, my 2 cents :)
Ed Chang

- Ed Chang
- Stockhausen - Sounds in Space: Analysis, explanation and personal impressions of the works of the avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen.

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! Thomas Ulrich
Xobor Xobor Community Software