The Meta-Instrument as a Compositional Technique.


Strategies of Current Musical Creation.

The aesthetic paradigm shift after the Second World War inspired the emergence of new expressive possibilities and the development of compositional techniques on the timbral use of instruments, changing the relationships and hierarchies that had previously existed among them. Additionally, the role that technology has played in recent years has clearly influenced many creators when composing their music and changing the sound possibilities of familiar classic instruments while encouraging the creation of completely new ones.

A new lexicon to define the same musical reality appears out of the development of these facts: the meta-instrument, a technique born from the idea of merging timbres in an autonomous entity that acts beyond the sum of its parts and produces an acoustic illusion in listening. Coming from different perspectives and yielding varying results, composers such as Giacinto Scelsi, Helmut Lachenmann, and José María Sánchez- Verdú have turned their gaze toward this strategy to solidify their musical thought.

Moreover, the digital revolution, whose influence on some aesthetics and current trends is already apparent, has opened up a space not without controversy that seeks to redefine, or at least expand, the classic definition of composition and even the very idea of music itself.

One way or another, listening is placed at the center of a debate to question, once again, the essential aspects of what it means to be human.



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GAN QUESADA, Germán, José María Sánchez-Verdú. Músicas del límite. Festival de Música de Canarias, 2006.
LACHENMANN, Helmut, Musik als existentielle Erfahrung. Breitkopf & Härtel, Wiesbaden, 1996.
MAHNKOPF, Claus-Steffan; Cox, Franz; Schurig, Wolfram, Musical morphology. Wolke Verlag, Hofhein, 2004.
REISSIG, Elfriede, Dialoghi. Annährungen an Scelsi. Wolke, Hofheim, 2015.
VLITAKIS, Emmanouil, Funktion und Farbe. Klang und Instrumentation in ausgewählten Kompositionen der zweiten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts: Lachenmann – Boulez – Ligeti – Grisey. Sinfonia 11. wolke, Berlin, 2008.
ZENDER, Hans, Speculations about Scelsi. KAIROS booklet from CD Giacinto Scelsi. Yamaon, Anahit, I presagi, Tre pezzi, Okanagon, 1999.

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