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Statistical Form amongst the Darmstadt School

Statistical Form amongst the Darmstadt School This article analyses the Darmstadt composers' discourse around the concept of ‘statistical form’ in the mid‐ to late 1950s and early 1960s. Stockhausen introduced this terminology in a 1954 analysis of Debussy's Jeux, but the real inspiration lies in the nascent electronic music studio. Using score and sketch analysis, published writings and correspondence, I show how Ligeti, Boulez and Pousseur also made critical contributions to the definition and application of statistical form in music. Along the way I introduce foundational concepts from information theory and show how they were disseminated in Moles's and Meyer‐Eppler's teachings and writings. Via information theory, I investigate how Xenakis's early stochastic sound‐mass music and Cage's aleatory techniques are related to statistical form. Ultimately, I show that a network of shared ideas underlies statistical form, even when debate characterises the discourse and each composer's musical rendering of the concept is distinct. In closing, the article suggests that statistical form represents a second stage of serialism, precipitating a move towards density and texture in sound that was shared by many in the Darmstadt circle. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Music Analysis Wiley

Statistical Form amongst the Darmstadt School

Music Analysis , Volume 33 (3) – Jan 1, 2014

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Music Analysis © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN
0262-5245
eISSN
1468-2249
DOI
10.1111/musa.12037
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article analyses the Darmstadt composers' discourse around the concept of ‘statistical form’ in the mid‐ to late 1950s and early 1960s. Stockhausen introduced this terminology in a 1954 analysis of Debussy's Jeux, but the real inspiration lies in the nascent electronic music studio. Using score and sketch analysis, published writings and correspondence, I show how Ligeti, Boulez and Pousseur also made critical contributions to the definition and application of statistical form in music. Along the way I introduce foundational concepts from information theory and show how they were disseminated in Moles's and Meyer‐Eppler's teachings and writings. Via information theory, I investigate how Xenakis's early stochastic sound‐mass music and Cage's aleatory techniques are related to statistical form. Ultimately, I show that a network of shared ideas underlies statistical form, even when debate characterises the discourse and each composer's musical rendering of the concept is distinct. In closing, the article suggests that statistical form represents a second stage of serialism, precipitating a move towards density and texture in sound that was shared by many in the Darmstadt circle.

Journal

Music AnalysisWiley

Published: Jan 1, 2014

References