N. 13 a) Tractatus I
Tractatus I is the first piece of a trilogy based on Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus logico-philosophicus. Starting point of the composition is the conclusion of Wittgenstein’s work that outlines the limits of the logical language. It can be used to utter propositions about this world, but not about the spheres beyond it, for instance the area of metaphysics. Therefore, Wittgenstein concludes: “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent”. However, it might still be possible to grasp a notation or get a feeling of the world beyond the physical world by means of illogical language, i. e. poetry. Music also utilises a non-logical language or form of expression. The basic idea of Tractatus I-III is to explore to which extent music is able to go beyond the limits defined by Wittgenstein. By doing so, one might achieve some form of understanding of the metaphysical world. The sonic events of Tractatus I were derived from the ordinal numbers used by Wittgenstein in his treatise. Every number at the side of the original text is translated into an articulation available in the particular section. The 48 voices are divided into groups of three. Every group sings/speaks in the same way, but sometimes only a solo voice or two voices are requested. The text and its formal-logical argumentation enable the simultaneous expression of passages sounding the same. The focus is, however, not set on unconditional intelligibility of all text passages – they may be looked up. What is more important isthe sound-wise impression that is emphasised by utilising filters, reverberation as well as flanger, phaser and chorus effects.
What is necessary to perform this work?
This is the first piece of a three-part cycle, which is based on Witggenstein’s Tractatus logico-philosophicus (in its original German version). These works may be performed separately or in the given order. All text passages are notated by means of phonetic spelling, as found in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). By doing so, the text may also be performed by non-native speakers (see p. VI for an IPA chart). Accidentals only apply to the note they directly precede. Microtones are depicted by means of two symbols: MN = ± an eighth tone and QR = ± a quarter tone. Each of the four vocal ranges is divided into groups of three singers, e. g. each group S I, S II, S III and S IV consists of three sopranists (hence altogether 12 sopranists). Each group of three contains a solo voice, standing in front of the other two voices (forming a kind of triangle) and being picked up by two microphones with supercardioid polar pattern in XY-configuration (at an included angle of 90°), as described in the score. The loudspeakers’ output level is, from p. 3 on, generally supposed to be three dynamic levels higher than the sound production (when a sound with the dynamic level piano is produced, it should be emitted with the dynamic level forte) and, from p. 21 on, equal to the dynamic level of the sound production. The electronic parts are completely notated and supposed to be controlled by sound engineers, sitting on the stage. They decide in which exact way the processes are realised as well as choose and adjust the loudspeakers.