Studie I

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Studie I (English: Study I) is an electronic music composition by Karlheinz Stockhausen from the year 1953. It lasts 9 minutes 42 seconds and, together with his Studie II, comprises his work number ("opus") 3.


The composition was created in the Studio for Electronic Music of the NWDR in Cologne between July and November 1953.[1] In the final stages of editing, Stockhausen commemorated the birth of his first daughter, Suja on 25 September 1953 by inserting a "serially unauthorized" 108 Hz (in a phrase attributed to Richard Toop), "one-gun salute".[2] The world premiere took place in Cologne on 19 October 1954 in the concert series Musik der Zeit, together with Stockhausen's Studie II and works by Henri Pousseur, Karel Goeyvaerts, Herbert Eimert, and Paul Gredinger.[3]

The work was important amongst other reasons because it was made (as were the works by Pousseur, Goeyvaerts, and Gredinger) not with the use of (electronic) instruments, like the Trautonium or Melochord, but rather out of pure sine tones. For the first time, complete compositional control was achieved, even over timbre. The ideal was to produce each sound synthetically and thus separately determined in its details: "The conscious organization of music extends to the micro-acoustic sphere of the sound material itself";[4][5] It is serially organized on all musical levels.[6][7]

Unlike Studie II, the score has never been published, apart from the first page as an illustration to Stockhausen's analysis of the piece.[8][9]

Materials and form[edit]

Tone proportions in Stockhausen's Elektronische Studie I,[10]

The fundamental hypothesis for Studie I was that its serial system should begin in the middle of the human auditory range and extend in both directions to the limits of pitch perception. Durations and amplitudes are inversely proportional to the distance from this central reference, so the sounds become both shorter and softer as they approach the upper and lower limits of pitch audibility.[11]

Sets of six values determine the entire work. Pitches are drawn from a series of intervals: a falling minor tenth, rising major third, falling minor sixth, rising minor tenth, and falling major third. Expressed as justly intoned numeric ratios, these are 12/5, 4/5, 8/5, 5/12, and 5/4. Starting from 1920 Hz, near the upper threshold of pitch audibility, thirty-six series of six pitches each are projected, starting with 1920, 800, 1000, 625, 1500, and 1200. The lowest value of 66 Hz is reached at the fourth value of the twenty-second series: 203, 84, 105, 66, 158, 127.[12] All of these ratios are derived from the 5:4 major third, and the resulting timbral combinations resemble the pleasant chiming of a crystal goblet or the combination of vibraphone and glockenspiel – sounds which Stockhausen had previously employed in 1952 in his orchestral compositions Spiel and Formel, respectively.[13]

Studie I is composed with "groups". Like the table of pitches, these groups are also constructed from sets of six numbers so that, for example, the first six "vertical" groups of the composition contain 4, 5, 3, 6, 2, and 1 notes each. Stockhausen calls these note groups "note mixtures", and extrapolates the same grouping principle to the formal structure of the entire work: successive note mixtures form horizontal sequences, groups of these sequences form "structures", and these structures are organized into one large "group series" that produces a unifying proportion series for the entire work.[14] In order to increase the contrast between the note groups, a set of six envelope curves was added: steady amplitude, increasing amplitude to a sudden cut-off at the specified maximum, and a gradual decrease from the specified maximum; each of these occurs with and without reverberation to produce six forms in all.[15]


  • Karlheinz Stockhausen. Studie I, Studie II, Gesang der Jünglinge I. Ten-inch mono LP recording. Deutsche Grammophon DGG 16133. [Hamburg]: Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft, 1959. Also released as DG LPE 17 243 (UK 10 inch mono LP). LG 1055 (Japan 10 inch mono LP).
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen. Elektronische Musik 1952–1960 (Konkrete Etude, Studie I, Studie II, Gesang der Jünglinge, Kontakte—version for electronic sounds only). CD recording. Stockhausen Complete Edition CD 3. Kürten: Stockhausen-Verlag, 1991.



  • Decroupet, Pascal, and Elena Ungeheuer. 1994. "Karel Goeyvaerts und die serielle Tonbandmusik". Revue Belge de Musicologie 48:95–118.
  • Maconie, Robin. 2005. Other Planets: The Music of Karlheinz Stockhausen. Lanham, Maryland, Toronto, Oxford: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-5356-6.
  • Morawska-Büngeler, Marietta. 1988. Schwingende Elektronen: Eine Dokumentation über das Studio für Elektronische Musik des Westdeutschen Rundfunks in Köln 1951–1986. Cologne-Rodenkirchen: P. J. Tonger Musikverlag.
  • Stockhausen, Karlheinz. 1954a. "Komposition 1953 Nr. 2". Technische Hausmitteilingen des nordwestdeutschen Rundfunks 6, nos. 1–2. Reprinted in Stockhausen 1964, 23–36.
  • Stockhausen, Karlheinz. 1954b. "Une Expérience Électronique". In La musique et ses problèmes contemporains, 81–93. Cahiers de la compagnie Madeleine Renaud–Jean-Louis Barrault 2, no. 3. Paris: René Julliard. French translation of Stockhausen 1954a. Reprinted in La musique et ses problèmes contemporains 1953–1963, with an introduction by Simone Benmussa, 91–105. Two vols. in one. Cahiers de la Compagnie Madeleine Renaud–Jean Louis Barrault, no. 41. Paris: René Julliard, 1963. Reprinted Amsterdam: Swets & Zeitlinger, 1969.
  • Stockhausen, Karlheinz. 1964. Texte zur Musik 2, edited by Dieter Schnebel. DuMont Dokumente. Cologne: Verlag M. DuMont Schauberg.
  • Stockhausen, Karlheinz. 1992. "Studie I (1953): Electronic Music", translated from Stockhausen 1964 by Richard Toop. Text booklet for Stockhausen Complete Edition CD 3, pp. 101–121.

Further reading[edit]

  • Assis, Gustavo Oliveira Alfaix. 2011. Em busca do som: A música de Karlheinz Stockhausen nos anos 1950. São Paulo: Editora UNESP. ISBN 978-85-393-0207-9.
  • Blumröder, Christoph von. 1993. Die Grundlegung der Musik Karlheinz Stockhausens. Supplement to the Archiv für Musikwissenschaft 32, ed. Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.
  • Burow, Winfried. 1973. Stockhausens Studie II. Schriftenreihe zur Musikpädagogik 7. Frankfurt (am Main): Diesterweg.
  • Frisius, Rudolf. 1999. "Elektronische Musik—Elektronik pur?". Rudolf Frisius webpage (Accessed 22 June 2011).
  • Heikinheimo, Seppo. 1972. The Electronic Music of Karlheinz Stockhausen: Studies on the Esthetical and Formal Problems of Its First Phase, translated by Brad Absetz. Acta Musicologica Fennica 6 (ISSN 0587-2448). Helsinki Suomen Musiikkitieteelinen Seura / Musikvetenskapliga Sällskapet. (Originally a thesis, Helsinki University.)
  • Hilberg, Frank, and Harry Vogt (eds.). 2002. Musik der Zeit, 1951–2001: 50 Jahre Neue Musik im WDR: Essays, Erinnerungen, Dokumentation. Cologne: Wolke Verlag. ISBN 3-923997-98-1.
  • Kölner Gesellschaft für Neue Musik (ed.). 1991. Klangraum: 40 Jahre Neue Musik in Köln 1945–1985: Komponistenlexikon und Veranstaltungschronologie. Cologne: Wienand Verlag. ISBN 3-87909-261-3.
  • Silberhorn, Heinz. 1978. Die Reihentechnik in Stockhausens Studie II. Herrenberg : Musikverlag Döring. Reprinted, [Rohrdorf]: Rohrdorfer Musikverlag, 1980. ISBN 3-922438-10-5.
  • Stockhausen, Karlheinz. 1963. Texte zur Musik 1, edited by Dieter Schnebel. DuMont Dokumente. Cologne: Verlag M. DuMont Schauberg.
  • Stockhausen, Karlheinz. 1998. "Elektronische Musik seit 1952". In his Texte zur Musik 8 (1984–1991: Dienstag aus Licht; Elektronische Musik), edited by Christoph von Blumröder, 399–504. Kürten: Stockhausen-Verlag. ISBN 3-00002131-0.
  • Straebel, Volker. 2008. "Das Altern der Elektroakustischen Musik: Anmerkungen aus archivarischer Sicht", Forum Musikbibliothek: Beiträge und Informationen aus der musikbibliothekarischen Praxis 29, no. 4:327–334.
  • Tutschku, Hans. 1999. "L'application des paramètres compositionnels au traitement sonore". PhD diss. Paris: Université Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV): École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales.
  • Ungeheuer, Elena. 1992. Wie die elektronische Musik 'erfunden' wurde...: Quellenstudie zu Werner Meyer-Epplers Entwurf zwischen 1949 und 1953. Kölner Schriften zur Neuen Musik 2, edited by Johannes Fritsch and Dietrich Kämper. Includes CD recording. Mainz: B. Schott's Söhne. ISBN 3-7957-1891-0.