Studio for Electronic Composition Hermann Heiß (1957-1966)

View of the reconstruction of the studio of Herman Heiß

Music pioneer Hermann Heiß (1897-1966) began composing electroacoustic music in 1952 at the WDR Studio for Electronic Music in Cologne, in which Herbert Eimert and Karlheinz Stockhausen, among others, worked. Before that he had been increasingly occupied with twelve-tone music. Hermann Heiß's twelve-tone compositions, improvisational studies and sound movement theory, his pioneering work in the field of electroacoustic music and, above all, his teaching and lecturing activities, including the famous "Darmstadt Summer Courses", provided impulses for musicians and composers from all over the world.

From 1955 he headed the 'Studio für elektronische Komposition' at the Kranichsteiner Musikinstitut in Darmstadt until he established the 'Studio für elektronische Komposition Hermann Heiß' in the adjoining building of the Städtische Akademie für Tonkunst in 1957. It was one of the first private electronic studios in Germany.

The studio includes rare early electronic music devices such as a noise generator and a sinusoidal (measuring) generator, two large albis filters and even one of the first tape recorders, which allowed the mixing of different tracks made in succession, a technique developed by Heiß especially for electronic composition practices. The ring modulator, the Hall spiral and two loudspeakers were built by Heiß himself. An oscilloscope with an extension was used for experiments on combining image and sound.

Hermann Heiß's studio was then taken over by the Berlin composer Dr. med. Hans-Heinrich Wiese after his death. It has been located at the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe since 1994.

Heiß left behind a number of tapes, writings, manuscripts, programs and scores. This estate is almost entirely in the Darmstadt University and State Library (ULB), with individual titles in the Darmstadt International Music Institute (IMD) and the WDR. The tapes were digitized in 1996 at the ZKM for the International Digital Electroacoustic Music Archive (IDEAMA). They can be accessed by visitors in the Medialounge.

More information about Studio Hermann Heiß

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