Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Interpretation and performance practice in realising Stockhausen’s Studie II

Williams, Sean, B K (2016) Interpretation and performance practice in realising Stockhausen’s Studie II. Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 141 (2). pp. 445-481. ISSN 1471-6933. E-ISSN 1471-6933. (doi:10.1080/02690403.2016.1216059) (KAR id:79865)


In the 1950s using electronic devices to make music seemed like a new paradigm for composers eager to remove the effects of interpretation between themselves and their audience. The promise was that compositional ideas could be directly made into sound, with the help of a technician whose task it was to carry out instructions. By making a new realisation of Stockhausen’s Studie II, composed in 1954, I interrogate many of the original techniques and practices, and show that there are many sites which require interpretation, and also performance practice. The implication of these discoveries is that there may be advantages to an analysis of early electronic music of the 1950s and 1960s from the perspective of instrumental music practice, and that where there are references to ‘technicians’, great care should be taken to understand and appreciate the range of musical skills often required by such individuals. This approach to realisation also raises serious questions about the ontology of electronic music.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/02690403.2016.1216059
Projects: Documenting the recent history of Electronic Music performance practice
Additional information: DOI for accompanying audio visual materials:
Uncontrolled keywords: Stockhausen, electronic music, HIP, performance practice
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
Funders: Leverhulme Trust (
Depositing User: Sean Williams
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2020 11:23 UTC
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2022 10:41 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.