ERHARD GROSSKOPF

Process Music

SPACE RATHER THAN THREADS - about musical time

    Since 1971, at first when he produced his electroacoustic music compositions at the Institute of Sonology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, later also in his music for instruments, Grosskopf developed process music: a music of changing constellations which is - opposite to traditional thinking in chords and events - characterized by a method that produces harmonic constellations in a multi-layered time process of superimposed loops. Since here sounds are not combined by functional dramaturgy but by the logic of the process, it needs a listening that wants and can follow the flow of the several layers and the outcoming multidimensional music.
    Time proportions and overtone series are elements of the process , the meeting points of which, and its harmonic constellations are not predictable by a formula, but the running of the process is result and formula at the same time. Chaotic states produced by addition of equal time proportions (loops), which change their value, whenever they reach a meeting point, and then provide swinging and swaying for the system; or sometimes also chance operations are good for surprising constellations of harmony.

    "On one hand I always was interested in time construction of my music, but without the idea of a course of events just in this mesured minute. For me it is more a relation of proportions, how single sounds and their changes behave to each other in time. A music, fascinating by sound, almost always has a kind of timelessnes: it makes me forget this time of seconds, it is rather a spatial feeling: one minute of music can built up the same space like a piece of five or ten minutes. From construction my work looks almost linear, because I line up time proportions, but since these time proportions superimpose each other in several layers, time spaces rather than threads arise. Something like a beat hardly is found in my music. Even though every composition has its measure, so also a 'correct' tempo - mostly, fortunately the one writen in the score.

    There are composers who, so to say, work on the time track: whatever events are put on it, important for them is only, how time is devided. To me such music always seems to exist mainly in one dimension, especially because the events, threaded on to a time string, usually follow a pretty old dramaturgy.

    I believe, that sounds, when they appear, receive their own meaning. They contain a kind of time energy which in connection with sound constellations of multi-layered processes transform musical time into a spatial dimension."
    [
    out of an interview: Helmut Rohm / Erhard Grosskopf - Bayerischer Rundfunk - 9 march 1995]