The body as a sounding body

Music as the subject of its physical production
Radio broadcast by Uli Aumüller

The body is first and foremost an approximately perfect (mortal) machine made of water, oxygen, nitrogen and phosphorus. It has spirit, a belly, reproductive organs, a unity, has proportions and regularities, differences and is something like the measure of all human beauty. In some cultures there is only one term for the movement of the body, dancing, and music, singing, poetry. The Western tradition has differentiated this - yet the idea of the physical remains. A good string quartet merges, unites into a body of sound. This virtual, idealistic idea appealed to many composers of the 20th century to confront the real body, its physical presence and immediate nature. What does a brain sound like that thinks of nothing, what does an orgasm curve sound like, the heartbeat of the unborn, and isn't the roughness of the breath, the voice, the skin, the sweating just as much a part of the sound of music. All music requires a physical act for its production - and this can be the subject of music.


1 Luigi Ceccarelli
Text from the Holy Christian Lithurgy
for voices on 8-track tape
Performers: Cantores 98 under the direction of Giacomo Baroffio
Edison Studio (c/o
Time: 6.54

2 Jean Lhéritier
Nigra sum
The Tallis Scholars conducted by Peter Phillips
Gimell CDGIM 003 (LC ????)
Time 5.00

3rd Franz Schubert
String Quartet No. 14 in D minor "Death and the Maiden
Melos String Quartet
harmonia mundi France HMC 90140809 LC 7045
Time: 6.10

4th Franz Schubert
"Death and the Maiden" - Piano Song
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone - Gerald Moore
EMI CDM 7 69503 2 LC 0110
Time: 2.31

5. Franz Schubert
The Erlking - orch. Hector Berlioz
Charles Pnazéra, Baritone

EMI 7243 5 66155 2 6 LC 6646
Time 3.47

6. music of the Tuareg
Flute Tazammart
Le Chant du Monde LDX 274 974 LC 0609
Time 2.06

7. Michel Moglia
Thermal Chants
REMIX 1998 (own recordings from Herne)
Time: 4.59

8. Vinko Globokar
Dialogue on Air for accordion
Teodoro Anzellotti, accordion
Own recording from Panicale/Italy
Time: 5.20

9. Dieter Schnebel
Atemzüge for several vocal organs and reproducers
Carla Henius, Gisela Saur-Kontarsky, William Pearson, voices
WERGO WER 6287-2 LC 0846
Time: 7.18

10 David Rosenboom
On being invisible
Music Galery Editions 1977 Canada
Time: 2.46

11. stelarc
remote: amplified body & third hand
Studio Melbourne
Anckarström R/6 1991
Time: 4.26

Cast & Crew

Uli Aumüller (Text Sprecher)
Frank Hilberg
Frank Gertich (Mitarbeit)
Ulrich Ritter