Karlheinz Essl

Portrait KHE

Sequitur IX

for mezzo soprano and live-electronics

Dedicated to Margarete Jungen

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Sequitur is a series of compositions for various solo instruments and live-electronics which I started in 2008. Somehow it can be seen as a reference to Berio’s famous “Sequenze” cycle of solo pieces which focus on specific playing techniques of the respective instrument. Up to now I have finished more than a dozen pieces including orchestral instruments like flute and violin, but also for voice and more exotic ones such as electric guitar, toy piano and kalimba.

All Sequitur composition use a software written in MaxMSP which creates an electronic accompaniment from the instrument’s live input; the player is confronted with his own playing, and this creates a situation like moving in a house of mirrors where the identities becomes blurred. Each piece can be performed by the player alone who just has to press a key on the computer keyboard whenever this is indicated in the score. The software generates a complex canon on the fly, the temporal structure and density of which being controlled by random operations. This yields different results every time the piece is performed. Although following a precisely notated score, there is always a good portion of surprise for the musician which emphasizes his awareness and attentiveness.

In Sequitur IX for mezzo soprano and live-electronics, I was scrutinizing non-western chants and vocal techniques. When I was composing this piece, I experimented with my own voice and tried out everything before writing it down. Here, I was utilizing techniques of overtone singing, combined with plainchant singing and belcanto. As if eastern and western religious ceremonies were melting together into something beyond…


Seit 2008 arbeitet Karlheinz Essl an dem mehrteiligen Zyklus Sequitur für unterschiedlichste Soloinstrumente (bzw. Stimme) und Live-Elektronik, der an die berühmten Sequenze von Luciano Berio anknüpft. Hatte dieser einst prototypische Solostücke geschaffen, in denen die jeweiligen Instrumente mit all ihren klanglichen Finessen virtuos in Szene gesetzt werden, so geht es Essl um die Erweiterung dieses Ansatzes unter Einbeziehung der Live-Elektronik: Ein penibel auskomponierter und live gespielter Solopart wird via Mikrophon in ein eigens dafür geschaffenes Computerprogramm eingespeist, das daraus in Echtzeit einen elektronischen Kontrapunkt generiert. Diese “Begleitung” wird ausschließlich vom Input des Soloinstruments (bzw. der Stimme) bestimmt, das mit sich selbst in vielfache Beziehung tritt. Wie in einem Spiegelkabinett lösen sich die ursprünglichen Identitäten auf und erzeugen ein komplexes Beziehungsgefüge, das einen tranceartigen Sog ausübt.

Sequitur IX wurde für die Sängerin Margarete Jungen geschrieben und am 5. September 2008 im Rahmen des Workshops Singing Summer - expanded voices in Mainz uraufgeführt.


The score of Sequitur IX can be downloaded for free. Please note that the music is protected by copyright.


Karlheinz Essl: Sequitur IX (2008)
for mezzo soprano and live-electronics

Recorded by Margarete Jungen (voice) and Karlheinz Essl (live-electronics)
Klosterneuburg, Studio kHz (14 Apr 2010)


Margarete Jungen & Karlheinz Essl performing Sequitur IX
University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Library
Vienna, 20 Oct 2009

Julia Mihály performing Sequitur IX
Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover
Hannover, 22 Feb 2012

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Updated: 7 Aug 2015