Marcus Schmickler
Studio Piethopraxis

Glockenbuch IV (1000 / 2021 Aposteln)

Girls Voice
Saxophone Septet, 
Eight Channel Electroacoustic Music, 

23’ mins

Cologne St. Aposteln Sept 2021

Glockenbuch I presents a spectral deconstruction of the seven bells situated within St. Aposteln. Notably, the electronic sounds employed were exclusively generated from the bell spectra captured during my recordings conducted over the summer.

This composition operates on three distinct levels:
  • Firstly, it delves into the captivating historical and technical intricacies of bell casting, a subject aptly illustrated in Tarkovsky's cinematic opus, "Andrei Rublev.

  • Secondly, attention is drawn to the varied characteristics of the bells themselves. Ranging from over 500 years old to as recent as 2006, notable disparities in tuning exist despite meticulous calculations and simulations. Specifically, one bell deviates by 7/16 of a semitone (equivalent to a quarter tone too low), possessing a weight of 6.7 tons and a reverberation lasting over 4 minutes. This deviation from tempered tuning is particularly intriguing. Additionally, bells operate with residual tones, wherein vibrations manifest as resonances from the material's higher frequencies, a phenomenon heavily influenced by subjective psychoacoustic factors.

  • Thirdly, the piece explores the symbolic significance of bells, particularly as heraldic symbols, a theme echoed in Schiller's renowned "Lied von der Glocke." This poem reflects upon societal constructs, individual autonomy, and the pursuit of peace, resonating profoundly on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

The work also integrates elements of spectral music, a compositional approach championed by figures such as Karlheinz Stockhausen and Jean Claude Risset. Furthermore, it draws parallels between bell symbolism and historical events, including references to Stockhausen's reaction to 9/11.