Projekt 1 — Version 3 Gottfried Michael Koenig

The piece was composed in 1967 using Koenig’s computer program Project 1, which was born in 1964 to test the compositional rules of serial music. The program soon departed from serial principles with rows being replaced by “stockpiles,” and permutations by random decisions. The program’s compositional model is based upon the “IR principle” — a seven-point quantization of a regularity/irregularity (non-repeatability) continuum.

Project 1 allows application of the RI principle to five parameters: instrument, entry delay (metric duration), pitch, octave register and dynamics.

Notes from the composer:

The seven structures of the piece are composed according to the following table (showing the ordering principles for the parameters

Structure Instrument Rhythm Pitch Register Dynamics
1 1 3 3 5 4
2 7 5 4 1 1
3 2 1 2 7 2
4 6 4 6 4 7
5 5 7 1 3 5
6 3 2 5 2 6
7 4 6 7 6 3

(1, 2, 3 = diminishing irregularity, 5, 6, 7 = growing regularity, 4 = balanced regularity/irregularity)

The ensemble consists of 4 groups: wind (fl, cl, hrn), 2 pianos, percussion (xyl, vib), strings (vl, vc); the scoring is shown in the following table:

Structure 1: wind, pianos
Structure 2: pianos, strings
Structure 3: percussion, strings
Structure 4: pianos, percussion
Structure 5: wind, pianos, percussion, strings
Structure 6: wind, strings
Structure 7: wind, percussion

Almost all structures contain note groups for which only a time window is given inside which the notes can be arranged freely; see the score (published by Peters, London). I should also mention that — during the elaboration of the output tables — I tried to stick to them as closely as possible. It was time when I wanted to examine the program’s power, not the power of my imagination when looking at those tables.

About the recording:

The performance took place in 1969 in Vienna, Kurt Schwertsik conducting the ensemble ’Die Reihe’.

It may be of interest that — according to ideas of variable performance — the musicians are frequently free with respect to the rhythmic articulation of single notes or note groups. They are then given only a time frame and inside it a group of note heads which may begin anywhere inside the frame but must be finished before the end; the rhythm is free. The amount of free passages with respect to fixed notation changes from one part to the next. There are seven parts which follow one another uninterrupted (they are not even indicated in the score).

  • Year of composition: 1967
  • Genre: Electroacoustics
  • Format: Fixed media
  • Hardware used: Computer for the composition
  • Software used: Koenig’s ’Project 1’ program
  • Duration of the submitted work: 17:06
  • Production: home

Linked project

Also part of 60x60.