Harald Muenz

© Anja Fuchs

Recorded in London on May 28th  2010

Extract from deChiffrAGEfor a sight-reading speaker and chance-controlled live text transformation (1993- )

During the course of a performance of deChiffrAGE, a laptop computer transforms a pre-existing text according to a number of chance procedures: it inverts or shuffles the letters of words, increasingly adds single syllables from the original text until only they remain, then builds, out of this syllable soup, new conglomerates, until more and more “meaningful” words appear and start forming “sentences”. In the final phase of deChiffrAGE a short extract from the original text is “quoted”, beginning arbitrarily in the middle of a sentence; however, the individual words are separated by gaping silences, whereby comprehension of the finally established semantic context remains precarious. deChiffrAGE, my first composition using algorithms, exhibits a stubborn refusal to pretend the computer is a giant music box that can be used as an instrument in the traditional sense, or that it is able to generate “new” and “exciting” sounds. It is and remains a mere calculation apparatus. H.M.

Born 1965 in Schwäbisch Hall / Germany, Harald Muenz studied composition under Helmut Lachenmann (1994-97), Krzysztof Meyer (1988-93), Johannes Fritsch, and Clarence Barlow, as well as in the Electronic Studio of Hochschule für Musik Cologne (Hans-Ulrich Humpert), and Cologne University’s Phonetic Institute (Georg Heike).

Harald is active as lecturer and author, and is the editor of a book on Italian composer Franco Evangelisti (Saarbrücken: Pfau, 2002). He was the Artistic Director of the Electronic Studio at Musikhochschule Lübeck and from 2001-2005 he was the module leader for Aesthetic Phonetics at Cologne University.

In 2005, he joined the Centre for Contemporary Music Practice at Brunel University West London as a full-time permanent lecturer with the focus on composition. He is an interdisciplinary artist commuting between Cologne and London.


Recording Notes

The second of three wax cylinders recorded live in the open air and covering a whole duration of the piece. Harald had to compete with low-flying aircraft, lawnmowers, strimmers and leaf-blowers from the neighbouring gardens. Those noises however, are entirely absent in this wax cylinder recording.