Cecilia Arditto Delsoglio

extended techniques

Tissue (2019)

for orchestra
1st prize Rychenberg Competition, Winterthur, Switzerland
Based on the photo series “Wounds of violence” by Adél Koleszár.

The human skin has its sonic representation on the whole orchestra like a flexible and elastic body, represented by big percussion instruments: timpani, thunder sheet, bass drum, lion’s roar, and tam-tam Big surfaces of skin, wood, metal, string and paper are hit, rubbed, stroked, scratched, and touched with the fingers by the percussionists, echoed by the rest of the orchestra. It is a “concerto” for big surfaces, where the soloists are not only the percussionists but “the matter itself.” The orchestra doesn’t play “around” or “with” the players but “inside”: in an implosive gesture, the percussionists “swallow” the orchestra which is playing from the heart of their matter. The orchestral tissue expands and contracts in various levels: density (from solos to full divisi), rhythm, and tone division (going from small microtones to wide intervals). Ornaments and microtones in this piece are used mainly to create textures, crafting the sound from “inside out” and modeling micro-variations. As a cantus firmus, Tissue uses a traditional Mexican song, “La llorona (The weeping woman”) close to the spirit of Adél Koleszár’s geographical and emotional landscapes. Lyrics refer to romantic love, mainly as suffering and death, and women as an object to be deathly loved and consequently disposed of.

Video (version 1)
• Video  (version 2) final Rychenberg competition
• Video explanations (percussion extended techniques)
• Comments about the piece by C. Arditto

• Press

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Related works:

• Música invisible for flute (2003)
• Palabras / Words (2005)
• Life on Mars (2016)
• The dearest dream (2018)


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Distancia de rescate (2018)

for 8 low strings based on the homonymous novel by Samanta Schweblin
commissioned by Innovations in Concert, Montreal

Distancia de rescate is based on the homonymous award-winning novel (“Fever dream” in the English translation) by the Argentine writer Samanta Schweblin. My piece is inspired by the psychological atmosphere of the novel and its fascinating polyphonic structure, which inspired me to write a piece for a big ensemble.
In the novel, the characters are attached to each other by a “psychological string” which expands and stretches depending on emotional content, mostly related to fear. In my composition, the cellos are physically attached to each other by strings, one resonating on another. Extra pieces of strings tied to the instruments bridges and tailpieces connect literally each other occupying the stage.
Distancia de rescate is also a trip inside the deep heart of the string. Its sound world is based on the natural harmonic series, finding unexpected patterns in the upper harmonic series of the string. These bright and fragile sounds are like crystals found in the earthy residual tones of the strings.
• Video

Related works:

• Música invisible for cello (2008-2018)
• Calder´s circus (2000)
• #4. “Electricité” from Musique Concrète -project page

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Viaje de las frecuencias en el agua / Travel of frequencies on the water (2018)

for bass clarinet, piano and double bass
dedicated to Low Frequency Trio
winner of the Low Frequency Trio competition

Viaje de las frecuencias en el agua (Travel of frequencies on the water) was inspired by von Karman vortex street’s theory, which studies repeated patterns in fluids, as swirling spirals in smoke rings or winds surrounding a tropical cyclone.
In my piece, the fluid medium is the water, played in a literal way by using a straw and a siphon; the bass clarinet is also prepared with water inside its bell, which causes fascinating acoustical phenomena. In analogy with von Karman’s theory, which amalgams the vulnerability of fluids with the power of the force that molds them, my music combines the fragility of sound with the solid rhythmical structure of the music.
Viaje de las frecuencias en el agua is dedicated to my father, eternal lover of the utopias of Jules Verne and to trioLF3, my musical submarine.

• Audio
• Video

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Related works:
• La madre del río / the mother of the river (1997 – rev. 1999)
• Maps of the Water (2007)



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The air around (2012)

for 13 prepared electric fans

In my orchestration book, electric fans are classified in diverse instrumental families considering diverse features: they undoubtedly belong to the wind family; they are on top of that, noise generators; from a kinetic perspective they are members of the instruments “that spins around.” Multiple interpretations of the same allow a special interconnection between objects, spreading the chamber music experience into a unique personal listening.

“A choir of small ventilators, that like a mechanical garden, move their heads bringing sound and movement to the music.”

The more concrete, the more abstract

Rather than prescribing an ideal music of the future, Schaeffer’s didacticism
requires us to submit to a process in which sound is re-imagined or experienced anew, and new effects of listening are discovered and learned.

 Ian Stevenson, Schaeffer’s sound effects

The fan is attached to the sounds as much of the sound is attached to the fan. We cannot conceive the machine without the sound, or the sound without the machine: one refers to the other. But when the fan is on stage making music, the sound appears to lose its inherent connection to its source and becomes an independent phenomenon: we start hearing the fan as a music instrument. After this switch in our mind, we can focus on the sound itself: its overtones, pitch, colored noise, residual tones, and all kinds of glorious “side- effects”. Curious enough, the production of fresh air, the main purpose in any electric fan, becomes something completely irrelevant. When the fan goes musical, the sound can be undoubtedly routed with its source without losing its identity: it looks like a fan, it sounds like a fan, it is a fan!. Even the modifications applied to the sound by the use of “extended techniques” enhancing and preserve the nature of the sound as two sides of the same process.

“everyday listening, which identifies sound sources as objects or events; and musical listening, which focuses on the intrinsic properties or features of sounds.”

William Gaver, How do we hear in the world?

When a fan is performing in a concert hall, this new context brings new associations and displacements in our minds. We can concentrate more easily on the sounds because the device is on stage. Same as we focus on the textures, colors, size, and position of Duchamp’s porcelain urinal because it is shown in an art gallery. Context is substantial.

Matter matters
What is music? What is a sound object? This unanswered question triggers all kinds of different theories and works, inspiring not only the composition of new music but mainly changing our way of listening.

• Video (excerpts)
• Photo gallery

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Anthropology of trash (2020)

for alto flute and objects as found in the containers (ca 22’)
I.Textiles  II.Glass III. Plastic IV. Paper  V.Metal
dedicated to Alu Montorfano

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Anthropology of trash explores the sound quality of discarded objects. This title is inspired by Thing Theory, a branch of modern Anthropology that studies the dynamics between human subjects and inanimate artifacts.
Anthropology of trash rescues objects from the trash and makes music with them. Its orchestration replicates the compartments of the recycling containers: textiles, paper, glass, plastic and metal which form the different sections of this work. Each section finds unexpected angles when using these common things, that become refined musical artifacts when played together with the flute.
Our simple objects, thanks to the music, are empowered on stage, gaining an abstract and poetic condition. Furthermore, these simple means, which were at death’s door, are granted eternal life by being immortalized in a music score.


Anthropology of trash transforms simple materials into refined sounds. Rescued objects from the trash, which were at death’s door, are granted eternal life by being immortalized in a music score.

In Anthropology of trash, the flute is an extension of the human body, making sounds with the lips, tongue, fingernails and glottis; it also creates subtle modulation of timbre by exploring the vocal tract and the usage of specific phonemes through the body of the flute.
The quasi electronics of Anthropology of trash consist of iterated buzzing frequencies, internal turbulences from multiphonic sounds, and a broad range of colored noises, reminiscent of old analog synthesizers but in an “unplugged” way.
Minimal amplification emphasizes the subtle sonorities of this piece. It is not only a matter of volume as the music coming from the speakers reinforces the illusion that Anthropology of trash is electronic music.

In Anthropology of trash, the flute is an extension of the human body

The Attic
Anthropology of trash turned into The Attic when it was performed in Neue Musik in St. Ruprecht, Vienna, in October 2021 under the theme “The collection”. By replacing a couple of props such as bottle caps by a plastic pearl-necklace and napkins by old handwritten letters, a whole new scenario emerged. In The Attic, the idea of recycled materials is displaced by the remains of a woman found in an attic.
Interestingly, the sounds and performing actions remain the same in both versions. However the connotation of the employed objects brings a very different context to the piece. While the recycled junk found in the bins proposes ideas of activism and environmental commentary, the objects found in the attic, suggest a nostalgic, somehow decadent Stimmung.
This unexpected experience raises a fascinating new question of how visual and theatrical actions bring different meanings to the abstract nature of music. Returning to the Thing Theory, it is intriguing to observe how objects have their own spirit that transcend the realm of sound, adding new expressions and meaning to the music.
Anthropology of trash should be amplified.

Anthropology of trash stage design




– Minimal amplification for flute and percussion table (see diagram)
– Two music stands with lights
– Percussion table (or any table)
2 microphone stands without the mics (only the stands) for props


Related works:

• Anatomy of a jar (2020)
• Música invisible for flute (2003)
• Musique Concrète
• The dearest dream (2018)

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Maps of the Water (2007)

for solo percussion
dedicated to Arnold Marinissen

“The Cartographer prefers to measure the land with sound waves”.

The whole piece represents a map drawn with sounds. It comprehends different sections: water, metal, wood and skin, modulating from one texture to another in analogy to a traveler exploring different geographies.
Four bags full of water are constantly dropping from the beginning until the end of the piece, adding a rhythmical “water-envelope” and a strong visual component.

Related works:

• La madre del río / the mother of the river (1997 – rev. 1999)
• Viaje de las frecuencias en el agua / Travel of frequencies on the water (2018)


Maps of the Water (2007) Read More »

La madre del río / the mother of the river (1997 – rev. 1999)

for four/five percussionists 
dedicated to Carmelo Saitta
1st Prize Concurso de composición CEAMC 1997   

The organization of sounds in La madre del río is based on the ideas of Carmelo Saitta, an Argentinian composer and percussionist. Saitta considers the percussion set as an orchestra itself, organizing instruments and props into different families. La madre del río is an anti-percussive piece that primarily uses long sustained sounds with soft attacks. A set of wine glasses emulates the sounds of a live synthesizer, playing in counterpoint with a glissing vibraphone. Other percussion instruments are distorted and modified through the literal use of water, creating quasi-electronic sounds with acoustic means.
The piece is based on a popular Argentine story called The Mother of the River, with the aim of emulating, through the music, the beautiful reflections of this mythological character in the water, as well as capturing the tension caused by her powers.

“Nobody has ever seen the Majuy Mama. There were those who saw the reflection of her hair as she sank in the Argentinean northern rivers. Some say she is a river mermaid. Others speak about a hen that sinks with its chicks or a black horse in the mountain rivers whose long tail can be seen. When she is a mermaid, she bathes in the rivers and wraps with her hair the fish that she loves the most. If a man sees her, he absorbs all of a sudden her complete happiness. The Majuy Mama, in excruciating pain, raises waves with her tail, and bumping herself against the stones, disappears in the deep waters. The happiness of some is the sadness of others.”

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Performance history

21/7/2004 Perceum, Ensamble de Percusión de Montevideo: Jorge Camiruaga, Ricardo Gómez, marcelo Zanolli y Sebastián Pereira. Núcleo Música Nueva de Montevideo Sala Zitarrosa, Montevideo, Uruguay
9/4/2002 Essential Elements, percussion: Charles Wood, John Kennedy, Eric Kivnick and Maya Gungi MATA Music at the Anthology Festival Angel Orensanz Foundation Center for the Arts NYC
21/10/2000 Sin Cataforesis: Sofia Escardó, Daríó Ĺ ipovich, Miguel Magud, Daniel Judcovsky, Daniel Serale Museo Isaac Fernández Blanco, Buenos Aires Argentina.
13/11/1999 UB Percussion Ensemble; Anthony Miranda, conductor Slee Concert Hall Sate University of New York at Buffalo
1998-1999 La madre del río (for four percussionists) grupo de percusiones Tambuco Forum Internacional de Música Contemporánea de Mexico (editions 1998, 1999)
1997 First Prize CEAMC & British Art Centre Composition Competition, Buenos Aires Argentina


Related works:

• Maps of the Water (2007)
• Viaje de las frecuencias en el agua / Travel of frequencies on the water (2018)


La madre del río / the mother of the river (1997 – rev. 1999) Read More »

Cuarteto (1996)

Cuarteto is inspired by the Sederunt Principes by Perotin, a four-voice chant setting (organum quadruplum) composed in the XIII century. Sederunt Principes is presumably the first polyphonic composition for four voices, where colorful textures and ingenious motivic games come together at the end of every phrase. This phrasing in arcs was a conventional technique in the late medieval polyphony, rooted in the Gregorian chant, reminding the pillars of Gothic cathedrals.
Cuarteto utilizes vocal techniques from the XX avant-garde inspired on the exuberance of this pioneering masterpiece from the Middle Ages. It also addresses its arc form. Both pieces, Cuarteto and the Sederunt Principes, even with a completely different outcome, share similar composition technics and a close spirit.

• Audio 

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Related works:

• Las ciudades y los signos (SATB)
• Anatomy of a jar (2020)

Cuarteto (1996) Read More »