Cecilia Arditto Delsoglio

Post Term: space design

El libro de los gestos / The book of gestures  (2007 revised 2008)

for violin, cello, piano, percussion and lamps
commissioned by Ensemble Musas, Santa Fe

There are four people in a room making music. Each one has a lamp. They play their musical instruments, and they also play the lights, on and off, creating with this action different atmospheres. The staging of the piece is constantly changing, in real-time, by means of the lights.
The book of gestures proposes a counterpoint of different layers: the rhythm of the music, the rhythm of the lights, the rhythm of the room
There are spaces to be seen, spaces to be heard, spaces to be imagined. Some of the music is played in the dark, in a room full of presences.

• Video
• Notes for performance (English)

• Analysis (Español)

Post Blog “El libro de los gestos” (Español)
Post Blog “Variaciones sobre la cámara Gessell” (Español)
Post Blog “Tip#1” (Español)
Post Blog “Musas” (Español)
Post Blog “La música y las notas” (Español)

Related works:

• Gestalt (2014)
• Esta tarde leo a Adorno/This afternoon I read Adorno (2013)
• Time machine (2011)
• Gespleten piano (2010)
• Split piano (2011)
• La arquitectura del aire / The architecture of air (2009)

Spiegeltjes (little mirrors) (2016)

5 pieces for clarinet, tape and objects
The tape can be replaced by a second clarinet OR by any other melodic instrument: transpositions can be applied.
The different pieces of this project can be played as a cycle or individually.

This cycle of pieces (five in total) is inspired by the renaissance Flemish composers and their use of mirror techniques. Most of them are written for a solo instrument in dialogue with a tape/vinyl pre-recorded by the same instrument. Duo versions replacing the recording for a second player, are very welcome.

The music score is not published yet. Please send me an email if you are interested in this work.

# 1. Spiegeltjes / little mirrors: is symmetrically split into two equal parts with a vertical line, organizing the musical material with retrogrades and inversion techniques. On a smaller scale, the clarinet plays in counterpoint with itself conforming little mirrors which are expressed in groups of notes with stems up and down.

# 2. Snel / fast: the recorded clarinet is partially duplicated by the live clarinet creating a new melody (a mirror with holes). Mirrors are not only present in the music but they also reflect the acoustical space. This intriguing “quasi unison” shapes the harmony of the piece. It is advisable to explore the acoustics of the hall finding the most appropriate location for both performers, which will be different in every venue.

#3. Zand / sand: the pre-recorded clarinet plays in counterpoint with the live one in canon. The multiphonic chords are shaped by this written delay creating interesting harmonies.

#4. Tekening / drawing: (two players), the flutists and a drawer who draws in the mirror in synch with the clarinet.

#5. Terug / backward: an evergoing melody is played back and forth, written in classical retrograde style.

The inclusion of real mirrors on stage creates not only visual duplications but a blind spot behind. The two performers have a different setup for each piece of the program playing with the mirror but also taking different locations on the space. Simple movements create very different scenarios and emphasize the acoustics of the hall in a “hide and seek” but “always listening” game.

Spiegeltjes stage design – practical and flexible

Las trampas del tiempo / traps of time (2011)

for early music ensemble and voices
based on texts by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
commissioned by Borealis Festival, Norway

The true picture of the past whizzes by. Only as a picture, which flashes its final farewell in the moment of its recognizability, is the past to be held fast.

Walter Benjamin “On the concept of history”

I like to think about the mechanism of time as a switch with a bad contact that turns randomly the light on and off. We are in an intermittent room where the chairs, the stage, the instruments appear and disappear in flashes of sense; the full picture of the continuous space is only in our minds; the real space is in fact fragmented, full of emptiness. The present is even more ungraspable than the past.

Time is a bunch of threads all tied up together with our precarious mind mechanisms, wrapping the emptiness around with more hope than certainties. Most of the time, time is about jumps or just a continuous waiting we attempt to fill with notes. But when more notes, more emptiness.

As in a science fiction movie, the music I am imagining is related to the idea of teleportation where remote music from the XVII century travels through time to nowadays, but for some inner mechanism of the travel process, the essence has been altered.

The new space of reproduction is also different from that original one, so the old music lands in a fragmented present. In this distorted present, full of inhabited spaces, a record player inside the harpsichord talks like a guitar; some instruments are activated from the distance and old cassette tapes are reflecting the other music like acoustical mirrors, express not only the shade of early voices but also the alteration of time itself.

The new landing experience from the XVII music failed and music is hence spread on a present that is also fragmented, full of holes. But the travel was not about the historical reproduction of a past forever gone. It was mainly about showing the backstage of our present, which is so discontinuous, distorted and fragmented as the past we recall. Maybe this music is not about a specific time location, even not about a dialogue, but about the mysterious nature of time itself.


Related post/s in my blog:
“Las trampas del tiempo” (English)





I love you (2016)

for flute, guitar, tape, slides and objects
for Luis Orias Diz and Alu Montorfano

I found a collection of slides in a flea market in Holland. The slides reflect a house being remodeled. No holidays, no people, no landscapes. Electric installations, wallpaper being ripped, traps and a gas meter.
In the ’60s, people were really careful about taking pictures, different from the click and through away of the digital pictures.
The story behind is unknown. Just I’ve got images of an empty house in remodeling.  The slides show a garden, a window, gas and electricity meters, a ladder, the bedroom.
In these scenarios, a man and a woman play music. They make music in counterpoint with the electricity sounds, they sing together with the gas pipes and play pianissimos in synchronization with the wallpaper that slowly, maybe for decades, is falling down.

• Audio files

Related post/s in my blog
“I love you too” (Español)
“La vida de los otros” (Español)

Gestalt (2014)

for piano and percussion
dedicated to duo Cuenco de plata – Juanita Fernández y Malena Levín

Gestalt shows diverse forms of communication between two performers and how each way of relating generates different music structures (Gestalt). In between music, sound, and space design, Gestalt is music in the form of a treatise to be perceived in-between categories.

The piece is based on 10 sections in the form of scenes. Each scene speaks about different ways of relationships between performers, their link with objects, musical instruments and the design of the stage, which is changing over time.

  1. Proximity: Close objects conform a group
  2. Continuation: Moving objects conform a line
  3. Focal point – Point of interest captures attention
  4. Good continuation. Grouping parts into a unique whole
  5. Common region- Events are related when in the same area
  6. Figure and ground
  7. Similarity – Similar features link events
  8. Symmetry – Looking for balance in composition
  9. Common fate
  10. Past experiences

• Video

Related post/s in my blog
 “Si están cerca… Montevideo” (Español)
“Again” (Español)
“Trayectorias” (Español)

Download score PDF

Send download link to:

Related works:

• The magic (2005)
• Esta tarde leo a Adorno / This afternoon I read Adorno (2013)

• Time machine (2011)
• Gespleten piano
• Split piano (2011)

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

Download score PDF

Send download link to:

La arquitectura del aire / The architecture of air (2009)

for organ and two percussionists
comissioned by Orgelpark, Amsterdam

In the beginning, I thought that the piece was about air and the space between things, space conformed by the emptiness that is shaping the contour of things from the outside…
Perhaps because the two percussionists and the organ conform a triangle spread on the hall; or because the organ has a motor and pipes and the vibraphone has a motor and pipes; but also because the musicians play ventilators, a melodica and old radios and they manipulate air in different states and frequencies; or because the performers communicate with each other with strings tied to tins, in the manner of low-tech telephones -when I was a child I used to build this kind of telephones with my sisters…
Therefore I realized the music was about “in-betweens”. It is music made of air and threads -basically made of nothing- where the musicians tie sounds with strings and send each other signals with the instruments, the motors, and the voice. Something solid made of air…
This is the way I feel, very strong and very fragile altogether, the stronger, the more fragile.

• Audio


Related post/s in my blog
 “Arquitectura que canta” (Español)
“Los músicos de La arquitectura del aire” (Español/English)
“La arquitectura del aire and the program notes” (English)
 “Estreno de La arquitectura del aire, para órgano y dos percusionistas (Español)
“Los asistentes” (Español)
“Pan comido” (Español)
“Listen to me” (Español)
“La vida pende de un hilo” (Español)
“La función hace al órgano” (Español)
“La vista flaca” (Español)

Related works:

• Gestalt (2014)
• Esta tarde leo a Adorno/This afternoon I read Adorno (2013)
• Time machine (2011)
• El libro de los gestos / Book of gestures (2008)
• Split piano (2011)
• Gespleten piano (2010)

Time machine (2011) – program notes

for violin, trombone, piano, radio, cassette player and a rocking chair
commissioned by NFPK, Holland

There are three people sitting in a room; they are just staying but also remembering the past and dreaming about the future all at the same time. It is always difficult to say what now and here means because our hearts gets always confused about organizing emotions on a timeline.
Koen rewinds, anticipates and plays the cassette player as a metaphor of past (and future?) memories. Bas plays a radio that catches the air in an ever-flowing present. Nora moves back and forth from the piano in a rocking chair, looped in her own clock.
Music is a powerful time machine, traveling through chronologically organized sounds, but mainly through the mixed archeology of our emotions.


Part of the composition process of “Time machine ” was shared in my blog
• Blog Post “La máquina del tiempo” (Español)
• Blog Post “La máquina del tiempo 2” (Español)
• Blog Post “La espuma de los días” (Español)
• Blog Post “Trio 7090” (Español/English)
• Blog Post “Gespleten piano o el piano escindido” (Español)
• Blog Post “La música del teatro” (Español)


Related works:

• Gestalt (2014)
• Esta tarde leo a Adorno/This afternoon I read Adorno (2013)
• El libro de los gestos / Book of gestures (2008)
• Split piano (2011)
• Gespleten piano (2010)
• La arquitectura del aire / The architecture of air (2009)