Cecilia Arditto Delsoglio

The art of combining things

para Gabriel Abellán

Today, I began my day by reading a post on Gabriel Abellán´s blog (in Spanish), a blog devoted to physics and music under both a very smart and poetic perspective. In his latest post, Gabriel shares with us, how a logic class, taught by an inspiring teacher, changed him forever. Emphatically,  I remembered my father teaching me math when I was in kindergarten.


Science and science-fiction
From my last visit to Argentina (I live in Amsterdam) I brought a suitcase full of books: 23 kgs of precious books. I “stole” from the family bookshelf the science-fiction collection that belonged to my father. I also brought a very inexpensive (but super heavy!) collection of science books that I bought in calle Corrientes, a street in Buenos Aires, very well known for its amazing bookshops.

The two piles of books talk to each other, being the “real” science pile the crazier one (verdad Gabriel?).

I am sure that the pioneers of relativity theory with their wild imagination deeply pleased Asimov and Bradbury. Wells traveling on time, and Philip Dick, with his multiple worlds, both of them speak the same language than the realities glimpsed by quantum physics scientists.  In the corner of the music, Stockhausen comes to my mind too… maybe it is true that he comes from Sirius.
People from these two piles of books have in common that they could see a world beyond the everyday facts. They saw it, they believed in it, and they went for it. Each pile requires a different tool: some of them build new realities with the calculator, others with the typewriter. Just nuances.

It is easy to associate the capacity of dreaming about new realities with artists, something that scientists also do. They have to.
It is easy to associate the idea of science changing the world (I think about the discovery of electricity or the atom partition) but is something that artists also do. The world of art and the development of the human race have been spinning out together since the beginning of our times, feeding each other, making each other.

The architecture of cloth.
I also brought from Argentina in that same suitcase a pile of sewing patterns that belonged to my mum, and previously to my grandmother: a collection of Burda magazines. My grandma, Beba, taught me to sew when I was really very little. From a very early age, I could make clothes for my puppets, and for myself, following the instructions of these patterns. La abuelita Beba let me use her sewing machine, brand Singer, actuated with a pedal, that, in those times, was just at the tips of my small feet. I didn’t care less about the dolls; I was more interested in the confection of these intricated mini designs with sleeves, zippers and pliers. Believe me, still not easy. I was also, amazed by the mechanism of the sewing machine. I still am.

Now I am writing scores, with instructions, sometimes in several languages, like in Burda magazine!

Varese said that music is organized sound.
I say that music is the art to combine… a lot of things.


 Gespleten piano (2010)- stage design



My recent piece Boxes belongs to a collection of pieces under the name  “Acoustics of everyday” focused on explicit issues related to classical acoustic: resonance boxes, strings, mutes, filters, microtonality, and other subjects to come.
I had a wonderful adventure with ensemble Modelo62, which included 3 concerts + a recording session, plus shared rehearsal time. In all those instances I could deepen my questions about this new chapter in my music.

Boxes is mainly focused on the subject of space. Different resonance boxes are in dialogue between themselves, but also, in dialogue with the big box around that is the room itself.

In a series of concentric layers, my first concern about space starts with the same architecture of the piece.

1. Composing different spaces within the piece by grouping instruments by color and/or behavior (orchestration).
2. Establishing the role of the instruments (solo, tutti, ensemble)
3. Composing their interaction in a combo music/space (soloist, duplications, hoquetus, etc)
4. Boxes ask what is sounding, when, and where at the same time.
5. Choosing the musical materials both in terms of time and space: repeated notes freeze the time, while ever looping scales move the time in circles; repeated notes made by one instrument “freeze the space” while the hoquetus form opens it.
6. Proposing the question of what sounds inside or outside.
7. Handles and metal appliances of the boxes were reacting to some frequencies of the guitar amps located inside. Finally, the boxes were singing on stage beyond being only resonance containers!


The music as a holistic unity brings together different purposes, perspectives, and a multiplicity of diverse energies into one and only one perceptual experience, into one logic.

Space is experienced as an unconscious unity rather than as a collection of recognizably separable processes.
Spaces speak, are you listening?
B. Blesser and L.R. Salter

Post-concert questions.

  • How concrete is the space of the piece in terms of composition? And how is the dialogue with the architectonic space of the concert hall?
  • How aware are the listeners of space? Is it possible to design a space that is moving instead of sound events traveling in it? Therefore: how to differentiate the movement of the events rather than the movement of the space itself?
  • How much should be seen? The visual aspect of a concert is always very influential. In previous works, I used the visual aspects of a concert as part of the music (music to see). But in Boxes, on the other hand, I was longing for a concert hall in the shadows.

To be continued.


The cheese grater’s five seconds of fame

A cheese grater is being played with a toothbrush. After a while, we completely forget the cheese grater and we can focus only on the sound. The continuous fricative noise is colored by mini sparks of high frequencies, short and loud.

That sound progressively becomes a ghost, a bunch of confused energy not attached to a specific physical body. The sonic outcome is different from the sounds produced by the object when in the kitchen. The grater-thing, as a lost map, with its metallic perimeter,  embrace new sounds floating in the sea of abstraction.

Deep listening is in conflict with what the eyes and/or the ears have to offer: is it really a cheese grater or a camouflaged synthesizer? It is known that synthesizers can efficiently produce a broad variety of sounds, they may also change the way they look,

“not what it sounds, the car, the instrument, the voice, but what sounds as sonic materiality and sense

I like the conflict that the grater brings on stage when not performing “spaguetti” but the most beautiful sounds ever.


La râpe à fromage doit être frottée avec un baguette de Triangle/
The cheese grater should be rubbed with a Triangle mallet
M. Ravel , L’Enfant et les Sortiléges


Musique concrète (2015)

Musique concrète makes music with second-hand objects, mostly bought in the markets or rescued from the trash. Two performers manipulate sound objects and slide-projectors in different spots of a dark room, producing performative installations in dialogue with the architecture of the space. Music, sound, and space design are organized in a score creating complete audiovisual scenes with simple means.

link to Musique concrète – project page


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

Download score PDF

Send download link to:

Related works:

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


Mapa / map (2011)

conceptual score based on a landscape
comisisoned by Rümlingen Festival, Switzerland

vier Landschaften – vier Jahreszeiten – vier Wege

Die Klangspuren in unseren Köpfen – auch 20 Jahre Festival Rümlingen haben ihnen einige hinzugefügt. Jetzt sollen sie aktiviert werden, unsere inneren Lieder, und zwar an den schönsten Orten der Rümlinger Umgebung, an Orten zudem, die vom «Mythos Rümlingen», von Momenten der Festivalgeschichte, durchweht sind.

Insgesamt 16 Komponisten und 4 Schriftsteller haben im Auftrag des Festivals, ausgehend von je einer Landschaft und Jahreszeit, Ideen zum inneren Hören entwickelt. Daraus entsteht ein großes Hör-Wander-Buch, mit dem sich der Besucher doppelt auf die Reise machen kann: Am ausgewählten Ort angekommen, entsteht die Komposition im Kopf.

Ganz unterschiedliche Künstler haben sich von Lichtungen, Plätzen und Ausblicken anregen lassen, Musik zu erfinden, die der Betrachter vor Ort selbst (nach-)erfinden kann: gewiefte Konzipierer wie Alvin Curran und Peter Ablinger, erfahrene Instrumentalkomponisten wie Ernstalbrecht Stiebler und Vertreter der jungen und ganz jungen Generation wie Patrick Frank, Genöel von Lilienstern und Yoav Pasovsky, Experimentatoren wie Dieter Schnebel, Installationserfahrene wie Jürg Frey, Skandinavier wie Malin Bång, Ortsnahe wie Peter Streiff oder Urs Peter Schneider und Weitgereiste wie Cecilia Arditto aus Argentinien.

Dazu gibt je ein Schriftsteller – Jürg Läderach, Klaus Merz, Urs Richle, Peter Weber – den Orten eine eigenwillige literarische Beschreibung.

Zum Auftakt dieser Reisen nach aussen und innen erwandern wir am 25.September 2011 die Ziele gemeinsam. Passend zum Datum führen die «Herbst»-Komponisten Tom Johnson, Manos Tsangaris, Cathy van Eck und Hans Wüthrich von Rümlingen aus vier Gruppen zu den unterschiedlich weit entfernten Orten der imaginären Klänge – später finden alle Festivalbesucher sternförmig zu einem Imbiss in der Natur wieder zusammen.

• Buy book (German)

Related post/s in my blog
“Rümlingen” (Spanish)

“Rümlingen Festival – Mapa: music score” (Image)
“Rümlingen: before and after” (English)
“Postcards from Rümlingen: sketches” (Images)

Esta tarde leo a Adorno/This afternoon I read Adorno (2013)

based on a poem by  Bárbara Belloc for bass clarinet, viola, percussion + record player, ventilator and spinning chairs commissioned by KNM Berlin  


1. Now     Esta tarde leo a Adorno – by Cecilia Arditto based on a poem by Barbara Belloc   Mini music theater piece in 6 scenes for bass clarinet, viola, percussion, pickup player and a electric fan

Scene #1 “After a while, it is difficult to recall what that really was. I remember the tapping though”


Scene #1 “After a while, it is difficult to recall what that really was. I remember the tapping though” Scene #2 “The past is printed on a vinyl that is getting more and more wasted every second” Scene #3 “Memory has holes, and also the present, no matter we experience it as a continuum” Scene #4 “Bass clarinet playing with a past version of itself” Scene #5 “Present and past move at different speeds” Scene #6“…Anyhow, I remember the spring”

2. Before  

At café “Lidos”, in Buenos Aires, the Argentine poet Barbara Belloc orally recalls her poem “Esta tarde leo a Adorno”. She remembers and forgets different parts of it, quoting it and reinvent it at the same time, and then she talks about Adorno, Brahms, vinyls and typewriting machines.

It is summer in Buenos Aires and the coffee is great.  

Back in Holland, I start exploring Barbara’s palace of memories to write my own piece. Even in spring, the weather is really cold.  

I decide to stamp the music on vinyl: the soundtrack of my childhood, like Barbara’s, comes in a vinyl envelope. Vinyls are similar to memories: they get more wasted every time we play them. My music is about distortion when time passes. Memory has holes, and also the present, no matter what we experience it as a continuum.

Was it my memories or hers?   It is difficult to know what something really was in the past. Like in the language of dreams, things appear blurry and mixed. I remember some typing… was it a vibraphone or a gigantic typewriting machine? I recall the spinning air… was it a pickup player or a ventilator? In my theater, three musicians are listening to a record player, and everything turns around together with the vinyl: memories, sounds and the air surrounding, like a drunken boat on the sea of music.      

In the palace of our memories, all rooms are related in new ways. The same doors are connected to our present through impossible corridors from the past.

We are moving from time to time in a different version of ourselves: in my piece, the clarinetist plays a duo with himself in the past and the percussion player recalls Barbara’s poem in a different language. Memories are blurry and vivid in the same proportion; this seems to be their quality.

 3. Even before

Barbara’s poem 

La casa en llamas Lo poco o mucho que hubo: corazón de ceniza

 Esta tarde leo a Adorno como si leyera las cartas póstumas de mi padre, si mi padre hubiera sido visionario, célebre y furioso. Lo leo como un secreto familiar se lee en voz alta o se rompe un pacto de palabra. Miro a los costados: la cantidad de papel impreso que tiro a la basura me revuelve el estómago. Pienso: debería ser inversamente proporcional a lo que escribo, ‘o no ser nada’. Leo a Adorno. Y mientras tanto repito: Adorno, Adorno, Adorno… como un ronroneo. Lo leo espantada, tan espantada que a cada rato dejo el libro y ando por la casa vagando, espantando a las arañas con un plumero. Y vuelvo. A encontrar un mensaje que creo dirigido a mí y, más allá del asombro, bien interpretar por: una cuestión de consanguinidad. (¿?) Léase: leo a Adorno como si recordara (como recuerdo) los acordes de la Tercera Sinfonía de Brahms, que mi padre me asegura que le pedía una y otra vez en la infancia, con Bartok, Górecki y Saint-Saëns, y no las brumas de sinusoidales y los engranajes rotos que día y noche sí mecían la casa como un barco ebrio en el mar de la musique concrète. Adorno, ¡vaya decorado! ¿Me vas a decir que acaso no sabías que la música hace estragos? ¿Que la música que se escucha en el vientre de la madre no hace mella en el feto que no es sino todo oídos, huevo-sin-cáscara? Importa poco. Esta tarde leo a Adorno como un biólogo lee un programa de forestación artificial en el ojo de un claro de una selva en peligro, en el tercer mundo, en este mundo, cuando la flecha del tiempo clava el cartel en la corteza del árbol: SE ACABÓ. O como un huérfano cae a pique sobre las fotos de sus muertos en busca de aquello que lo desate de su pena. O como un minero japonés que apila una piedra, y otra, y otra más. Algunos hablan de la guerra, otros de quién será el soberano. La sombra vengadora está en la sombra y se despereza. Ahí viene. Adorno, Adorno, Adorno, Adorno: tu nombre es fósforo Fragata prendido al borde de un terrenito de provincia en sucesión perpetua. Dice el testamento: “El único pensamiento no ideológico es el que intenta llevar la cosa misma al lenguaje que está bloqueado por el lenguaje dominante”. De noche duermo y sueño con un campo que es una partitura de vacas que mugen cosas que entiendo. Después del saqueo: el pozo está vacío. (potus)     • Download tape • Video   Related post/s in my blog “Poesía” (Spanish)   Related works:
• Gestalt (2014)
• Time machine (2011)
• Gespleten piano (2010)
• Split piano (2011)
• El libro de los gestos / Book of gestures (2008)
• La arquitectura del aire / The architecture of air (2009)


The Daughter of the Sorceress…

The Daughter of the Sorceress… Full opera (2004/…)

for 5 singers and chamber ensemble
texts and visuals: Luciana Arditto
music and concept: Cecilia Arditto

Download opera libretto PDF

Send download link to:

Download stage design PDF

Send download link to:

El otro viaje (1992)

Video step motion animation film: Jorge E. Lumbreras
Music: Cecilia Arditto
Camera and photography: Pablo Delfini
Production: Caracú
Time: 10:11
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Resumen/Abstract: Un grupo de nativos americanos viajan y descubren el continente europeo tiempo antes que Colón realizara su travesía de la que se cumplen en 1992 quinientos años/A group of Native Americans travel and discover the European continent some time before Columbus made his journey, which in 1992 has its 500 anniversary

Related works: • Tiempo de alar (1993)

Tiempo de alar (1993)

Step-motion animation film: Jorge E. Lumbreras
Music: Cecilia Arditto
Camera and photography: Pablo Delfini
Production: Caracú
Time: 8:05
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Resumen/Abstract: Alegoría sobre la represión y el triunfo de la libertad /Allegory about repression and the triumph of freedom 

Related works: El otro viaje (1992)