Recorded versions of this work

About this work

In 1956 Bruno Maderna and Luciano Berio founded the Studio di Fonologia Musicale in Milan. Well equipped and well staffed, it quickly became the primary center for electronic music in Europe.

Syntaxis is the second electronic composition Maderna composed at the studio. It was composed without a prior plan. Starting with sine waves (pure regular electronic tones) and white noise (a sound comprising all frequencies, like FM radio static) Maderna arrived at certain sounds by filtering for frequency and loudness, tape speed changing, overlapping tapes, and editing tape. Once a certain sound was created, it would suggest other sounds, and successions of these sounds would suggest other successions. In this piece Maderna first used an "amplitude selector," a device that eliminated all signals less than 6 decibels lower than the peak level of a signal. This removed the density and complexity from certain types of sounds. Not to many decades later, it all sounded pretty quaint Š