A project in cooperation with echoraum and Alcôme
Supported by Stadt Wien Kultur, BMKÖS, SKE austromechana, echoraum, ALCÔME, Sacem and Copie Privée



Daniel Teruggi

Composer, Researcher (*1952)

photo (c) Pierre Grossman

Daniel Teruggi studied Physics, composition and piano in Argentina. In 1977 he moved to France where he studied at the Paris National Conservatory. In 1981, he starts working at INA (National Audiovisual Institute), at the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM). In 1997 he become Director of the Groupe de Recherches Musicales of INA, position he kept until his retirement in 2017. From October 2001 to 2016 he was simultaneously Director of the Research and Experimentation Department of INA.

In the Research domain, he has been actively working on the preservation of audiovisual collections and particularly electroacoustic music. He has been the coordinator of the FP6 European project PrestoSpace, dedicated to the development of new technology for Digital preservation and the FP7 European project PrestoPRIME, dedicated to the long-term preservation of audiovisual digital contents.  He also participated to the Prest4U project which analyses the needs and perspectives for digital audiovisual preservation in different domains ranging from educational collections to users’ needs.  He has been member of the Europeana project and Foundation, General Secretary and Treasurer of the International Federation of Audiovisual Archives (FIAT/IFTA) as well as founding member of the Electroacoustic Musical Studies Network (EMS) dedicated to electroacoustic music analysis.

He has composed more than 90 works mainly for the concert; using electroacoustic devices in acousmatic situations or with live instruments. He is the author of numerous research articles on the sound and perception of music or musical analysis. His music has been performed in more than 30 countries and published in various CD collections.

Doctor in Art and Technology at the University of Paris VIII, he developed an important educational activity at the Paris I University, around sound and the visual arts, Paris IV Sorbonne around the analysis of electroacoustic music and more recently with Paris Est University, Marne la Vallée, where he was responsible for the Acousmatic and Sound Arts Master. He has been visiting professor at the Universities of Hertfordshire (England), University TU Berlin, 3 of Febrero (Argentina), and SMUC of Barcelona. In 2016, he received the "SMPTE Archival Technology Medal Award" for his efforts in the preservation of audiovisual content, especially music.

Retired since 2018 he continues his musical activity as well as his activity in the Audiovisual Preservation domain.

Phonomaggio, 11’ / 2023

Performed at Circuit Fantôme Season 3 Episode 1

Phonomaggio is a tribute to the Studio of Phonology in Milan, a pioneering institution in electroacoustic work whose name evokes the voice and the search for new languages. Founded by RAI in 1955 by Luciano Berio and Bruno Maderna, it has been an important center of musical thought on the possible uses of electronic tools. Luciano Berio composed there one of the emblematic works of the 1950s, the Thema (Omaggio a Joyce) which pays homage to James Joyce and to the voice of Cathy Berberian who recites chapter 11, Sirens from the Ulysses.

No references, no allusions, a simple tribute through the memories of listening; the captivating voice of Cathy Berberian and the swirling treatments of her voice. A tribute also to the laborious studio-work involved at that time in the composition of "electronic" music, as it was called in Italy and "concrete" as Pierre Schaeffer had baptized it in France. Omaggio allora al maestro Berio.

The Shining Space, 17’04’’ / 1999

Performed within Acousmonium 2023

Does space shine ?

Several years ago, while composing Focolaria, I used "sound will-o'-the-wisps" (elusive and unreasonable sounds, I used to call them), which were objets moving in space at a great speed without our ear being capable of precisely detecting their form. These sounds seemed to shine for our ear in the circling space.

In this work, I went out to chase these sounds. My son Leonardo helped me with his electric guitar which was already capable of producing shining sounds. I explored the brilliance and the sparkling of the sounds in all the spectral regions and I looked the kind of space they would generate. Then, I built a space in which they could shine, a space contained in the recording which is multiplied by the space of the concert hall.

The movement of sound gives us the impression that an objet has just passed in front of us without giving us the opportunity to see it. Only the "fingerprint" of the sound arrives to our perception. Acousmatic music is made of fingerprints, of trails caused by invisible and sometimes non-existing objects. A vague resemblance makes us sometimes think that we have almost perceived what has just been. But they are only images that articulate in space, frame of our listening, and receptacle of all the sounds that make music.

So, let it shine!

Spaces of mind: Daniel Teruggi, guest lecture at ELAK
November 22, 2022 - at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna – Klangtheater @ Future Art Lab

Daniel Teruggi presented his musical work and talked about his trajectory in the electroacoustic world. He also analysed the situation of young composers and how they can progress and move in the professional world in order to get their music performed and known.

Daniel Teruggi / Anton Iakhontov: How to play Acousmonium.

“If you call it an Acousmonium, it´s an Acousmonium”

Daniel Teruggi gave an online workshop in July 2022 about working with an Acousmonium. He gave insights about his practice and encouraged students and everyone interested in multi channel music, to put their hands on the mixer and experiment.

Unsoundables, 17’ / 2021, 8 tracks
Austrian première ─ commissioned by Musiques & Recherches, Belgium

This work could have been named “Insondables” in French; with a slight ambiguity between sound and probe which in French are son and sonde. In English the word sound in Unsoundable refers to sound and probe, without changing the writing, and also has several other meanings: reliable, deep, sure, imperturbable… Faced with this profusion of meanings, English won in my imaginary quest for places to which we cannot access and which have a sound dimension that escapes our hearing. Places that we see or perceive but where access is impossible and which represent possible sound universes. We can then send a probe there; in this case mental and imaginary, to explore these places.

The mental probe explores those places, situations, spaces where our body cannot access. And, like a probe we would send to the underground, we discover different universes, sometimes similar to those we know, sometimes totally impossible. Several short situations follow one another like a quick trip to these unsoundable places, each with its family of sounds, its space and its logic. Although the places are referenced in my work, there is no need to give the clues; the listener’s imagination will easily identify them.

Nova Puppis, 20’ / 2020, 8 tracks
Austrian première Commissioned by the GRM, Paris

My grandfather’s name was Bernhard Hildebrandt Dawson; he was born in 1890 in Kansas City, United States, and died in 1960 in La Plata, my birthplace in Argentina. He was an astronomer; he had come to Argentina in 1912 to work in the new astronomical observatory which had just opened in La Plata. In 1942 he discovered a new double star which he named "Nova Puppis". Thanks to this discovery he received the David Pickering medal in 1942 (a kind of Nobel for astronomers). Asteroid 1829 (in the Asteroid Belt) is also named after him, along with a crater on the dark side of the moon. This strange man, who lived with us and who spoke very little, died when I was 8 years old; I have distant and intrigued memories of him and his passion for the spheres, as well as his late-night life. 

His books were marked with the following Ex Libris, taken from a poem by Goethe: "Like the stars, without haste, but without rest" ... that was his motto.

This work is therefore a tribute to his discovery and to the passion he had for searching beyond the limits of the visible. Nova Puppis is always there, somewhere in the sky, and it is especially the fact that it is double that interests me, that is to say two inseparable objects which make one for our perception. I always explore duality in my music with this idea that one is not enough, it takes at least two for things to work. I am not trying to mimic or imitate anything in the behavior of this star, but to be freely inspired by the thought of my grandfather and his emotion and his perseverance to unmask the mysteries of the universe.

So, I invite you to listen like the stars, without haste, but without truce.
DT March 2020

PS: by the way, the Ex Libris is taken from the book of prophecies by Goethe and Schiller: Xenies and other epigrams; the full text is:

Like the star that shines afar,
Without haste and without rest,
Let each one wheel with steady sway,
Round the task that rules the day,
And do their best.

Which totally changes the beautiful poetic image!

PS2: Puppis comes from the name of the constellation in which it is located: "The Stern", a constellation visible mainly in the southern hemisphere.

Punctus spatio, 17’ / 2022, 8 tracks
Austrian première

Loudspeakers are an extraordinary invention; the fact that a cardboard membrane vibrates and thus reproduces any sound is almost a mystery! They reproduce sounds but these are not exactly the same as sounds in our environment are, which irradiate in all directions while loudspeakers tend to be directional (spherical loudspeakers exist but have not yet become largely diffused). To make this difference stronger, and since we have two ears, after the “monophonic” sound in the first half of the twentieth century; “stereophony” became the standard reproduction model, where the fact of having two loudspeakers that reproduce the same information but with slight differences, gives a spatial and movement perspective to sound.

Loudspeakers have highly dominated our listening environment and since the 1960s attempts have been made to introduce a three-dimensional listening perspective. Four tracks, eight tracks, 5.1, 7.1, etc. are different configurations in which the listener is immerged in sound through surrounding loudspeakers, many of these configurations having had their origin in the film industry. When composers work with these environments, they use different spatial strategies which can imply that each loudspeaker will be reproducing a different sound, the same sound coming from several loudspeakers or sound moving from one loudspeaker to other thus creating trajectories. These and many more spatial strategies have enriched acousmatic sound over the last decades.

Punctus spatio is not only a story of points and movements… Punctual sounds are the main starting element but music is the result. Points merge in lines and lines configure surfaces, and lines and surfaces create images in our mind. Space creates the charm, the fusion of perception points which interact with our memories, imagination and our extraordinary capacity to organize sounds in form. 

This work is dedicated to the memory of a good friend, Bill Brunson from Stockholm, who recently left us…

Round Table: Passive progressive, or what's wrong with "experimental music"

Daniel Teruggi participated in the Round Table talk on July 29, 2022 in Vronihof, Vienna (as part of the series Circuit Fantôme S1 E1) – together with Elisabeth Zimmermann, Elisabeth Schimana, moderated by Anton Iakhontov.

Springtime, 16′ / 2013, octophonic

Commissioned by the ZKM, Karlsruhe for the Klangdom

Springtime is a trip in our heads, a closed space where we wander around without really looking for anything but hoping to make many discoveries. Among them there is Spring who may spring and bring us different perfumes, sensations and expectations.
My own voice appears here, being a part of the trip, however changing its form when approaching different realms. Space is always circular and surrounds the listener through movement and precise location of the sound sources.
Springtime is the last of four works, all related to seasons: Instants d’hiver, Summer Band, Autumn song, and now its time for Spring

Après une réécoute de Sud, 10’32″ / 2017, octophonic

Hommage to Jean-Claude Risset.

This work is a tribute to Jean-Claude Risset, a unique case of composer and researcher who has influenced a generation of musicians through his contributions to computer music, his understanding of the sound phenomenon, his listening and his sense of dialogue always attentive and open. I wanted to pay homage to him around his work “Sud”, a work that explores his sound universe and its adored coves. Some sounds extracted from Sud are the raw material of this work.

Remembering, 18’19″ / 2017, octophonic

Enriching our memory is a constant activity in humans and our society has developed tools of external memory that permanently send us back to our past, and become also projection tools for the future. After 40 years of musical career; I kept thousands of sounds from a permanent work of exploration of the sound material and invention of sounds. These sounds are mostly associated with musical projects and therefore somehow worn-out through their use. Nevertheless returning to these sources allowed me to discover sounds  which I hade”forgotten”; made during my first experiences and keeping the trace my ideas at that moment. Nevertheless, for some sounds, I had forgotten the context of their invention! These sounds become then future memories; they tell future stories imagined 40 years ago. Memories that existed before their time of reality.

So I started from this lost material and from this core I built new materials that could resonate with these ancient sounds; a contemporary echo of the past and with the vision of my ideas today. Today’s sounds integrated the work allowing  the fusion of pas and present, turned towards a future.

From a more technical point of view; For 20 years, I have been exploring through my acousmatic works the functioning of sound in space, composed for concert configurations with numerous diffusion points. This type of devices allowed me to imagine and build always different musical situations, where the movement and the positioning of the sources have a strong influence on the musical construction and the aesthetics of the work. Remembering explores the situation where 8 independent sources, build an enveloping space and allow the subtle game of memory recall. 

Spaces of Mind, 17’ / 2004 

Every being has its own perception of Space; it is an open concept, with different meanings for different situations. Physics, Astronomy, Poetry or every-day life, give their own interpretation of the word and apply it with different laws and meanings. So, to give a definition is quite a difficult task, but one may say that Space is something around us that may or may not have boundaries and in which we move and act as well as other objects. It is also very tightly related to time, in which we move also, but only in one sense, which gives sense to our perception of space.
In music, it also means several and different things: position or separation of instruments, diffusion of sound in a hall, poetical perception of music. When it comes to electroacoustic music and particularly to acousmatics, it is still another thing (Space is always Space, but it means something slightly different in different contexts). Sounds are organised in space: left-right if there are only two loudspeakers, and in much more complex positions if the music is organised in a multi-track system as 5.1 or 8 tracks. So Sounds carry already a Space distribution in acousmatic music depending on the media the composer uses.
But Sound also conveys a Space. Either real or virtual, the fact of listening to a Sound produced by an unseen source (the essence of Acousmatics) produces a Space perception meaning that whenever we listen to a Sound, we build the space around it, we create on image of the Sound in our minds which contains the possible origin, its Time incidence in our Time consciousness, and its Space dimension for our spatial perception.
And then there are concert halls, with dozens of loud-speakers, that bring music to life and create spatial unwanted effects like reverberation, sound absorption, echoes, black and bright holes, which strongly complicate the task of listening. However, if one wants to bring many people together to listen to the same work at the same time (which is what we call a concert), then you have to go through this complicated situation for which a complex loud-speaker array will highly help.

Birds, 18’ / 2006

It has often been said that birds make music when they sing. Is it our ears that make their singing a possible music? Or are the birds the wonderful model that brought musical thought within the human mind? Before we can call it “singing”, birds produce sound, all different, all alike. Their sounds are different in the declinations, similar in their spectrum, and the sounds are mainly signals. It is on these signals that I worked, from which I developed the musical material with which I made the work. There are few recognizable bird songs in Birds, I was more interested in their sound than in the situation in which this sound is produced.
Like many sounds in nature, bird singing proposes a listening environment that often distracts musical attention. As a listener you should not search for birds, I used their sounds as signals for our perception. When bird songs are recognizable, it is a calm environment, something like a sound oasis where we can listen with our nature listening. There isn’t any story either, as often in my music, there are evolutions, transitions, structures build on the sound qualities and not on their signification. Meaning is build only as a musical meaning, that finds its way through the signals.

Transmutations, 20’ / 2009

Music, in its historical groove, has taught us that to think of “musical” sounds and of other sounds. The Twentieth century has opened our ears to these other possible sounds and potentially to all the sounds of the world. I have often thought that any sound could be good for making music. This is a generic thought, in which the components of music have little influence regarding the power of the possible sound modifications and the metamorphosis that their organisation and contextualisation in time and space may produce regarding their initial meaning.
I am now less convinced of this approach… the richness of the initial sounds used in a musical composition, transcends the whole work and determine its character. A very simple sound, in its spectral organisation and morphology, would have lots of trouble to climb high musical heights! However; this was the initial challenge of “Transmutations”; to use any sound to make (what I consider) a good music. This is how I choose, almost by chance (“almost” means that I would never work with a sound I would reject), among isolated sounds extracted from music, or directly recorded.
An incomplete inventory would show:
  • A sound recording specifically done for the work
  • A defective sound recording
  • An accidental sound recording
  • One measure extracted from a well known opera
  • A musical Mexican myth extracted from a CD I got from a gas-station
  • A chord extracted from a ballet

From Sound to Music: the contributions of musique concrète (conference / 2019)

In 1948 a revolutionary approach to musical composition was experimented by Pierre Schaeffer who named it musique concrete. His approach unleashed new ideas and concepts about what is music and the function of sound in music that still influence contemporary thought and practice. We live in a Sound culture where the invention of sounds is one of the great trends that leads to their organisation and structuring in always renewed forms of Music. How did this influence develop, which were the necessary conditions? Many sociological and technological aspects have contributed to this expansion and to the evolution of sound thought.

Etéréa, first movement of SPHÆRA, 14’03″ / 1985

Working on the four fundamental substances and fusing them, was at the center of my acousmatic perception between 1984 and 1989.Each “element” was progressively articulated with the others, crystallizing my subjective perception of their materiality.What began as a journey of exploration became, over the years, and also thanks to the enthusiasm of a Greek friend who has projected me into the Socratic universe,a circular, spherical unit in which each Event is a part of one of the four substances and the whole.
In ETEREA, the dual nature of air, the space of propagation of sounds and the medium of the mobile masses, has structured the work and the development of forms.

Gira, Gira, 14′ / 2001

Sounds rotate in space, but often in our heads or by themselves. Or, do rotating objects make sounds spin or are rotating sounds objects because we can locate them in space? Can music turn around us or should it be frontal as in the cinema? If I rotate myself while listening to music, is it the same as if the music was spinning around me?
Rounds, courses, turns and detours that build music on circularity. In a circle, there is movement. Movement which, by nature, is one of the most elusive parameters of music, it constantly escapes us. So, here’s the challenge, to build a music on this parameter, on the movements, on the sounds that become objects of perception, on the instability generated by the rotating sounds until the moment when …
We can then “watch the music”, see it closely, study its forms and textures, always in the circular space around us.

In Argentina, “Yira, yira” is the title of a well-known tango whose chorus says:

« Que al mundo nada le importa… »
« ¡ Yira !… ¡ Yira !… »

« The world doesn’t care about anything… »
« It turns !… It turns !… »

Turbulences, 22’ / 2012

In physics, turbulence means “the state of a fluid, liquid or gas, in which the velocity at any point has a vortex character: vortices whose size, location and orientation are constantly changing. Turbulent flows are characterized by a very unorganized and unpredictable behaviour with the existence of many different spatial and temporal states. Such flows occur when the source of kinetic energy that moves the fluid is relatively intense regarding the viscous forces opposed by the fluid in order to move”.
This definition accurately corresponds to my work with sounds in Turbulences. They all underwent a “source of kinetic energy” beyond their spectrum, timbre or rhythmic structure. The kinetic energy makes the sounds move within the circular space around the listener with little predictable behaviour and a certain relationship between the nature of sound and speed of the movement. Regarding sounds moving in the air, turbulence is an invisible but perceptible movement that affects sound and gives it a whirling behaviour which in turn acts on the nature of sound and fits into the relationship among sounds.

Êchoi, 6’49″ / 1997, 8 tracks

The êchoi belong to the Byzantine liturgical tradition; unlike the “modes” which were an abstract organization of scales, they were melodic formulas including the most salient characteristics (beginning, end, progressions) of a melody. Often called Octoechos, they were organized in groups of two.
In an octophonic environment, the idea of eight echoes corresponding to melodic formulas that I interpret as objects, could not but seduce me. I added to this the definition of the characteristics of the nymph Echo, given by P. Commelin in his Greek and Roman Mythology where he tells us that “Everywhere she listens, nowhere is she visible, and always, if she hears a few sentences, she only repeats the last words.”
The number eight, repetitions, listening and the invisible are the êchoi of this work; the object formulas repeated in a permanent variation, with the repetition of the last words.

Bach, 5’24″ / 2000, 8 track

This work is the third movement from my work Symphonische Träume, composed in 2000. It has often been played alone and has thus become an independent work. Dedicated to John Sebastian Bach on the 250 anniversary of his death it uses some sounds of his Die Kunst der Fuge and from that starting point develops an oneiric vision or dream that totally transforms the material.

Can Sounds be considered Objects? (conference, 2021)

The concept of Sound Object has a long story in electroacoustics, it was one of the initial ideas that permitted its theorization and analysis. Initially linked with musical tradition it evolved towards new ways of imagining and composing with sounds.