Johann Sebastian Bach at 61 in 1746. Artist Elias Gottlob Haussman.
Everyone knows J.S. Bach as a composer. But it turns out that he was also a music-technology enthusiast and sound designer, having spent many hours of his childhood hanging out at the local organ workshop. He was fascinated with what was, at that time, the state of the art in sound synthesis technology.
Bach maintained an interest throughout his life in musical instrument development (like the forte-piano and the “bassono grosso”). And his experience with the organ (aka additive synthesis) led him to experiment with new timbres in his instrumental music through unusual voicings and instrument combinations. It was his expertise in organ technology, as much as his mastery as a performer, that landed him his first post at the New Church in Arnstadt, where, at age 18, he was hired to both play and maintain the organ.
In October 1705, when Bach was 20 years old, he went to Lübeck. He had requested a one-month leave of absence from his post in Arnstadt to visit Dieterich Buxtehude, a well-known organist and composer. And he was so intrigued by what he learned that he stayed for an extra two months. The experience had a profound and lifelong influence on his music and on his ideas for new instrument design.
Come to Lübeck in 2014
We invite you to come to Lubëck for KISS (Kyma International Sound Symposium) 2014, taking place September 25—28. You'll be surrounded by an international community of sound-technology enthusiasts who are passionate about sound, music, and the future of musical instruments.
Here are some glances at KISS 2012 in Ste. Cloud and KISS 2013 in Brussels.
Getting together at KISS 2012 in Ste. Cloud
Pete Johnston making a point at KISS 2012 in Ste. Cloud
Jeffrey Stolet performing at KISS 2012 in Ste. Cloud
Chi Wang prepares a performance with a basketball at KISS 2012 in Ste. Cloud
Robert Jarvis demonstrates a trombone playing Kyma at KISS 2013 in Brussels
Allison Goodman is thinking Kyma, with Lowell Pickett standing by at KISS 2013 in Brussels
Ludovic Laffineur is squeezing a foam dice controller for Kyma at KISS 2013 in Brussels
You’ll return home, like Bach, with new ideas for music and sound design, and with new contacts and friendships that will inspire you for years to come.