Sieben Stufen

Georg Trakl, Hans Tutschku

Sieben Stufen has been performed in Santa Fe, São Paulo and Weimar…

Sieben Stufen (Seven Steps) uses the poem Verfall (Decline, Decay) by Georg Trakl (1887-1914). All sounds are derived from electronic manipulations of two recordings of the poem spoken by four different voices (two in German and two in French), as well as four German key-words sung in seven pitches and their four corresponding French translations in seven different pitches: Verfall — ruine (ruins); Abend — au soir (evening); Glocken — cloches (bells); Vögel — oiseaux (birds).

The piece is structured in seven sections, representing simultaneously an approach and a distortion of the text. The durations of these parts are in the relation 12-10-2-6-4-8-1. Only after the seventh part does the text itself finally appear, presenting a counterpoint between the French and German versions. A retro-coda follows, which compresses the entire piece in reversal into 49 seconds. This contraction is superposed with the 56 sung words (four in both languages on seven notes). Compressions are also placed at the beginning of each section, these condense the following material into two-second ‘upbeats.’ In all seven sections the poem acts as a ‘sound-atom.’


Sieben Stufen was realized in 1995 at IRCAM (Paris) and in the studios of Klang Projekte Weimar, and first performed in the original 4-channel version on 26 October 1995 during the Festival 8.Tage Neuer Musik (Weimar, Germany). The French translation of the poem is by Jean-Claude Schneider and Marc Petit, © Éditions Gallimard. My thanks to Pascale Condat, Armelle Orieux and André Schulz for the recordings of their voices. Sieben Stufen obtained the Second Prize at the CIMESP ’95 International Electroacoustic Music Competition of São Paulo (Brazil) and was a Finalist in the 1996 Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition (France).


  • October 26, 1995, Tage Neuer Musik in Weimar: Concert, Weimar (Thüringen, Germany)



Sieben Stufen (1995), 13:00
4-channel fixed medium



Date Work Program
October 2, 2000 Hans Tutschku / Georg Trakl, Sieben Stufen (1995), 13:00 Foldover / WOBC 91.5 FM (USA)
September 1, 2006 Hans Tutschku / Georg Trakl, Sieben Stufen (1995), 13:00 Radio Horizon 93.9 (South Africa)
March 11, 2013 Hans Tutschku / Georg Trakl, Sieben Stufen (1995), 13:00 Acoustic Frontiers / CKCU 93.1 FM (Canada)
November 7, 2020 Hans Tutschku / Georg Trakl, Sieben Stufen (1995), 13:00 Radio Horizon 93.9 (South Africa)