Cláudio Pina

CESEM — FCSH, NOVA University of Lisbon, Portugal;


Since 1960, the most prolific period on organ experimentation, we find non-orthodox compositions on the organ. Composers like Hambraeus, Ligeti, Cage, Kagel and Xenakis, to name a few, changed the paradigm of organ composition with a specific goal in mind – the sound produced by these old instruments. From this collection of works, the ones from the protean composer Ligeti are paramount. From the graphical score of Volumina, the long clusters of Harmonies to the fast torrent of notes of Coulée we find carefully laid out performance notes of how to achieve these new sounds – unknown at the time. Today we can label these new sounds as extended techniques, like the ones found in other aerophones. Notwithstanding, the perception of the audience regarding these sounds behaves in a different way. They challenge the listener’s mind. Where does these sounds come from? Is it a special register? Did the organ was altered in some way? Is there another contraption or instrument on the choir? Or even the odd commentary of: “Did the organ malfunction?”. Since most organs are hidden from plain sight in a large reverberant space, the sound propagates in all directions, like a multichannel loudspeaker array. On top of that, the organs inhabit the choir, a higher balcony, and the audience faces the opposite direction. It is clear that we can apply Schaeffer and Chion listening modes to an organ recital with this kind of repertoire. Besides that, the usual audience expects a known body of sounds (i.e., Bach’s organ works) and struggles to identify the source and how they are made. In this regard, Annette Vande Gorne classifies Ligeti’s organ works has clear examples of acousmatic music.

Keywords: Organ; Contemporary music; Acousmatic music; Reduced listening; Audience perception; Extended techniques.


Cláudio Pina (b.1977) Sound artist, improviser, organist and composer. Titular organist of the historical organ at the Parish of Ajuda (Lisbon). Researcher in GIMC (CESEM). Holds a DAS regarding contemporary organ music and a MA distinguished with the Dean’s Honour Roll 2018. Currently a PhD candidate and FCT fellow in the same field (ESML/FCSH). Studied in Gregorian Institute of Lisbon, Hot Jazz Club and Physics Engineering (FCUL). Had further studies with Adrian Moore, Åke Parmerud, Annette Vande Gorne, Barry Truax, Gilles Gobeil, Hans Tutschku, and Trevor Wishart. His work has been premiered worldwide in; Arte no Tempo, Aveiro Síntese, Binaural Nodar, Festival DME, Festival Zeppelin, Iklectic, MUSLAB, MA/IN, Perpectivas Sonoras, Lisboa Incomum, L’Espace du Son, and World Soundscape Project. His acousmatic works have been published in MA/IN 2019 and Métamorphoses 2020. Self released two albums, “Asteroeidēs” and “Palimpsestus”. Released in 2022 “Avant-garde Organ” funded by GDA Foundation and published by 9musas(