Multidimensional Contemporary Music Performance as Creation: SaxMultis, a system of Multiphonic Permutations

Henrique Portovedo1,2, Paulo Ferreira Lopes3, Luís Neto Costa4

1CITAR – Portuguese Catholic University, Portugal
2University of Aveiro, Portugal
3University of Applied Sciences Mainz Hochschule Mainz, GERMANY
4Independent researcher, PORTUGAL


This paper will examine the relations within the Multidimensionality of Contemporary Music Performance conceiving Multiphonic Permutations as means of composition. The changing paradigm of performance practice is creating not only new virtuosity but leading performance as the status of creative tool. New composition aesthetics are deeply influenced by electronic materials and sonic repositories at the same time as new mediums are currently seen as possible extensions of instrumental practice. These mediums are available for creative purposes during composition and performative processes. While the aesthetics of acoustic and electronic sounds are creating mutual influences, composers and sound designers develop new languages, new gestural attitudes, new extended techniques, new notation methods and inclusively new instrumental development. Non-conventional approaches to instrumental sonic manipulation offer possibilities of expressive extension and augmentation, just as they expand possibilities in the field of composition. Here, the case studies address a collection of pieces based on the production and selection of saxophone’s multiphonics as the principal compositional element. The multiphonics were organised into layers of tremolos, producing timbral changes and being selected thru a process that uses two different methods and softwares. The first method was implemented thru a patch named SaxMultis and allows the recording of all multiphonic timbral permutations and its cataloging. It gives, as well, the possibility of aleatoric positions of key combinations for saxophone sounds. This software is organised in following order: 1) Selection of Key Position; 2) Position of Tremolo; 3) Indication of Dinâmics; 4) Creation of Buffer with positions code; 5) Recording. The second method, Multi2Chord is a software as well, that analyses the spectrum of each multiphonic permutation and translate it to musical notation using ZSA and BACH Max/MSP Libraries. This strategy brought to life, not only new documentation, but as well, a resource of acoustic and electronic tools for composition and instrumental repertoire development in a totally new perspective. It is analysed how acoustic and electronic sonic events interact and influence each other while establishing a relation of performance multidimensionality as compositional tool in contemporary practice, presenting new pieces based on this symbiosis.

Keywords Multidimensionality, Contemporary Performance, Multiphonics, Saxophone


Henrique Portovedo has found his place in contemporary music working with composers such as R. Barret, P. Ferreira Lopes, C. Barlow, C. Roads, P. Ablinger, M. Edwards, S. Carvalho, L. Carvalho, R. Ribeiro, M. Azguime, among many others. Portovedo has premiered more than 40 works dedicated to him. He recorded for several editors such as Naxos, Universal, PadRecords, R’RootsProductions etc. He was awarded with the António Pascoal Foundation’s Merit Award, Eng. António de Almeida Foundation’s Merit Award, 1st Prize of the International Youth Soloist Contest Purmerend, has received many Trinity Music Awards in London, was awarded with Young Creators Award by the Portuguese Institute of Arts and Ideas, the Award from the National Center of Culture in the area of music, among other distinctions. He has been artist in residence at ZKM Karlsruhe, Edinburgh University, Folkwang University and Fulbright Visiting Researcher at MAT University California Santa Barbara. As a researcher in the field of Augmented Performance at CITAR, he received research fundings from FCT and Fulbright. Currently, Portovedo is professor of Electronic Music at the University of Aveiro and visiting professor at Real Conservatorio Superior de Musica de Madrid.


Between 1995 and 1997 Paulo Ferreira-Lopes studied composition in Paris with Emmanuel Nunes, Antoine Bonnet and Computer Music with Curtis Roads. In 1996 he received a Master in Composition at the University of Paris VIII under the advice of Horacio Vaggione. In 1996 further studies in composition with Karlheinz Stockhausen at the “Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik”, Darmstadt. Also in 1996, distinguished as Researcher with a scholarship of the French Government by the “Ministere de la Recherche” at the “Departement d’Esthétique et Technologies des Arts” of University of Paris VIII. Founder and Director (between 1992/95) of the Electronic Music Studio C.C.I.M. Founder and Director (2000) of the Summer Workshops – olhAres de Outono at Portuguese Catholic University. Since 1998, artist in residence and researcher at ZKM – Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie – Karlsruhe Germany. Since 2002, member from the European Parliament of Culture. In 2004 he received the Doctor degree from the University of Paris VIII. Founder and Director from the Research Centre for Science and Technology in Art CITAR (2004/07) and Professor at Portuguese Catholic University. Since 2007 invited Professor at Karlsruhe Music University – Music Informatic Departement.


Luís Neto da Costa was born in Freamunde. He began his studies in clarinet and graduated in Composition at Escola Superior de Música e Artes do Espectáculo in 2016, having worked with Pedro Santos, Dimitris Andrikopoulos, Filipe Vieira and Eugénio Amorim, among others. His interests extend to fields like music programming, electroacoustic music, improvisation and exploration of new instruments. In the scope of music direction, he has worked with some conductors from the Portuguese music scene. He has written pieces for orchestra, ensemble and various chamber music formations. As a commission for the Young Musicians Award (Antena 2/ RTP), he wrote the obligatory piece for the oboe category (medium level). In 2015 he won the Menção Honrosa do Prémio de Composição SPA/ Antena 2 (Honorable Mention of the Composition Award SPA/Antena 2) with a piece for orchestra and the Menção Honrosa do Prémio de Composição Casa da Música/ESMAE (Honorable Mention of the Composition Award Casa da Música/ESMAE) on World Music Day 2015 with a piece for 50 saxophones, 50 clarinets and soloist flute.