Anna Terzaroli

AIMI — Italian Computer Music Association

“Spatial Composition”: a reflection on it and on its use

Our perspective of musical space is utterly frozen and has led to a music in which the movement and direction of sound in space has no function. But the moment we have the means to move sound with any given speed in a given auditorium, or even in a given space outdoors, there is no longer any reason for a fixed spatial perspective of music. “[The] movement in space of music becomes as important as the composition of its melodic lines…and its rhythmic characteristics. Whether a sound moves clockwise or counter-clockwise, is at the left back or at the front, or any other combination—these are all configurations in space which are as meaningful as intervals in melody or harmony.” (Karlheinz Stockhausen)
My article starts from these considerations by Karlheinz Stockhausen to propose a reflection on the importance of spatialization in listening to the music and in the composition of music. The use of space as a musical parameter should now be included in the contemporary author’s compositional process. The use of space should be not considered “as a game” to move the sounds without any sense, but it should get into the compositional process, be part of the conception of a musical work, as the use of certain frequencies instead of other, the use of some dynamic rather than others or the use of well certain timbres that are carefully chosen by the composer.


Anna Terzaroli studied Electronic Music and Composition at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome. Her musical works are selected and performed in many concerts and festivals in Italy and abroad while her research works in the field of Computer music and Electroacoustic Music are presented in international conferences. She teaches Electronic Music and is a member of the AIMI (Italian Computer Music Association) board.