[Pt. II Proj.2] – Listening Log – After the Second World War- Electronic music -Luigi Nono – Sofferte onde Serene (1976)

Project two: After the Second World War- Electronic musicListen to one of the following pieces of music. Each work combines electronics with live music:

Luigi Nono – Sofferte onde Serene (1976). This is a piece for piano and electronics which was written for Pollini and was inspired by the sounds of Venice. Listen for references to water and to bells. The live piano sounds interract with the pre-recorded sound of Pollini himself.

How do the electronics enhance the atmosphere? How does the live instrument sound in relation to the electronics? Does one feel ‘real’ and the other feel ‘manufactured’? What sounds has the composer chosen to use in the electronic part? How do these relate to the live instrument, if at all?


The electronics in Luigi Nono’s piece ‘Sofferte onde Serene (1976)’ consist of tape recordings of Pollini’s piano playing. These tape recordings are then played back ‘live’ against piano playing of the same musical ’parts’. The inevitable synchronisation slippage give rise to various sonic modulations and phasing creating a different and new piece every time it’s performed. The electronics do not just enhance the atmosphere of this piece but are in fact integral to the atmosphere. The timing difference and the volume at which the electronics are mixed against the live piano very much dictate the degree of ghostliness and liquid feeling of the music. The tape recordings are very real and organic due to the reliance of speed of the tape recorder which will never been exactly the same. The electronic sound is in this case entirely related to the instrument and is in effect it’s ‘shadow’ or echo. It is in fact a living memory of the instrument, a dream.