How do I analyze sounding missiles

Sounding room

The Elbphilharmonie not only creates anticipation among music lovers, as Hamburg's new landmark, it also fascinates the world of architecture and art. For concerti, the Berlin painter Christopher Lehmpfuhl dealt artistically with the Elbphilharmonie and created ten unique pieces during a painting stay in Hamburg in November 2016. “What fascinates me about the Elbphilharmonie is that it is not just a building, but a work of art. In my opinion, the architects have succeeded in creating a masterpiece with it, ”reports the artist enthusiastically. And without space there is no sound and without sound there is no music. But how closely are music and architecture really related?

Musical harmony and architectural proportion theory

According to the ancient understanding, music and architecture are based on clear order structures. These can be expressed in the form of numerical relationships, both in musical harmony and in architectural proportion theory. For the Pythagoreans (5th century BC) in particular, numbers represented the law of the world. In them they also saw the law of beauty. "They believed that the principles of mathematics were also the principles of all being [...] and that all heaven was harmony and number" reported Aristotle (384-322 BC). This aesthetic of numbers became decisive for music and architecture in the centuries that followed.

In the 1st century BC The Roman architect Vitruvius even demanded that an architect first understand music theory and its six consonant intervals. Vitruvius used this, for example, to calculate the rope tension of catapults or to specify the size of sound vessels in the theater - the octave, for example, has a frequency ratio of 2: 1. The numerical proportions of music were also reflected in the architecture of ancient Greece.

Aesthetics - just a question of personal taste?

After many centuries, a turning point finally came with rationalism: Gradually, the assumption that beauty was based on unchangeable numerical relationships was questioned. Rather, aesthetics is a theory of subjective taste and is subject to personal perception. The French architect Claude Perrault (1613-1688) took the most violent stand against the notion that beauty is based on numerical relationships. Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling's (1775-1854) romantic thesis that architecture is “frozen music” can be seen in this context. He said that “a beautiful building is in fact nothing more than music perceived with the eye, a (simultaneous) concert of harmonies and harmonic connections not perceived in time but in the sequence of spaces”. In the course of the late 18th century music became more and more important. In Germany in particular, it ranked ahead of architecture, fine arts and literature.

Bauhaus and machine music

The advancing industrialization was not only reflected in areas such as the constructivist phase of Bauhaus architecture, it also left its mark on music. The machine as a perfectly functioning apparatus and expression of modern urban life was reflected, for example, in the early forms of machine music of the 1920s: Eric Satie's “Parade”, Edgard Varèses “Amérique” or Paul Hindemith's composition for “The Triadic Ballet” by Oskar Schlemmer for mechanical organ.

Music as the basis of architecture

The Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier (1887-1965) shows how closely music and architecture can actually be interwoven. He referred to music and architecture as sisters and assumed that their proportions were perceived in the same way. His pupil Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001), who was also a composer, introduced the theory of proportion into new music with his composition "Métastasis" (1953/54). The graphically noted sounds of the strings inspired him to design the Philips pavilion at Expo 58 in Brussels from curved shells. The building erected by Le Corbusier and acoustically designed with Edgar Varèses tape composition “Poème électronique” finally became the starting point for the development of sound art and multimedia.

"When all these components work together optimally, art can arise"

Artists are often at home in many disciplines. Music also plays an important role for Christopher Lehmpfuhl. “I find it exciting to compare and analyze different interpretations of the same work by different interpreters, with original instruments or with modern ones, and to hear new ones again and again. I also always try to develop myself further. I don't want to stand still and keep looking to see what new artists are on the market. Seen in this way, music is an important part of me, yes a passion and it builds me up, gives me strength and comfort.

In his pictures, Christopher Lehmpfuhl reproduces motifs from our immediate reality. “I see movement, spatial depths, shapes and different light temperatures everywhere. The atmosphere, the sounds and smells of a place also play a decisive role for me. When all these components work together optimally, art can arise, ”says Lehmpfuhl. All of his works were created in front of the motif. In the tradition of Impressionist open-air painting, Lehmpfuhl looks for his point of view, his view of the motif and then creates the pictures directly there - in wind, weather, rain, cold and often with curious looks behind him, which the movements of the paint smeared , follow artist wrapped in his painting clothes.

His pictures always remain attached to the figurative

He mostly uses his fingers for this - in the course of his development he increasingly abandoned the brush. The distance to the canvas is shortened, you are directly on the canvas and directly at the painting, you have a different feel for color, notes Lehmpfuhl. Seen up close, the works appear extremely abstract, you have to take a step back in order for the object to crystallize. However, this is always there - Lehmpfuhl's pictures always remain figurative, looking at a subject from different angles. So does the Elbphilharmonie.


We will present the Elbphilharmonie cycle exclusively to you in a vernissage with artist talk on January 13, 2017 from 5:30 p.m. in the main church St. Katharinen, Katharinenkirchhof 1, 20457 Hamburg

Registrations by email to: [email protected]