/// 2007 /// Interactive Sound Installation
/// Götz Dipper


It was only in the 20th century that aleatorics was introduced to music. In the case of this musical compositional principle, the composer does not arrange all details himself but leaves a considerable amount to chance. However, there were composers as early as the 18th century – at that time rather as a form of entertainment – who were occupied with chance. The Mozart-Würfel goes back to a “musical dice game”, which was published two years after Mozart’s death and under his name. With the help of this musical game of dice almost anyone can compose (almost) an infinite number of different waltzes himself. For each beat eleven different possibilities are available for selection. There are total of sixteen beats which result in 1116 = 45 949 729 863 572 161 different waltz melodies (though, to be precise, due to a number of repeats there are somewhat less). The inventor of the dice game was only able to try out a fraction of all possibilities himself. In other words, it would have taken over a billion years for all possibilities to be played. Hence, one might well anticipate that among all these variations a musical nonsense would emerge – astonishingly enough, though, all versions sound “meaningful”. Most importantly, a compositional device developed by the former inventor provides for this: all versions are based on the same harmonic scheme. The Mozart-Würfel converts the dice game in the form of a gaming machine. Per mouse click, the visitors can “role” the melodies or purposefully arrange and play them to himself.
(Text: Götz Dipper)

Götz Dipper (*1966 in Stuttgart) studied cello at the Hannover Academy of Music and at the Mozarteum, in Salzburg. He later went on to specialize in computer music and informatics. He has been working as systems administrator at the ZKM | Institute for Music and Acoustics since 2001.


Götz Dipper, Mozart-Würfel, 2007, interactive Sound Installation, ZKM | Institute for Musics and Acoustics