Hans Tutschku

moments before the eruption

for seven instruments and electronics
year: 2018
duration: 18:30 min
studio: Harvard University Studios for Electroacoustic Composition
dedicated to Ute Rätzer
first performance: March 18, 2018 by Ensemble EMEX , Alte Feuerwache, Köln

Imagine the charged moments in expectation of something major to happen. We don’t know when or how the event will exactly unfold. We are running in circles, search for an escape or are just trapped by the seduction of the expected surprise. Moments of changing tension succeed each other: perhaps we have been spared this time? Was the stronger tremble already it, is more to come?
Whether imagining an eruption of a volcano or the emotional outburst of a person: the time before it seems to pass much slower – we are very alert to every single detail.

Performance with ensemble EMEX under Christoph Wagner at UNM, Albuquerque on March 28, 2018.


percussion techniques

piano techniques



An iPad is used to play back the electronics.
The electronics are divided into separate events, to be triggered by the conductor at the indicated moments in the score with a foot pedal.
There is no other method of synchronization and no use of a click track. I prefer that the musicians are interpreting their parts and that the electronics are re-aligned to them at the beginning of each event.


The electronics are best played through two loudspeakers placed under the piano, directed towards the sound board.


The mini-jack output of the iPad is connected to the speakers.

Position the iPad as flat as possible to minimize the visual distraction for the audience.

There is no need for microphones nor additional loudspeakers in the concert hall.
The musicians control the electronics without the need of a technician or assistant.


The installation and use of the iOS application and MIDI pedal


summary of needed technology

– one iPad (battery fully charged)
– two loudspeakers under the piano
– cable to connect iPad mini jack output to speakers


depending on the used pedal, the following items are needed:


using the MIDIExpression converter
(this is the preferred method as it does not introduce any latency between pedal action and sound start)
– one MIDI sustain pedal
– one MIDIExpression converters + iPad Application
– one USB-USBmicro cable
– one Apple lightning-USB adapter


The following two methods connect the pedal through BlueTooth, which introduces a slight latency.

using the BlueBoard
– one MIDI sustain pedals
– one BlueBoard device

using the AIRTurn
– one AirTurn PED device




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