Gérman Toro Pérez

Disembodied Voice


A research project of the ICST - Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology (ICST) / ZHdK - Zurcher University of the Arts

Funding: DORE (DO REsearch, Swiss National Science Foundation)
Mai 2011 - August 2012
In Kooperation mit dem Institute for the Performing Arts and Film ipf.

Projektleitung, Ingo Starz
Regie, Stefan Nolte
Sprecher: Rosario Bona
Tontechnik und Klanggestaltung Philippe Kocher, Simon Könz, Germán Toro Pérez




Im Zeitraum von 16 Monaten wurden die Potentiale der elektroakustischen Transformation der Stimme und der dreidimensionalen Klangprojektion für die Theaterpraxis erforscht. Die Ergebnisse wurden in Form einer Modelinszenierung der Nobelpreisrede In Abseits von Elfriede Jelinek im Theater der Künste in Zürich präsentiert.
Das Forschungsprojekt gründet auf der Beobachtung, dass sich die Bedingungen und das Selbstverständnis von Stimme als performativem Akt durch neue Technologien und Medien im 21. Jahrhundert grundlegend verändert haben. “Disembodied Voice” nutzt gegenwärtige technologische Möglichkeiten und entwickelt Strategien für den Umgang mit der mediatisierten Stimme im Theaterraum: Wie (de-)konstruiert Stimme Raum? Wie verhalten sich dabei Sprecher und Stimme zueinander? Das Projekt wirft Fragen auf, die eine Erweiterung der bisher im Kontext elektroakustischer Musik gesammelten Erfahrungen und verfügbaren Techniken im Umgang mit der Stimme notwendig macht. Deshalb werden technische Werkzeuge eigens entwickelt, die eine Erfassung von Merkmalen der gesprochenen Stimme als Ausgangspunkt für Interaktion und Klangtransformation im dreidimensionalen Raum und in der Zeit ermöglichen. Rückflüsse auf die Konzert und Musiktheaterpraxis werden dabei ebenso erwartet. Im Vordergrund steht jedoch die Entwicklung einer gemeinsamen Forschungskultur zwischen Musik und Theater auf der Basis eines Dialogs zwischen Wissenschaft und künstlerischer Praxis.

Spatialization Symbolic Music Notation

SSMN - Spatialization Symbolic Music Notation

A research project of the ICST - Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology (ICST) / ZHdK - Zurcher University of the Arts


Research Team:

Emile Ellberger / Germán Toro-Pérez / Giorgio Zoia /
Kaspar Mösinger / Johannes Schütt / Linda Cavaliero

in collaboration with:

• Editions Papillion
• Vincent. Gillioz, 3D audio producer & composer
• Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation, snf




The SSMN (Spatialization Symbolic Musical Notation) project aims at composers, performers and sound engineers, confronted with a musical score requiring indications of spatialization of sound, movement of performers, placement of speakers within the context of a musical composition for acoustical instruments assisted by digital technology. The two main concern are : 1. creation and editing of the score, 2. performance in real time on a sound spatialization device. The research implies first establishing an epistomology of spatial motions (topomorphology), then creating a set of graphical objects that will constitute a library of symbols. Once these symbols are placed and edited at the appropriate place on a musical staff (containing CWMN), inter-application communication will allow real-time rendering so as to permit the composer to hear the chosen spatial effects within his composition. Performers will have clear indications as to the interpretation of the composition and be able to hear a simulation of the spatialization prior to performance time. Engineers during performance or recording sessions will find their efforst maximized thanks to clear graphical indications.

Motion Gesture Music

MGM - Motion Gesture Music

A research project of the ICST - Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology (ICST) / ZHdK - Zurcher University of the Arts

Jan 2014-Dec. 2015

Research Team:

Jan Schacher / Daniel Bisig / Hanna Järveläinen / Patrick Nef / Christian Strinning / Germán Toro Pérez

Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation, snf




Music moves us, not just metaphorically, but also through the body. The project investigates the role of motion in composition and performance of music, and the way movement carries meaning and becomes gesture, which shapes our understanding of music.

In music and performance research, the focus has shifted away from the score towards the body. Psychology of music is investigating how physical movement influences our perception of music. Much research is done to measure and identify movements and their expressive characteristics, yet in the field of music composition methods to work with the concept of gesture are missing. In live-electronic styles, however, using gestures has become a standard practice.

The goal of the project is to develop analysis methods that enable the identification of gestures in composition and performance. Artistic practice is joined by three academic disciplines. Psychological research identifies gesture categories that inform music-perception. Music Technology uses motion data to recognise and categorise gestures in an automated way. And Music Analysis builds a framework for gestures classification in composition and performance.

The project contributions occur in these three domains. They extend the concepts in music psychology by categorisations, extends the predominant approach in music analysis by adding gesture as a foundational category and provides tools and methods for automated gesture analysis.
The project results benefit musicians situated at the intersections of art and science. The project provides a conceptual framework used to analyse musical works from a variety of styles, which again profits students in the domains of electro-acoustic composition, live-electronic performance and even media-arts.

Performance Practice of Electroacoustic Music

A research project of the ICST - Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology (ICST) / ZHdK - Zurcher University of the Arts

preliminar study

Performance Practice of Electroacoustic Music - the «Studio di Fonologia»- years

January 2012- December 2013

Project team ICST:
Germán Toro Pérez, Lucas Bennett, Angela de Benedictis

In collaboration with the Archivio di Fonologia, RAI Milano

External board:
Maddalena Novati, Alvise Vidolin, Veniero Rizzardi, Nicola Scaldaferri, Ulrich Mosch



Performance Practice of Electroacoustic Music: a practice-based Exchange between Musicology and Performance

September 2014 - July 2016

Project team:
Germán Toro Pérez (lead), Lucas Bennett, Florian Bogner, Federica Di Gasbarro, Carlos Hidalgo

In collaboration with the Paul Sacher Stiftung, Basle

External board:
Alvise Vidolin, Killian Schwoon, Pascal Decroupet, Veniero Rizzardi, Kees Tazelaar

Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation, snf


Database – Performance Practice of Electroacoustic Music

SACD Les Espaces Électroacoustiques

Project website



60 years after the birth of electroacoustic music, questions concerning performance practice are becoming increasingly relevant. Many composers who traditionally have been the foremost interpreters of their own music are now at old age or no longer alive. The same can be said of other important witnesses to history such as instrumentalists, conductors, technicians, studio assistants and musicians concerned with performance and sound projection. Younger generations of musicians and researchers are now becoming involved with this repertoire. For any of them, but particularly for performers, the question of how to perform a piece taking into account its specific artistic, historic and technical genesis becomes critical, considering that the technical means available nowadays are completely different from historical conditions. The disappearance of old technologies and the availability of new ones present challenges while also opening up new possibilities. Different attitudes and experiences of actual audiences must be taken into account as well. As in (instrumental) performance practice of older music, those questions lead into an area marked by the tension between historical performance practice and modern reception. The preservation of knowledge about the genesis of electroacoustic works, the original performance conditions and the development of a performance tradition is an essential prerequisite for developing an adequately informed interpretation practice.

In order to gather the evidence necessary for developing adequate interpretation criteria for specific works, thorough philological investigation of different sources like sketches, scores, diagrams, photographs, films, letters and audio documents must be undertaken. This necessitates the collaboration with relevant archives. The study of audio material like base recordings, working materials reflecting different compositional stages, preliminary mixes, different versions and historical performances must be done in hearing in analogy to the composition process in studio. Hypotheses on issues like versions, number of channels, spatial configuration of sound sources and audience, channel distribution, kind and properties of technical means, dynamics and spatialization of projected audio, amplification of instruments, etc. must then be validated in a dialogue with experienced performers and historical witnesses under spatial and technical conditions corresponding to real performances. The possibility to experiment with different sound projection devices and configurations according to artistic intentions and spatial conditions is a prerequisite.

Accordingly, the project aims to establish a research methodology for performance practice of electroacoustic music where musicologists and performers enter into a practice-based dialogue. Such a dialogue between theory and practice serves a double purpose: to deliver a model for research methodology and to yield concrete results with respect to compositions that can be considered exemplary study subjects in terms of the problems they present to performers.

Providing methods of study and practice-validated evidence that allow performers to formulate their own interpretation criteria, the overarching objective of the project is thus to contribute to the realization of artistically adequate performances of electroacoustic works.

The collaboration with the Paul Sacher Stiftung Basel as main scientific partner of the project allows focusing on an international repertoire of the highest artistic relevance, to benefit from profound knowledge about it and to have access to relevant documents. The choice of the specific works is to reflect a systematic approach aiming to expose the basic challenges for performance practice of electroacoustic music in an exemplary way. Included are electroacoustic works stored on fixed media with different formats and works for instruments and fixed audio. The continuing collaboration with a select group of European universities, archives, publishers, musicologists and performers constitutes a unique network that allows to integrate precious knowledge and experience and provides the basis for a broad impact.


Performance Practice of Live-Electronics

Upcomming, Sept. 2017-Aug. 2021