Manuel Rocha Iturbide was born in 1963 in Mexico City, Manuel Rocha Iturbide studies composition at the Escuela Nacional de Música at UNAM. He finishes an MFA in electronic music and composition at Mills College. In Paris, he finishes a PHD in computer music at the University of Paris VIII in 1999. He has worked at different studios like UPIC, GRM, IRCAM, LIEM, BANFF, IMEB, in order to produce works. He worked as a researcher at IRCAM developing GiST (1994-95) and later as a professor at the University of Paris VIII (1995-96). He has received prizes and honorific mentions from different international contests like Bourges, Russolo, Ars Electronica and the Schaeffer Prize. His music has been performed all around the world. He is also an artist and his work has been showed at important galleries and museums as ”Artist Space NY 1997”,  “Sydney Biennale 1998”, “ARCO 1999”, “Art or Sound” show at Prada Foundation Italy (2014), etc. He has produced works for important ensembles such as Court Circuit, Arditti String Quartet, Onix and Liminar. He currently lives in Mexico City where he is a full time professor and researcher in the art deparment at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana University (UAM). He also teaches composition at UNAM. His web page is www.artesonoro.net

Urform Piano – dedicated to Francoise Barriere

Writer and scientist Johan Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), conceived a morphology science providing a method that would make evident pure phenomena in nature (Urphänomene), making intuitive laws behind the perceptive forms and living nature formations, through a disciplined perception. Goethe studied the diverse forms of plants and animals, their transformation and development, searching for the necessary laws to understand them starting from the Urformen concept, which means original, primordial and archetypical ideal forms, based in the perception and not in abstract ideas. These ideas originated starting from an epistemologie based in aesthetics and art. 

The concept of Urform connects me in a direct way with the Schaefferian sound perception phenomenology, and from there, with the perceptual study of the different characteristics of a sound source, equivalent to a plant or an animal. In this case, it is about the Piano Forte and its characteristic sounds, strings stroked by hammers, short or long sounds but always resonant that can create different combinations of melodies, chords, trills, scales, arpeggios, etc. Also, it is about any other type of feasible sounds in the Piano, starting from its acoustic structure, like strokes and strumming directly in the strings or in its wooden box with any kind of artifacts (percussion sticks, etc.).

Starting from this Urform ideal, we can think not only on the primordial and archetypical form of each one of the characteristic sounds of the Piano (Urform short note, Urform Chord, Urform Trill, etc), but also on the idea of the Piano Forte itself, an archetypical form of the global instrument with all its potential and possibilities, starting from these original forms and their possible developments and sonic unfolding’s.

Let’s think of the ideal original forms in nature, for example, leaf ribs, that although they are always very different form each other, they have a basic common Urform, an origin that makes them all leafs. Searching for this essence, for this holistic Urform of the Piano Forte, is the point of departure of this work, thanks to all the phenomenological work of perceiving and intuiting of all the micro original forms of the pianistic sounds that conform this macro Urform, giving way out to one work (this one) out of millions of other possible works, but that is conformed in a very particular way, thanks to this profound inquiry of the infinite metamorphoses of the natural piano forms, expressed in agreement with a rule: the intern relation of the forms based in one only archetype, its Urform.