Portfolio of the composer Dr Christian Dimpker




N. 21 (2017) Warenwirtschaft

Spieler 1 | player 1: Sayaka Nojiri, Spieler 2 | player 2: Sabrina Ma, Spieler 3 | player 3: Robert Schwarz

N. 19 (2017) Utopia III: For female voice

Soprano: Phoebe Pimlott

N. 3 (2011) Studies on the notation of electroacoustic music

Realisation: Emad Parandian, Robert Schwarz, Francisca Gonçalves & Christian Dimpker

N. 14 (2014, rev. 2018) Utopia (omaggio a Luciano Berio)

Flöte | Flute: James DeVoll

N. 21 (2017) Warenwirtschaft

Spieler 1 & 2) | Player 1 & 2: Sayaka Nojiri, Spieler 3 | player 3: Robert Schwarz

N. 10 (2013) Sýnthesis

Realisation: Christian Dimpker

N. 3 (2010, rev. 2011-12) Zu vier Händen – Interventionen für Konzertflügel

Klavier | Piano: Hanni Liang, Assistenz | Assistance: Tae-Min Hyun

N. 11 (2013) String quartet I

Ensemble: ConTempo String Quartet

N. 1 (2010, rev. 2011-12) Tatsachen in zwei Sätzen

Violine | Violin: Eugene Nakamura

Konstrukte | Rauschen | Rückkopplung


In the study of music, most of the extended instrumental playing techniques, as well as electroacoustic music in general, are still deprived of conventional methods of notation. In order to facilitate the utilisation of these musical elements, this book develops a coherent and consistent notation system. It contains chapters on string instruments, wind instruments, percussion instruments, plucked instruments, keyboard instruments, and vocal techniques, as well as sound synthesis, audio processing, and sound recording. All relevant techniques are explained in detail. Previous methods of their notation are presented and discussed, as well as a simple and exact method of notation that may be combined with the traditional notation suggested for every technique. The book can be used as a guide on extended and electroacoustic instrumentation for composition students and lecturers, musicologists, composers, performers, music arrangers, sound engineers, and editors. Composers interested in augmented means of sound production are encouraged to employ the suggested system, elaborate it, or use it as a source of inspiration.

Abstract (notated) electroacoustic music

Basically, there are only very few examples of electroacoustic notation, most of them having been conceived briefly after World War II. The reasons are that electroacoustic processes are very complex and it is hard to depict them in a score. Moreover, it is also not necessary to do so as the composer – in opposition to instrumental music – may operate all sound producers himself and, by doing so, become an interpreter of his own music. Hence an electroacoustic composer is able to produce very complex works without any help.

So if this is possible, why should one notate electroacoustic music? First of all, one needs to understand that this form of electroacoustic music is considered to be an alternative to »traditional« electroacoustic music and not a replacement. One also needs to acknowledge that it is not possible to produce as complex pieces as it is possible by means of audio software. This is due to that the paper size restricts the number of parallel processes. Even though there have been various attempts to overcome such restrictions (e. g. Ligeti’s Apparitions, Stockhausen’s Punkte or Gruppen as well as Boulez’s Notation I-IV), it needs to be acknowledged that the number of concurrent events has to be limited. This is because an extremely large score becomes – either due to its sheer size or the number of simultaneous events – unreadable, which compromises its instantaneous comprehension, and hence sight-reading (in terms of live-electronic music or the reception of electroacoustic music).

On the other hand notated electroacoustic music offers a special visual level that facilitates analysing the piece. I believe that this kind of clear and comprehensible accessibility may only be offered through the visual depiction of music by means of a score. Moreover, a score adds a unique interrelated visual artwork to an electroacoustic piece and creates an additional level of perception because one can now read and listen to a piece of music at the same time. Personally, I consider this form of cognition as the most beautiful way of perceiving a musical work. Finally, a score enables you to create versions/interpretations of the same piece. Hence one can explore different insights into the same piece and detach it from the past by re-creating it in the present.

For these reasons, and because my sole focus is the notation of music, I decided to develop a system of notation for electroacoustic music (and unconventional instrumental playing techniques). The result of this decision is a treatise called Extended notation – The depiction of the unconventional. The coherent and consistent system developed in this treatise adheres to a number of criteria. In order to limit the scope of this essay, I will only outline them briefly: the methods of notation are supposed to be 1. as exact as possible and 2. as simple as possible. Moreover, they may 3. not be contradictory to traditional notation, but should instead extend and be closely related to it. Finally, in order to guarantee that the additions are legitimate, they need to be compatible with, and distinct from, all other signs of the system.

When willing to notate electroacoustic processes, one needs to take into account that there are barely any conventions and few previous examples of notation, most of them being contradictory to the above criteria. Furthermore, various compositions that involve electroacoustic means of sound production, transformation or modulation, require the utilisation of particular synthesisers, effects units or special audio software. However, due to the rapid evolution of technology, it is quite probable these will become obsolete. This development can be compared to the history of acoustic instruments. Performances that involve Renaissance instruments, such as soprano cromornes or tenor shawms, are rare because these types of instruments are no longer part of the orchestral apparatus. With regard to electroacoustics, it is at present hard to determine whether a particular synthesiser will be part of the electroacoustic apparatus of the future. To give an example, it is possible that the Yamaha DX 7 II-FD, the Roland D-50 or the Yamaha effects unit SPX 900 Stockhausen employs in Invasion-Explosion mit Abschied will still be available when this work is performed in a century or two. However, it is rather unrealistic since the manufacture of these devices has already ceased. In fact, many synthesiser types have already become extinct and the usefulness of scores that involve these instruments is compromised by them having been written specifically for equipment that is now obsolete.

Therefore, in Extended notation, the notation of electroacoustic music is not achieved by the depiction of particular synthesisers, effects units or microphone models. Instead, the fundamental processes and parameters of electroacoustic sound production, transformation and modulation are examined and a notation system developed on this basis. By doing so, the developments rest upon accessible and sound knowledge that will most probably be preserved. Hence the processes the methods depict remain reproducible, can be realised without direct contact to the composer and are synthesiser-, device- and software-independent.

SVG-Dateien für Notationssoftware

In diesem Ordner befinden sich die Notationsmethoden, die in Extended notation entwickelt wurden, als SVG-Dateien. Zudem sind auch übliche, nicht in Notationssoftware vorhandene Methoden enthalten. Der Ordner ist unvollständig, wird aber beständig aktualisiert.

SVG files for notation software

In this folder, one can find the methods of notation developed in Extended notation as SVG files. It also contains common methods that are not available in notation software. The file is incomplete, but will be updated constantly.



Christian Dimpker wurde 1982 in Hamburg geboren. Er ist Komponist und Musiktheoretiker. Dimpker hat Philosophie, Geschichte und Sound Studies studiert. Zudem besitzt er einen Doktortitel in der Musikwissenschaft/Komposition. Dimpker arbeitet als Komponist, Notensetzer, Autor und Dozent in Berlin. Seine Kompositionen erforschen unkonventionelle Bereiche der Notation. Um dazu in der Lage zu sein hat er ein weitreichendes Notationssystem für erweiterte instrumentale Spieltechniken und die elektroakustische Musik entwickelt. Die Abhandlung mit dem Titel Extended notation: The depiction of the unconventional wird vom LIT Verlag herausgegeben. Dimpker hat zahlreiche Auszeichnungen und Stipendien für seine Arbeit bekommen, seine Stücke wurden international aufgeführt (unter anderem SWR Experimentalstudio, St. John’s Smith Square, Künstlerdorf Schöppingen, RWE/innogy Stiftung, Deutsche Künstlerhilfe, Tokyo Wonder Site oder CMMR Konferenz). Zudem hat er als Notensetzer u. a. Helmut Lachenmanns Schreiben für Breitkopf & Härtel gesetzt sowie Musiktheorie in Großbritannien, Deutschland und Hongkong gelehrt.



Christian Dimpker was born in 1982 in Hamburg, Germany. He is a composer and music theorist. Dimpker has studied Philosophy, History and Sound Studies. Additionally, he has a PhD in Musicology/Composition. Dimpker works as a composer, music engraver, author and lecturer in Berlin. His compositions explore unconventional fields of notation. In order to be able to do this, he has developed an extensive notation system for extended playing techniques as well as electroacoustic music. This treatise with the title Extended Notation: The Depiction of the Unconventional has been released by the LIT Verlag publishers. Dimpker has received numerous awards and grants for his works, while his pieces have been performed internationally (inter alia SWR Experimentalstudio, St John’s Smith Square, Künstlerdorf Schöppingen Foundation, RWE/innogy foundation, German Artist Fund, State of Berlin, Tokyo Wonder Site or CMMR conference). Engraving works include Helmut Lachenmann’s Schreiben for Breitkopf & Härtel and teaching assignments have been held in the UK, Germany and Hong Kong.

Curriculum vitae


5 + 2 = ?


Even a composer has to eat. The less time I have to spend earning money otherwise, the more time I can dedicate to composing. If you appreciate what I am doing, and have the means to do so, please consider making a donation. As a sign of my gratitude I will send a little present.

Sogar ein Komponist muss essen. Je weniger Zeit ich damit verbringen muss auf andere Weise Geld zu verdienen, desto mehr Zeit kann ich dem Komponieren widmen. Falls Du meine Arbeit schätzt und über die Mittel verfügst, denke über eine Spende nach. Als Zeichen meiner Dankbarkeit werde ich ein kleines Präsent schicken.