Providing access to music-theatre works with electronic sound on tape: The case of Constança Capdeville

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Constança Capdeville was a composer and one of the most prominent figures in Portuguese contemporary music. She also stands out as the most representative example of the music- theatre genre, which saw its most intense period of activity in Portugal peak between the 1970’s and the 1980’s.This genre was explored by Capdeville through her close contact with the Grupo de Música Contemporânea de Lisboa (GMCL), conducted by Jorge Peixinho, also a renowned Portuguese composer.They were collectively responsible for bringing to Portugal some of the trends in the contemporary music of their time, for example through attending the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt.
Regarding the music-theatre genre, Capdeville not only assimilated some of the conceptions of Mauricio Kagel but also developed her own language through exploring the “new sonorities” concept to the limit, creating, rehearsing, and conducting her own compositions. Capdeville ad- ditionally founded the ColecViva theatre group with the core purpose of performing her own music-theatre compositions.We would furthermore note that in Capdeville’s music-theatre works, every facet of the composition plays a relevant role, even the simplest of objects. She thus explores the concept of “new sonorities” to the maximum. Some of Capdeville’s works have also been composed within a context of combining electroacoustic music on magnetic tape and instrumental music.These different dimensions of her compositions mean incorpo- rating a new electronic component, which requires new approaches not only as regards the appropriate analytical processes but also the preservation strategies necessary to retaining the media1. Daniel Teruggi argues that magnetic tape brought about new scope for manipulation and higher quality recordings, less degradation through usage and an improved recording dura- tion as compared to other historical mechanical recording formats, such as cylinders, coarse groove discs, and micro groove discs. However, despite being less fragile and more resistant to stress, depending on their chemical composition and format, magnetic tapes recorded a long time ago tend to deteriorate, thus endangering their viability (Teruggi, 2004). Taking into ac- count the previous statements, this article aims to put forward a general reflection on a meth- odology appropriate to understanding how we can, or cannot, re-perform Capdeville’s music works in the future by preserving not only the magnetic tape media but also their performance as well as analysing some of these works within a musicological context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-60
Number of pages12
JournalIASA Journal
Issue number47
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2018


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