Element 2: Making music without limits


This module section focuses on the intuitive performance and interpretation of the text composition “Unbegrenzt” (“Unlimited”) from Karlheinz Stockhausen’s “From the Seven Days” (No. 26, 1968). Its high degree of interpretive freedom, which demands clear decisions from the pupils, poses a challenge. In several run-throughs, the decisions made are reflected in class and then refined in the performance. The reflection is primarily concerned with the way in which musical quality can develop through the serious realisation of the text.

All pupils are equally responsible for the success of the interpretation. They are active members of the ensemble in the performance as well as in the reflection. A musical performance is created through individual and collective creativity in class.

  • Duration:  2 x 90 min

Key words creativity & entrepreneurship: Flow of ideas, Originality, Production and overtaking risks

Best Practice

Karlheinz Stockhausen: "Unbegrenzt"


  1. Preparation: Pupils bring their own instruments or choose one of the available school instruments. The use of the voice or of body instruments is also possible.
  2. The pupils sit in a semi-circle and place the instruments in front of them.
  3. The original score of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s text composition “Unlimited” is projected on the wall, or alternatively, pupils read the text.
  4. The pupils realise the playing instructions instrumentally / vocally – the teacher participates by either performing together with the pupils or by listening actively. If possible, the first version is recorded digitally. At the end of the first version, the results will be reflected in class:
    • Verbalising impressions on, for example, cards that are collected on a pin board
    • Sorting and differentiating the impressions. Examples of reflective questions:
      • What does a precise realisation of the playing instructions mean?
      • What exactly is meant by the terms “certainty”, “time” and “space”?
      • How precisely did we follow the playing instructions?
      • How varied was the realisation of freedom in space and time?
      • Were the differences audible for all?
      • How clearly could you hear the others (including those that were seated furthest)?
    • Making suggestions for qualitative improvement

5. Depending on the level of concentration, further run-throughs follow and are again recorded digitally. After each performance, or after listening to the digital recording, pupils reflect on their experience, make changes and practice.


  1. In individual work, pupils write their own texts, which may serve as playing instructions
  2. Pupils read and present all texts
  1. In class or in group work, a text is selected for performance:
    Project example:

School mornings
Start with a quiet rest,
to finish, going wild is best.

  1. Realisation of “School mornings” on instruments selected by the group. Subsequent reflection on:
    • The length of the parts in comparison:
      1. Part 1 “Start with a quiet rest,” and
      2. Part 2 “to finish, going wild is best.”
    • The dynamic balance: Are there any instruments that, for example, dominate by their volume and possibly drown out the remaining instruments?
    • The differentiation between the real action “going wild” and its transposition onto the sound-musical level: Demonstrating that an individual high-volume sound performance may have a more powerful effect than random, loud play on instruments.
  2. Implementing suggestions for improvement/change.


The pupils are able to:

  • express verbal playing instructions and inner sound concepts instrumentally/vocally.
  • listen to each other and appropriately integrate their own play in the ensemble play with others.
  • learn about aesthetic qualities and can reflect on and further develop their play accordingly.
  • transpose the idea of real actions into sound.


  • Karlheinz Stockhausen: text composition From the Seven Days (No. 26, 1968) Unlimited
  • paper and pens for individual work
  • recording device