Rolf Gehlhaar: A Pioneer in Creative Music Technology


This article evaluates the contribution to contemporary music and digital sound design of the German-American composer and inventor Rolf Gehlhaar (1943–2019). It sets in context his creative output, commencing with a biographical overview of his education in the USA, early career as a member of Stockhausen’s circle in Cologne, and subsequent work as a composer informed by an increasing humanitarian commitment to the development of technological resources designed to widen participation in musical creation and performance. In drawing on published re-sources as well as the personal memories of the author, the article develops an initial bibliographical resource intended to represent existing research in the fields to which Gehlhaar made a key contribution, and to stimulate investigation into his life, times and continuing influence. While the article sets out to record these achievements, it also seeks to capture the character and personality of the man behind them.


accessibility, interface, improvisation, computer, electro-acoustic

How to Cite

Bannan, N. (2020) “Rolf Gehlhaar: A Pioneer in Creative Music Technology”, Journal of Creative Music Systems. 4(1). doi:






Nicholas Bannan (University of Western Australia)




Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

Peer Review

This article has been peer reviewed.

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