A simplified graphic representation of the electronic music with the notation of the instrumental parts exists as a score. “Kontakte” exists in two versions: a four-track one for electronic sounds, of which the single or double-channel versions are particularly suitable for broadcasting or gramophone reproduction, and a second version for electronic sounds and pianoforte and percussion instruments. “Kontakte” was first performed in this version on June 11th 1960, at the 34th World Music Festival of the IGNM in Cologne with Christoph Caskel (percussion) and David Tudor (piano and percussion).
The composition was designed to combine electronic sounds with the sounds of traditional instruments in one piece. Stockhausen approached this task with a concept which was to let different instrumental colours merge into one another in a continuous sound-metamorphosis; there was to be a constant ‘lightening’ of the sound: sombre noises at the beginning of the piece, and light, ethereal sounds at the end.