foto: Jana Heinlein

this is matthias akeo nowak, professional bassist and „hobby- origamist“ based in cologne, germany. here i am writing about my process and work as a musician and humble composer in the self-chosen „riddle“ of translating origami structures ( into music. on the way, some detours might happen to share findings closely related to the topic mentioned above. enjoy!


„origami is to folding, as music is to sound“ (paul jackson)

folding (mirroring), geometry and numeric games as well as the field of musics inherent physics and mathematics (e.g. overtone series) has always been an attractive resource for composers of every genre. being drawn to a more systematic approach of composing and sonic experimentation, my focus lies on compositional tools, derived from writings, workshops, analysis, lessons, interviews and the „source direct“, music itself.

investigating pieces and compositions of my musical role models as well as experimenting and generating new material from a single source in order to build coherence and to embrace these limitations as a benefit for creative solutions, has been my main focus. techniques I found have been applied in compositional sketches and studies and result in different „lead- sheet- frameworks“.

taking advantage of the art of paper-folding, the possible visualisation and comprehension of folding processes, from simple to more complex, adding the philosophical aspects of the old japanese art- form origami, is leading towards a more fundamental understanding of both, logic and beauty. 

looking into the geometry of an unfolded origami allows to imagine musical forms, from the smallest detail to the whole plan. both ways being explored, building a musical piece from scratch, using the smallest detail related to an origami (e.g.A3-5) as well as creating music as close as possible (e.g. Primefish) to a “folding plan” allows to stretch out and investigate the limitations and conceptual freedom.