l'inouï #1
Introduction à FAMA de Furrer
Le travail de Philippe Leroux
Contents Issue n° 2
Contents Issue n° 1
Editorial staff
Events and News
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Aspects of Beat Furrer's Oeuvre

Daniel Ender

A portrait painted using successive touches of Furrer's artistic expression, this text addresses a number of distinctive features such as the biographical path of the composer's artistic vision, the connection with the visual arts, the taste for improvisation, the work of minute differentiation with the material, the metaphor of chiaroscuro, the complexity of the rhythmic processing, the musical and literary entanglements, the issue of continuity, and the significance of the voice.  In relation to some of these features, certain passages from Quatuor à cordes (1984) and Nuun (1995-1996) are commented in detail.

Cover, Discover... an Interview with Beat Furrer

Martin Kaltenecker

In this interview with Martin Kaltenecker, Beat Furrer reminisces about his beginnings in Vienna and his relationship with Roman Haubenstock-Ramati, his way of seeing musical writing – how we can rediscover an instrumental sound and "acquire" it, despite the historic connotation that define and cover it – or again, his interest for the coincidence of dramatic elements and formal thought inspired by Morton Feldman. In conclusion, he brings up some of his more recent pieces (notably for the stage): Aria, Die Blinden, Narcissus, Begehren, Invocation and FAMA.

FAMA, an Introduction

Daniel Ender

Fama is the name given to the goddess Rumor by Ovid in his Metamorphoses. The House of Rumor described by Ovid provides an astonishing structure, or method, for listening – for watching – that inspired FAMA (2005), the new "theater for listening" by Beat Furrer. In this piece, Ovid's text does not appear as such: the house of Fama and the acoustic situation make a space inside which one of the three major texts of Venetian culture at the end of the 19th century, Fraulein Else by Arthur Schnitzler, is projected. The vocal processing and drama by Furrer intensifies the piece's inherently musical stylistic and formal characteristics.

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From Voi(rex) to Apocalypsis: an Essay on the Interaction between Composition and Analysis

Philippe Leroux

The musical project Voi(rex)-Apocalypsis by Philippe Leroux is an integral part of a theoretical reflection on the relationship between composition and musical analysis. This article attempts, by putting the composer's musical experience in action, to look into what music analysis can bring to a creator at work: What musical elements does the analysis concentrate on? What are the objectives and perspectives in terms of composition? In light of this inspection, this article is dedicated to the description of the relationship between Voi(rex) and Apocalypsis, demonstrating how the latter is created from the corpus that made up the former.

The Composition of a Movement of Voi(rex), from its Formal Idea to its Structure

Nicolas Donin & Jacques Theureau

Based on an empirical study of the compositional work of Voi(rex) by Philippe Leroux, we propose a genetic analysis of the writing of the piece's fourth movement. It is particularly interesting to look at this movement from this perspective insofar as its writing explores an initial formal intuition, noted as a simple schema, whose musical realization was sufficiently complex to make difficult, but not impossible, the rediscovery of this schema through the published score. The success of the distance between the project and its realization is the subject not only of an analysis of the score (provided in this article) but also of the listening of this movement (provided on the DVD-rom).


Hugues Vinet

This text aims to provide a summary of the research issues linked to gesture, to the writing of musical time and to interaction as they are dealt with at IRCAM, as well as to present the contributions made by researchers, musicologists and composers on these subjects. The creation of "new instruments" associated to gesture-sensing systems and synthesis procedures raise issues on the relationships linking gesture and sound, from both a technical and stage-design point of view. Research on the writing of musical time aims to revamp the concepts and tools that formalize the temporal recording of musical events in order to surpass the current limits of interaction in real-time and to provoke a renewed confrontation between the live concert and the formal conception of a piece.

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Gesture: a Question of Composition

Pierre Jodlowski

To take into account the effect of musical action, of its visual as well as sonorous impact, implies making gesture the starting point for the writing and not its result. This question concerns composition generally, going well beyond musical theater and is not limited to technological issues. Following a few examples from Maurizio Kagel, Jani Christou and Thierry de Mey, the author illustrates his position based on some of his recent pieces: N,N,N (2001-2003, in collaboration with the choreographer Myriam Naisy); In & Out I for violin, cello and an audiovisual system (2004); Time & Money (2003-2006) produced in collaboration with the percussionist Jean Geoffroy and the video artist Vincent Meyer; and a collaboration with the choreographer Emmanuelle Huynh and the IRCAM teams.

Gestural Interfaces, Motion Capture and Artistic Creation

Frédéric Bevilacqua, Nicolas Rasamimanana & Norbert Schnell

In this article, we will present the scientific and artistic issues surrounding gesture interfaces and motion capture. Following a reminder of a few historic dates, we will argue the fact that gesture interfaces must be considered more generally, beyond the sphere of man-computer interaction. We will then describe the gesture interfaces used in a musical context and discuss more specifically the case of "augmented instruments" which are the subject of several research and development projects at IRCAM. We will concentrate particularly on the augmented violin, which gave way to a collective project involving the IRCAM Real-Time Applications research group and the composer Florence Baschet. Finally, we will describe issues connected to dance projects that make use of motion sensors.

Griffhand. An Introduction to Salut für Caudwell by Helmut Lachenmann

Laurent Feneyrou

Helmut Lachenmann wrote Salut für Caudwell, a radical piece for two guitarists, in 1977 when the Red Army Fraction increased its activity during the bloody "German Autumn". Two instrumentalists spit out a passage from Illusion and Reality by the English Marxist philosopher, Christopher Caudwell, offering the composer the opportunity to insist on the social resolve of freedom and creation. The subject of this article is the musical and political gestus of Salut für Caudwell, its structural or melodic accents, its ostinato and the salient rhythm "extremely calm and rigorous" of its violent salvos, used as the ultimate and exceptional gestural means, the extraordinary creativity of the playing modes limited to the guitar and the dialogue between the guitars, the haptic dimension of the lachenmannian language and its manifest for an art aware of its circumstances.

Staging Salut für Caudwell (Preliminary Notes and Retrospective Questions)

Xavier Le Roy

This text is made up of two parts: excerpts from the diary of Xavier Le Roy on the conception of the performance Mouvements für Lachenmann (the staging of pieces by Lachenmann that premiered in Vienna in 2005) and a dialogue, carried out by correspondence, between Xavier Le Roy and Nicolas Donin, on the performance and more specifically on the part dedicated to Salut für Caudwell, presented in June 2006 at the IRCAM Agora festival.

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Sound Installations: Towards an Interaction of Hearing/Body/Space

Olivier Warusfel

Playing with spatial dimension in a musical, scientific or gaming context may be enhanced by applying the multi-sensorial immersion and interactive potential derived from the virtual reality domain. This evolution leads to the concept of interactive sound installations where sound, body and space are involved in a multi-sensorial experience conducted on the basis of realistic or symbolic rules. Following the example of the Listen project, the paper presents the technological substrate of this concept and some preliminary questions regarding ways for authoring space and time in such context and the conditions for maintaining a perceptual and cognitive relevance of spatial transformations.

Musique Lab 2, an Environment to Assist Music Education

Fabrice Guédy

MusiqueLab 2 is a software package that enables the creation of musical tools for diverse educational situations. It is designed for students and teachers and concerns both general instruction in secondary schools and specialized training in music conservatories. This package contains three software programs capable of producing specific applications adapted to a specific problem: Musique Lab Annotation, Musique Lab Audio, and Musique Lab Maquette. We will present the ideas behind its conception and its essential functions using some examples of how Musique Lab has been used.

OpenMusic, from Composition to Teaching

Gérard Assayag & Jean Bresson

Over the past twenty years, IRCAM has developed a tradition of computer-assisted composition in connection with a unique group of concepts and technology. The environment most recently developed by the Musical Representations group, OpenMusic, has undergone a paradigm shift in comparison with its predecessors in the way it addresses musical time, offering a new idea of a dynamic and programmable score. The models made this way are true models of musical sequences that one is at liberty to define and explore in terms of all imaginable settings, including the control of the sound synthesis. More recently, the team designed an educational version of this environment, ML-maquette, as a part of the MusiqueLab 2 project, which aims to provide computer-assisted didactic tools for secondary schools and music conservatories.

Towards Multimedia Annotation of Musical Information

Nicolas Donin

From musical-instrument training to musicological analysis, passing by rehearsal situations, score notation practices are innumerable and their logic varies from one case to another. Annotating a score is not a trivial matter:  it is suggesting a certain way of reading and listening. An outcome of musicology studies on the different functions of musical annotation, the MusiqueLab Annotation software enables the user to create annotations on a given graphical and temporal support – notably an image of a score synchronized to its corresponding file. A few of this software program's distinctive features will be presented along with the musical possibilities it offers in the educational arena.

Sound Processing and Music Education

Fabrice Guédy

Destined for the development of educational tools that take advantage the possibility of manipulating sound in real-time, the Musique Lab Audio software program integrates numerous tools and processing methods that have come about through work carried out by the research teams at IRCAM. A concerted effort was placed on the external interfaces so that students could make use of the keyboard and mouse, use sensors or webcams in order to associate a specific gesture with synthesis parameters. While applications for analysis let the user visualize the characteristics of a sound, others are centered on creation, and still others permit students to work at home on mixed instrumental/computer pieces, encouraging the expansion of this repertory.

What is the Obligation of Music Education in the Internet Age?

Vincent Maestracci

With the changes it has brought about in the world of recorded music distribution and consumerism, Internet defies the very foundations of music education provided by the public education system. How then do we instruct the proper usage of the incessantly increasing quantity, and poorly organized, recorded music that one can access? What to do with the Sound, one parameter among others, but one which occupies a place more and more important in the musical perception of young generations? How to take advantage of the multiplication of individual listening devices (MP3) and in parallel teach and take advantage of this phenomena in the creation of culture? Finally, how do we prepare younger generations for the imminent arrival of tools for listening instrumentation, when the act of listening equals the act of creating?