Dufeu, Frédéric (2011) Building analytical tools from digital instruments: methods and perspectives for program reconstructions in Max/MSP and SuperCollider. In: 7th European Music Analysis Conference (VII EUROMAC), 29th September - 2nd October 2011, Rome, Italy. (Unpublished)

The analysis of electroacoustic music involving digital technologies often addresses the understanding of the computed interaction between actions – or gestures – and their subsequent musical results. Evaluating the particular instantiation of a programming language within a composition may thus be a condition of completing an analysis based on a score and its adjacent writings. Besides, studying a computer program dedicated to musical creation may not be only based on observation. The digital instrument, on condition that its associated program is available and exploitable, may also be transformed by the musicologist for analysis purposes. Practically, this approach raises two major diffi culties: fi rstly, it requires from the analyst obvious skills in computer music languages; secondly, assuming these skills are established, the programs still may be tedious to observe, appropriate, and transform, as they were designed to be operational, not to be studied by anyone else than the composer or his assistant. The aim of this contribution is to propose two program reconstructions improving their accessibility to the analyst. The considered works are Neptune for percussionists and live electronics by Philippe Manoury (1991), whose associated program is written in Max/MSP, and Soliloque sur [X, X, X et X] by Fabien Lévy (2002), for six digital samples transformed by a solo computer programmed in SuperCollider. With the example of the fourth section of Neptune, it will be shown the opportunity to simulate the vibraphonist’s playing and to evaluate his actual control over the tempi of the electroacoustic sequences, which is only mentioned in its general principle in Manoury’s writings. The program reconstruction of the fi rst section of Soliloque will allow to listen to each of its patterns independently and to obtain their visual representations, which is not possible given the state of the program as it is available online for public executions.
The main purpose of this research on the methods for digital instrument reconstruction is not only the analysis itself, but also the creation of accessible tools dedicated to further analysis by musicologists who may not necessarily be experts in computer music languages. Illustrated with two well-known contemporary works, the introduction of such an approach should open up perspectives for the study of electroacoustic music, as well as for its pedagogy. It should also be useful for composers and programmers themselves, who may be attentive to the becoming of their works and their digital implementations, for which an easier and fully comprehensible access certainly allows a better transmission to interpreters and musicologists.

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email