Spectral Composition Course

Spectral Composition by Dr. Benoit Granier (France/China)

The Program in composition focuses on sound and music through an investigation of sound psychology and behavior. From 1970, Spectral composers used sound as a model to create music, This technique is using computer analysis of the quality of timbre in music, where compositional decisions are often informed by sonographic representations, psychoanalysis as well as mathematical analysis of sound spectra.
Gerard Grisey, one of the most important and pioneer in that area of music define his process in music as:

I personally start more with the physical aspect of things, the physical aspect of sounds, of different spectrums, the quality of spectrums. Spectral CompositionAnd I leave the rest — it might be most important — but I leave the cultural aspect to the audience. To the listener. And also the completely enormous subconscious aspect of writing music — which I am totally unaware of what I am doing.

In order to fully understand such current and techniques, students will go trhough theoretical studies concerning sound behavior, physical properties as well as psychological understanding of the true nature of the sound (acoustics and music cognition), analysis, synthesis and transformation through the use of computer (as well as the creation of musical model based on computer manipulation in both fixed media and real-time interaction) as well as its application to the medium of acoustic and/ or electro-acoustic medium through comsoition and analysis of some of the major work created by spectral (Gerard Grisey and Tristan Murail) an pre-spectral composers (Debussy, Messiaen, Ligeti, Stockhausen). The course will also introduce participants to the notion of graphical scores and controlled improvisation , which where develop during the 70’s in order to fit with a new aesthetics that required new notation techniques (music happening over long period of time, advanced technique, micro tonality and micro timbre and so on….)