Iannis Xenakis his influence in music technology today

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IANNIS XENAKIS AND HIS INFLUENCE ON
MUSIC TECHNOLOGY TODAY
XENAKIS: AN INTRODUCTION
• May 29,1922 – February 4, 2001
• Greek composer, music theorist, and
architect/engineer
• Born in Romania. Ethnic Greek. Forced to flee to
Greece after being denounced a Communist. Later
became a naturalized citizen of France and worked
both in the US and in France.
• Post-war avant-garde composer
XENAKIS: OVERVIEW OF HIS METHODS
• Used mathematical models and applications of set
theory, stochastic (random) processes and game
theory to make his music.
• Mixing music with mathematics
• XENAKIS AS AN ARCHITECT
• http://www.iannis-xenakis.org/xen/archi/real.html
AS AN ARCHITECT
• Xenakis designed the hyperbolic Phillips Pavilion
with Le Corbusier for the 1958 Brussels World Fair.
• Edgard Varese’s “Poeme Eletronique”
• Concret PH” by Xenakis
• Idea: “Math can be applied to any art form”
• Le Corbusier’s sketches were hand over to Ixenakis
• He was to translate them through mathematics.
• Xenakis was working on“Metastasis”
• So, he turned his graphical musical sketches of Metastasis
into architectural schemes
“METASTASIS”
AS AN ARCHITECT
“METASTASIS”
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZazYFchLRI&fe
ature=player_embedded
“CONCRET PH”
• Crackling sound of burning charcoal
• Tape recording - cut into hundreds of tiny pieces
and arranged in various densities according to
theories of probability.
• Controlled individual elements of sound
• “Second-order sonorities”
• Spectrum of small moments in time  larger formal
structures
• Related to the concept of fractals
“ANALOGIQUE B”
• Tape piece written in 1959
• Xenakis’s first attempt at granular synthesis
• All sounds can be represented as micro-temporal pieces of
sound called “grains.”
• Xenakis used data that depicted a moment in time
and contained information regarding the density,
frequency and amplitude of grains at that moment
• Determined by Stochastics.
“ORIENT-OCCIDENT”
“BOHOR” (1962)
“BOHOR” (1962)
CELLULAR AUTOMATA (CA)
• Colored cells on a grid of a specified shape
• Cells change through discrete time steps based on a set of
rules defined by surrounding cells.
• “On” and “off” states
• Discrete model – computability theory, mathematics,
physics, biology, and microstructure modeling.
• Xenakis used CA calculated with his “pocket computer”
to determine the succession of chords within a rational,
perceptible structure
• His mapping was based on pre-determined pitches and
the state of the cell chose the instrumentation.
CELLULAR AUTOMATA
• Left: Close up of
Xenakis’ text/symbol
pocket computer
printout for his piece
“Horos”
• Right: Graphic blocks
and stretched to line
up with printout
IN TERMS OF MAPPING
• Xenakis was the first composer to make
mathematical concepts popular in composition.
• Mapping – using numbers plugged into a system
that recognizes values and manipulates data by
presenting it in a way that makes sense to our
minds.
IN TERMS OF MAPPING
• Xenakis designed the UPIC (computerized music
composition tool) and is the inspiration behind the
program called (IanniX)
• IanniX is a program that can be integrated with Max
IN TERMS OF MAPPING
• Dynamic stochastic synthesis
• http://www.cycling74.com/forums/topic.php?id=16542
• IanniX
• Graphical open source sequencer
• http://vimeo.com/25041544
UPIC
• Digitalizing tablet linked to a computer with a
vector display.
• Draw waveforms and volume envelopes on the tablet
• Compose with the waveforms by drawing
"compositions" on the tablet
• X-axis = time
• Y-axis = pitch.
• Compositions can be stretched in duration,
transposed, reversed, inverted, and other algorithmic
transformations.
• Allows for real time performance by moving the stylus
across the tablet.
UPIC
UPIC
AUTUMN THEATER FESTIVAL, PARIS
• XENAKIS' POLYTOPE II DE CLUNY (2008)
• http://thesoundofeye.blogspot.com/2010/05/antoncabalero-xenakis-polytope-ii-de.html
CONTRIBUTION
• Founded the Center for Musical Mathematics and
Automation
• France and the US:
• Center Iannis Xenakis (CIX)
• Xenakis Project of the Americas (XPA)

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