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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

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Iannis xenakis and his influence on music technology today

IannisXenakis and his influence on music technology today

Xenakis an introduction
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
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


    • http://www.iannis-xenakis.org/xen/archi/real.html

As an architect
As an architect

  • Xenakisdesigned the hyperbolic Phillips Pavilion with Le Corbusier for the 1958 Brussels World Fair.

    • EdgardVarese’s “PoemeEletronique”

    • 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.

    • Xenakiswas working on“Metastasis”

    • So, he turned his graphical musical sketches of Metastasis into architectural schemes


  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZazYFchLRI&feature=player_embedded

Concret ph
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
Analogique B”

  • Tape piece written in 1959

  • Xenakis’sfirst 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.

Bohor 1962
Bohor” (1962)

Bohor 19621
Bohor” (1962)

Cellular automata ca
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.

  • Xenakisused 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
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
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 mapping1
In terms of mapping

  • Xenakisdesigned 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 mapping2
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


  • Digitalizing tablet linked to a computer with a vector display.

    • Draw waveforms and volume envelopes on the tablet

    • Compose with the waveformsby 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.

Autumn theater festival paris
Autumn theater festival, paris


    • http://thesoundofeye.blogspot.com/2010/05/anton-cabalero-xenakis-polytope-ii-de.html


  • Founded the Center for Musical Mathematics and Automation

  • France and the US:

    • Center IannisXenakis (CIX)

    • Xenakis Project of the Americas (XPA)