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Composing (with) Moving Sounds: an Interdisciplinary Perspective

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This CIRMMT Research Workshop is co-organized by CIRMMT Research Axis 3 - Cognition, Perception, and Movement and CIRMMT Research Axis 4 - Expanded Musical Practice. Free Admission. No Registration Required. Co-organized by François-Xavier Féron and Catherine Guastavino.

  • Research Workshop
When Feb 22, 2017
from 09:00 AM to 05:30 PM
Where A832, Elizabeth Wirth Music Building
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 composing with moving sounds
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Spatial considerations in composition have existed for centuries. As early as the XVIe century, Adrien Willaert and Andrea and Giovani Gabrieli experimented with groups of musicians, positioned in different locations in the San Marco basilica in Venice. With the emergence of electroacoustic and mixed music after World War II, several composers became interested in the possibilities of not only positioning static sources in space but also moving sounds in space. Auditory motion thus became an integral aspect of musical works.

This interdisciplinary workshop brings together composers, performers, music scholars, cognitive scientists and acousticians, to investigate the conception, implementation, perception, recording/synthesis and reproduction of auditory trajectories in a musical context.

Questions addressed include: How do composers integrate spatial considerations, and moving sounds in particular, in their music? How does it impact performers in case of instrumental or mixed music? How do listeners perceive auditory trajectories? What are the different sound recording and production practices to capture and reproduce auditory trajectories?

Musical examples will be presented on a 5.1 loudspeaker array throughout the day. 

This workshop is made possible by the kind support of Mode Records (



9:00-9:15: Coffee Welcome

9:15-9:30: Opening Remarks by Catherine Guastavino

9:30-11:15: Spatial Trajectories: From Musical Considerations to Sciencific Investigations (and Vice Versa).

François-Xavier Féron (CNRS researcher, LaBRI-SCRIME – Université de Bordeaux / CIRMMT): Spatialization Figures in Contemporary Instrumental Music: the Emergence of a New Compositional Parameter.

Catherine Guastavino (Associate professor, McGill University / CIRMMT) and Cynthia Tarlao (PhD candidate, McGill University / CIRMMT): Overview of Perceptual Studies on Spatial Trajectories at CIRMMT.

Cedric Camier (Electro-acoustic composer, Research engineer in acoustics, Saint-Gobain Research Center): Sound Metamorphoses of Fast-Moving Sources in Cyclic Trajectories: the Compositional Process of an Electroacoustic Piece (Spatial Beating).

11:15-11:30: Coffee Break With a 5.1 musical surprise

11:30-12:15: Sound Sources and Audience in Motion.

Simone d’Ambrosio (Composer and sound designer, Audiotopie) and Etienne Legast (Composer and sound artist, Audiotopie): Attractions: Composing for an Urban Soundwalk.

12:15-1:00: Lunch Break (A light lunch will be provided)

1:00-2:45: Spatial Musical Practices

Philippe Leroux (Composer, Associate Professor, McGill University): L’œuvre musicale comme interface entre l’espace intérieur et l’espace extérieur: quelques application pratiques.

Guillaume Bourgogne (Conductor, Assistant professor, McGill University / Artistic director of the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble): Spatialized Set-up in Various Contemporary Pieces for Ensemble.

Technical and Aesthetic Considerations for the Performance, Recording and Production of Music with Spatial Trajectories: a Round Table with Fabrice Marandola (Performer in Sixtrum Percussion Ensemble, Associate professor, McGill University / CIRMMT) and Benoît Fabre (Professor, Sorbonne Universités – UPMC).


3:00-5:00: The Art of Space in Iannis Xenakis' Music

Sharon Kanach (Vice-president, Centre Iannis Xenakis – Université de Rouen): From Spatialization to Immersion : Xenakis's Use of Acoustics as a Compositional Component.

Polytope de Cluny - the Making of... : Conversation Between Robert Dupuy (Computer Music Designer of the Polytope de Cluny) and Sharon Kanach (Vice-president, Centre Iannis Xenakis – Université de Rouen).

During this panel, we will play, in Dolby Digital and 24-bit DTS 5.1 Surround Sound Hibiki Hana Ma in its entirety and also long excerpts of Terretektorh (upcoming Mode records release) and Polytope de Cluny (Mode 203, 2008).

5:00-5:30 presentation of MCGILL'S new mmr

Romain Dumoulin (CIRMMT Project Manager) and Julien Boissinot (CIRMMT Technical Manager): Future Opportunities for Spatial Music in the Multimedia Room: Rationale and Design of the Room Acoustics and the Sound System



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