Eric Montalbetti : "Mode/Scale" - Serge Lemouton

A bach computer assisted composition tool

Presented by: Serge Lemouton

During this presentation, we will demonstrate the software environment (developed using the Bach library) used by Eric Montalbetti to compose in his personal harmonic system. Some musical examples will be played to illustrate this system. Like many composers of his generation, Eric Montalbetti sought to construct his musical language by reconciling serialism and modality in the broad sense.
To do this, he defined a set of modes and harmonic scales. It quickly became apparent to him that the classification of modes and scales constitutes a closed system of 18 “modscales” respecting a set of given rules. It then seemed necessary to him to be able to explore more systematically all the characteristics and possible sequences between these models in all of their transpositions.
The machine can generate all kinds of arpeggios derived from the generative structure specific to each scale, and check the correspondence of this or that musical fragment to certain of these arpeggios.
It is also interesting to be able to analyze each result according to its more or less serial qualities (by marking with a color code the order of appearance of the twelve tones), or according to whether or not it contains symmetries (underlined in graphic form ), etc.
The study of all of these results makes it possible to deduce possible connections or modulations, as well as more or less vivid oppositions, or even the interest of polymodal superpositions, and therefore to better control the harmonic palette.
After having worked a lot "by hand" and tinkering with a few patches in OpenMusic, Eric Montalbetti felt the need for more elaborate programming and asked IRCAM to have tools that were both better targeted and more easily manageable and exportable.
Serge Lemouton has thus developed a new program under Max/Bach which makes it possible to explore a library of given modes and harmonic scales, to generate different forms of arpeggios, and to analyze any musical fragment, whether defined as a suite of precise pitches or as a series of absolute intervals, depending on the given harmonic library.
This working tool, open to other developments still to be built, seems to us to be of interest to any composer with harmonic concerns, and we will therefore happily present the principle as well as some musical examples to the Forum members.

Eric Montalbetti biography

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