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flat), high maracas, low m’tumba

V: vibraphone, low maracas, 1 low suspended cymbal, 2 tam-tams (low,

medium), tambourine, 2 gongs (low, medium)
VI: hammer glockenspiel, marimba, small high side drum (tarole), snareless side
drum, 2 large cymbals (two-handed)
! Publisher: Schott (Mainz)
‘I had initially written these for a single percussionist: he was accompanying his
wife, a dancer from Hamburg, Dora Hoyer, who had commissioned the work.
Then, I made a version for four instrumentalists which did not have much
success, and finally for the forces of Les Percussions de Strasbourg—six
performers made the work a triumph!’
‘The percussion achieve what was long the unconscious object of my research
with that of numerous contemporary musicians: the liberation from diatonic
frameworks, ill-suited for expressing the contemporary sensibility... Here, in the
first etude, the periods are essentially melodic periods and where the harmony
transmutes in density, the harmonic resonances of the gongs and cymbals
contribute the element of liberation in relation to the diatonic gradation.
‘In the second etude, density reigns from start to finish over a rhythmic
environment and densities as ambiguous as the rumblings of a crowd. The side
drum solo is a “spectre” reduced to the sole articulation of a vocal line. At the
same time improvised, free and inspired, it requires a sort of trance-like state of
the performer: it reaches its expressive height. Unshakeable accompaniment
rhythm as in primitive ceremonies and a hum of a sort of chorus in response.
‘Etude 3: distortion of a single sound, F, with irisation of its whole harmonic
spectrum. Depending on the point of where the Chinese cymbal is struck, the
sound is distorted, unfolds, etc., becomes a dewdrop of sound in a rainbow or a
fixed dot of light.
‘The fourth etude is a rhythm study that is nonetheless melodic and in strophic
form, proceeding by inversions and juxtapositions of various sections. It affects a
particular research in the dull colours of skins struck by sticks and still ends with
a vibration of timbres, also dull, fading out in a roll in a final vibration of

Seven instrumentalists

SIGNES (no. 58) Playing time: approx. 20’

6 pieces for flute (+ piccolo), chromatic cithara and cithara in thirds of tones (1
performer), piano and 4 percussionists
Percussion instruments: hammer glockenspiel, vibraphone, xylomarimba, celesta,
1 set of crotales, 5 Chinese cymbals (C, D, F, F sharp, A), 3 suspended cymbals
(high, medium, low), 1 pair of 2-handed cymbals, 2 tam-tams (medium, low), 5
gongs, 2 pairs of maracas, 1 guiro, 2 temple blocks (high, low), 1 pair of high
claves, 1 tambourine, 2 bongos (high, low), 2 Saharan drums (tuned
approximately C and B), 1 tarole, 1 second side drum, 1 snareless side drum, 5
tom-toms (A, B, F sharp, F natural, G), 1 bass drum (medium)
! Publisher: Amphion, 1967 (taken over by Universal)

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