The book

The first part of this book contains an interview with Tristan Murail and three essays on musical works of Claude Vivier (Lonely child, 1980), Gérard Grisey (Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil, 1997–98), and Tristan Murail (Le lac, 2001) by Bob Gilmore, Jean-Luc Hervé, and Rozalie Hirs. The authors provide detailed analyses of these works, focusing on the frequency-based techniques and compositional processes employed by the composers.

The second part of the book originated in OpenMusic and Contemporary Compositional Techniques, a series of lectures and workshops given by Rozalie Hirs and guest professors Tristan Murail, Mikhail Malt, Benjamin Thigpen, Marco Stroppa, and Niels Bogaards at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam during the 2005/06 academic year. The series was initiated by the Nieuw Ensemble and its artistic director, Joël Bons, as part of the annual Componistenpracticum. The Nieuw Ensemble and conductor Lucas Vis rehearsed and performed new pieces written by an international group of composition students from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and the Royal Conservatoire in the Netherlands. In turn, the students documented their creative process in the seven essays included in this volume. An extensive essay on Tristan Murail’s compositional ideas and frequency-based techniques originated in the lecture series given by Rozalie Hirs. It provides the most detailed discussion of Murail’s work available in English. Press release [PDF]

The two articles by Rozalie Hirs were written with financial support by Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds (2003-05) and Amsterdam School of the Arts (2006-07). The article On Murial’s Le lac was part of her D.M.A. dissertation at Columbia University (2007). Since 14 June 2023 all articles by Hirs have also been available from the Academia website. Happy reading!

The software

All OM patches discussed in the book were programmed in OpenMusic. All OM patches illuminating the ideas and techniques of Tristan Murail employ the OMTristan library. The original OMTristan library was developed by Tristan Murail. Rozalie Hirs merged OMTristan with the original Esquisse library; the menu and object names were unified and translated into English; those characters that are forbidden or active in CommonLISP were removed from the object names. It was upgraded to versions 3.0 and 3.1 for use with higher versions of OM and MacOsX by Jean Bresson, and further debugged into version 3.2 by António Florença for use with the latest OpenMusic software. In the summer of 2016 Tristan Murail and Rozalie Hirs added some new functions to the OMTristan 3.3. In the Spring of 2018 Jean Bresson updated the library to OMTristan 3.4 in order to make it compatible with OpenMusic 6.13.

Current version of OpenMusic 7.2 & OMTristan 3.4

Currently, I am using OpenMusic 7.2 (on macOS), which is compatible with the OMTristan 3.4 library. Fluidsynth works well for playback (in order to install fluidsynth, just follow the guidelines here; you can find a selection of soundfonts for fluidsynth here). Enjoy your work with OMTristan 3.4!

Rozalie Hirs, Amsterdam, 14 June 2023

Previous OMTristan libraries

OMTristan 2.0 for Mac PPC and pre-Intel versions of OM
OMTristan 3.0 for Mac Intel and PPC and OM 6.1.2-6.5
OMTristan 3.1 for higher versions of OM and MacOsX (14 February 2014)
OMTristan 3.2 for the current version of OpenMusic (7 October 2015)
OMTristan 3.3 with added functionalities, for the current version of OpenMusic 6.10-6.12 (19 August 2016)
OMTristan 3.4 compatible with OpenMusic 6.13-7.12 (7 April 2018)

N.B. As a general rule keep in mind that OMTristan works best in OpenMusic on its own, i.e. try to avoid loading too many other libraries while working with OMTristan.

Microtonal playback (within older versions of OpenMusic 6.x)
Within some older versions of OpenMusic, for example OM 6.10, you can address problems concerning microtonal playback by using the free software SimpleSynth and taking the following steps to set up playback. You can download the additional simplesynth-basics.omp patch, devised by Tristan Murail, here.

When initializing for the first time:
A.) open MIDI setup in Audio MIDI Setup
B.) doubleclick IAC Driver
C.) create 2 virtual midibusses: IAC bus 1 and 2
D.) make them active => V put online
E.) open SimpleSynth
F.) select IAC port 1 from menu
G.) launch OpenMusic; open your current workspace or create a new one
H.) import the simplesynth-basics.omp patch into your current workspace and evaluate steps 1-3

Always when opening OpenMusic:
A.) open SimpleSynth
B.) launch OpenMusic
C.) open the simplesynth-basics.omp patch and evaluate steps 1-3

(Remember to switch on ‘Auto microtone bend’ by ticking the box in OpenMusic Preferences/MIDI)