28.05.21 / DCAC21 – Merging symbolic, physical and virtual spaces: Augmented reality for Iannis Xenakis’ Evryali for piano

Reflections: Bridges between Technology and Culture, Physical and Virtual
Subtitle: Reflection and Heterotopia


Merging symbolic, physical and virtual spaces: Augmented reality for Iannis Xenakis’ Evryali for piano solo

Pavlos Antoniadis (EUR-ArTeC, Université Paris 8; TU Berlin-Audiokommunikation, Humboldt Stiftung)
Aurélien Duval (EUR-ArTeC , Université Paris 8)
Jean-François Jégo (INREV-AIAC, Université Paris 8)
Makis Solomos (Musidanse, Université Paris 8)
Frédéric Bevilacqua (UMR STMS IRCAM-CNRS- Sorbonne Université)

The proposed paper will present interactive systems for the visualisation and optimisation of extreme score-based piano performance. The systems are founded on an ecological theory of embodied interaction with complex piano notation, under the title embodied navigation (Antoniadis, 2018a; Antoniadis and Chemero, 2020). The theory has materialised in a modular, sensor-based environment for the analysis, processing and real-time control of notation through multimodal recordings, called GesTCom (Antoniadis, 2018b; Antoniadis and Bevilacqua, 2016). The motion capture modeling is based on an one-shot learning Hidden Markov Model developed at Ircam and called Gesture Follower (Bevilacqua et al., 2010). At a later stage, mixed reality applications have been developed on the basis of existent visualisation methodologies for motion capture (Jégo, Meyrueis and Boutet, 2019), seeking to create a virtual concert environment.

Drawing on music performance analysis, embodied cognition, movement modeling and augmented reality, we consider the concert experience as embodied navigation of performers and listeners in a hybrid environment. This environment capitalises on the isomorphisms and decouplings of physical, virtual and symbolic spaces, which merge in static and dynamic relationships: the performer’s gesture shapes music notation, music notation becomes an integral part of the concert space, a virtual avatar of the performer allows the audience to experience multimodal aspects of the performance which usually remain private, and so on.

The main focus of this presentation will be on a recent performance of Iannis Xenakis’ solo piano work Evryali employing live motion capture and augmented reality. Preliminary documentation of this project may be found in the following link: https://youtu.be/D-vhOX88NfM. This particular work problematises usual notions of virtuosity and performability, bears extra-musical references and is encoded in a unique graphic design. These features justify the task’s characterisation as extreme and demand a rethinking of technology-enhanced performance that combines sensorimotor learning, symbolic interpretation and multimodal feedback in novel ways.


Antoniadis, Pavlos (2018a). Embodied Navigation of Complex Piano Notation: Rethinking
Musical Interaction From A Performer’s Perspective, PhD thesis. Strasbourg: Université
de Strasbourg – IRCAM, 2018.
http://theses.unistra.fr/ori-oai-search/notice/view/2018STRAC007, accessed 14.04.2021

Antoniadis, Pavlos and Chemero, Anthony (2020). “Playing without mental representations:
embodied navigation and the GesTCom as a case study for radical embodied cognition in piano
performance”, in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Music Studies, special issue “Embodiment in
Music” following CIM19 conference in Graz, Austria (eds. Andrea Schiavio and Nikki Moran),
season 2020, volume 10, art. #20101207, pp. 126-174.
http://musicstudies.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/10Antoniadis_Chemero.pdf, accessed

Antoniadis, Pavlos (2018b). “GesTCom: A sensor-based environment for the analysis, processing
and real-time control of complex piano notation through multimodal recordings”. Invited talk
at Séminaires Recherche et Technologie, IRCAM, 15.10.2018.
https://medias.ircam.fr/x2253e1, accessed 14.04.2021

Antoniadis, Pavlos and Bevilacqua, Frédéric (2016). “Processing of symbolic music notation via
multimodal performance data: Ferneyhough’s Lemma-Icon-Epigram for solo piano, phase 1”.
Proceedings of the TENOR 2016 conference, 127-136. Cambridge: Anglia Ruskin University 2016.
http://tenor2016.tenor-conference.org/TENOR2016-Proceedings.pdf, accessed 14.04.2021

Bevilacqua, F., Zamborlin, B., Sypniewski, A., Schnell, N., Guedy, F., and Rasamimanana, N.
(2010). “Continuous realtime gesture following and recognition”. In Lecture Notes on Computer
Science, Gesture Workshop, pages 73–84. Springer.

Jégo, Jean-François, Meyrueis, Vincent, and Boutet, Dominique (2019). “A Workflow for Real-time
Visualization and Data Analysis of Gesture using Motion Capture”. In: Proceedings of the 6th
International Conference on Movement and Computing. ACM. Phoenix, Az, USA, 2019. p. 1-6.

14.05.21 / IMS Study Group _Music and Violence_: ‘Body rendition as violence: a biopolitical approach to human and machine learning in music’

Ochydactyl by Georges Retif, France, 1925


Body rendition as violence: a biopolitical approach to human and machine learning in music

The proposed presentation’s hypothesis is that violent appropriations of musical embodiment link the origins of WAM educational systems to the early and recent developments in music technology. The main theoretical tools for investigating this hypothesis will include Foucault’s late formulation of biopolitics in relation to neoliberalism and behavior shaping, critiques of the emergence of the notion of instrumental technique, historical approaches to music technology and the influence of cognitive and surveillance capitalism in music, as accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The objective is to show that institutional forms of physical and psychological violence have been persistent at the very core of music education and that their absorption in the current digital culture produces new and wholly unchartered territories of violence, ranging from the reproduction of colonial biases to the biometric surveillance of musical bodies in performance.

06.05.21 / NCMM21 – Dwelling Xenakis: An augmented reality project on ‘Evryali’ for piano solo

Image by Jean-François Jégo & Aurélien Duval

Pavlos Antoniadis (1,2), Aurélien Duval (1), Jean-François Jégo (3), Makis Solomos (4), Frédéric Bevilacqua (5)



Iannis Xenakis’ Evryali is his second piece for solo piano (1973). The title means “another name for Medusa. It means wide sea” (Xenakis), and we know that the sea (a rough sea more than the calm sea of a gulf) is an important reference for Xenakis’ music. The piece is mainly composed through graphics. It is the first piece where Xenakis draws “arborescences”: “a tangle of lines in pitch-time space. This entanglement […] undergoes rotations, dilations, deformations, etc.”. (ibid.). Two other types of sonorities are used: repeated notes or chords and point sound clouds. The whole composition is rather simple, even if the global form is not very clear (like in other Xenakis’s pieces); it works with exploiting one sonority after the other and, from the middle of the piece till the end, there is a fragmentation leading to a kind of exhaustion of the material.

Evryali is a very difficult and exhausting piece for the performer. The same probably for the listener, because of Xenakis’ harsh sonorities and dramaticity. This project would propose a way to “dwell” Xenakis’ music in the ecological sense of the word, that is through constructing multiple links between the existence of the piece, the body and mind of the performer, the surrounding space, the listeners and their affects and so on.

We will address these questions through a new paradigm of pianists’ interaction with Xenakis’ notation, defined as embodied navigation and inspired by radical embodied cognition (Antoniadis, 2018, Antoniadis and Chemero, 2021). Its novelty lies in ecologically rethinking the classic notion of textual interpretation as embodied interaction, and musical performance itself as a dynamic system The paradigm has been materialized in the GesTCom (Gesture Cutting through Textual Complexity) (Antoniadis, 2018), a dedicated interactive system for learning notated music. At a first stage, it is a modular, sensor-based environment for the analysis, processing and real-time control of complex piano notation through multimodal recordings. Recently, we have integrated live full body motion capture and augmented reality applications to create a hybrid space consisting of symbolic and physical elements, a sort of ‘palimpsest’ for interactive scenography.

We will be presenting the documentation of a recent augmented reality concert at Université Paris 8, trying to address the tensions between textual interpretation and embodied performance and offering a vision for the new generations of Xenakis’ performers.

Keywords: Xenakis’ performance practice, embodied cognition, ecology of music, augmented reality, motion capture


talk video: 01:50:11 : https://youtu.be/Wh0LFKnZP7o

performance video: https://youtu.be/D-vhOX88NfM

performance audio: https://soundcloud.com/katapataptwsi/iannis-xenakis-evryali-for-piano-solo-piano-pavlos-antoniadis?fbclid=IwAR0kDyn3Al0QaRq59Fem-dVLGLpid6FwiTHkZ9UrexwOBJ7XeKAwcyE7Y6E

04. & 05.05.21 / Workshop Überkomplexe Musik nach 1945: Spieltechnische und analytische Herausforderungen @ Universität Basel

Jan van Bijlert (c 1597/8–1671) (workshop), A Courtesan Pulling the Ear of a Cat,
Allegory of the Sense of Touch (date not known)
, oil on canvas, 83.5 x 68 cm, Private collection.
Wikimedia Commons

Access: https://unibas.zoom.us/j/91394956815

Paper and video examples: https://pavlosantoniadis.wordpress.com/2020/10/11/1053/

Wednesday, 05.05

10:00 – 11:00 CET

Intelligence and spirit in contemporary piano performance: On the multiple senses of touch in Klaus K. Hübler’s Sonetto LXXXIII del Michelangelo and in Wieland Hoban’s when the panting STARTS

I will reflect on the relation between intelligence and spirit in contemporary piano performance, through the comparative analysis of two important but still largely unknown solo piano works from the past forty years: Klaus Karl Hübler’s Sonetto LXXXIII del Michelangelo (1986) and Wieland Hoban’s when the panting STARTS (2002-2004). The two works are intimately linked in that Hoban is explicitly expanding on Hübler’s techniques and aesthetics, as expressed in both this Sonetto and elsewhere, notably Hübler’s works for string instruments. While those compositional techniques per se will not remain unexamined, the focus of this talk will rather be on how compositional intelligence, communicated through symbolic music notation, enables new forms of embodied interaction on the part of the performer. It will be claimed that these forms of interaction reveal the spirit of the works in performance and in reception as an irreducible open space of experimentation and of multimodal self-reflexivity of the initial intelligible symbolic scoring. Most importantly, it will be claimed that the defining feature of this explorative and self-reflexive spirit is the expansion of the normative meaning of piano touch in those two works.


new sound recording – Iannis Xenakis’ Evryali for piano solo

Interpréter/Performer Xenakis 3
Lundi 29 mars 2021, 15h30Amphi X, Université Paris 8
Réalité augmentée autour d’Evryali pour piano seul de Iannis Xenakis.
Mélange des espaces symboliques et physiques à travers la capture de mouvement
Pavlos Antoniadis, piano & concept
Aurélien Duval et Jean-François Jégo, scénographie interactive (réalité augmentée et capture du mouvement)
Suivi d’un débat avec Pavlos Antoniadis, Aurélien Duval, Jean-François Jégo, Makis Solomos
Son: Cedric Namian

video documentation: https://youtu.be/D-vhOX88NfM

Evryali is the second major solo piano work by Iannis Xenakis, created in 1973 for the French pianist Marie-Françoise Bucquet. The etymology of the title (‘open sea’) and its mythological origins (Evryali was one of the fearsome three Gorgons, next to the rather more infamous Medusa and Stheno) evoke both its main compositional / technical characteristic, the arborescence, and its notorious performance practice history, which accentuates the near impossibility of realisation and its sensorimotor aspects.

Arborescences are expanding polyphonies of lines branching out of other lines, originating in Xenakis’ graphic designs transcribed into music notation. Possibly alluding to the ungraspable infinity of the sea or to the uncontrollable energy of flooding, this polyphonic expansion in pitch space is the main determinant of the task’s impossibilities. Very often, the ensuing textures are indeed both mentally and physically impossible to grasp, and often not realisable in the tempo assigned at the beginning of the piece.

Rather than accentuating the spirit of transcendence and effort very dear to Xenakis himself, I attempt to counterbalance it through the conscious decision to play all the notes, contrary to the usual approaches of note omissions aiming at keeping a steady tempo. Playing all the notes is achieved by employing techniques of multidirectional broken chords and rapid stride-like arm displacements. The physical effort to grasp the ungraspable is thus projected through conscious variations of tempo according to the texture. Last but not least, the plastic projection of Xenakis’ arborescent polyphony is not prioritised against the subtlety of complex sonorities.

29.03 / Iannis Xenakis, Evryali for solo piano with live motion capture and augmented reality @ Interpréter/Performer Xenakis, semaine des arts, université Paris 8

le goût du réel: https://youtu.be/D-vhOX88NfM

Interpréter/Performer Xenakis 3
Ateliers – journées d’études
29 mars 2021
En collaboration avec le Pôle Supérieur 93
Responsable : Makis Solomos

(suite des premières et secondes journée d’études : http://musidanse.univ-paris8.fr/spip.php?article1422 et http://musidanse.univ-paris8.fr/spip.php?article1463)

Dans la musique contemporaine, les œuvres ont souvent été composées à l’occasion de collaborations avec des interprètes (Yuji Takahashi, Sylvio Gualda, les Percussions de Strasbourg, Spyros Sakkas, Elisabeth Chojnacka, Claude Helffer, Roger Woodward, Benny Sluchin, Rohan de Saram, pour nommer quelques interprètes historiques de Xenakis), collaborations dont les partitions ne gardent pas toujours la trace. Par ailleurs, la notation solfégique – et encore plus chez Xenakis – ne rend que très partiellement compte de ce que doit être cette musique : la transmission d’une connaissance implicite des interprètes est importante. En outre, cette musique étant devenue historique, plusieurs générations d’interpètes se sont succédées, rendant par exemple possible ce qui semblait utopique. Toutes ces questions – auxquelles on ajoutera l’idée que jouer la musique n’est pas seulement “interpréter”, mais aussi “performer” – ouvrent autant de pistes pour des débats passionnants, que ces journées d’études aimeraient aborder, en réunissant interprètes et musicologues spécialistes de Xenakis.

Ces troisièmes ateliers seront une préfiguration de l’Académie tournante qui sera créée à l’occasion du cententenaire de la naissance de Xenakis.

Programme dans le cadre de la Semaine des Arts

Lundi 29 mars, 15h-18h, Amphi X (université Paris 8)

Pavlos Antoniadis, post-doctorant EUR-ArTeC, Université Paris 8, T.U. Berlin ; Jean-François Jégo, maître de conférences INREV-AIAC, Université Paris 8 ; Aurélien Duval, Master Création Numérique -ATI, Université Paris 8 ; en collaboration avec Frédéric Bevilacqua, équipe interaction-son-musique-mouvement, dirigé

Nous proposons la présentation d’outils performatifs pour la visualisation des données multimodales de l’interprétation pianistique, sous forme d’installation audiovisuelle ou d’application web (dans le cas où les lieux physiques ne seraient pas accessibles en raison notamment d’un confinement).

Les outils sont développés par Aurélien Duval, dans le cadre du projet post-doc du pianiste et musicologue Pavlos Antoniadis, en collaboration avec les laboratoires MUSIDANSE (Makis Solomos) et INREV-AIAC (Jean-François Jégo) de l’Université Paris 8, et l’équipe interaction-son- musique-mouvement, Ircam (Frédéric Bevilacqua) (https://eur-artec.fr/projets/developpement-du-systeme-gestcom/).

Les outils, basés sur les recherches de projets précédents de l’équipe de recherche INREV-AIAC Paris 8 et de l’équipe ISMM / Ircam, se veulent modulaires et réutilisables par les équipes de recherche et facilement déployables en contexte d’installation artistique ou de mise en scène.

L’oeuvre de référence choisie pour ce projet est Evryali ( “la mer étendue” ) pour piano seul du compositeur Iannis Xenakis, sur la base des enregistrements multimodaux effectués aux universités d’Athènes, de Thessalonique en Grèce et dans l’Ircam (juin-décembre 2020).

Le but est la création d’un espace virtuel, augmenté et interactif, qui mélange la partition musicale avec l’espace physique, et encore le temps d’apprentissage avec le temps réel de la performance. Cet espace serait navigable par l’auditeur/spectateur sous forme d’enregistrement à travers d’une application web (plug-in potentiel de VR) ou sous forme de vidéo-mapping sur scène pour la performance live, en générant une réalité augmentée du concert.

La présentation sera accompagnée d’un débat présentant le travail.