Le tombeau de Maurice

Ludger Bruemmer

A sample of the "Prelude" from Maurice Ravel's "Le tombeau de Couperin" is the aesthetical and synthesis source for this composition. Its basic theorems are used to create the musical ideas of the new composition. The pitch directions for example are built out of the basic elements "upwards" and "downwards." The combination of these two elements creates all the figures and motives used in Ravel's composition, and even further they determine the formal structure of the whole piece. The most important algorithms use an idea which is derived from mathematical fractals. Those fractals contain structures which are all similar to each other and differ only in size. It is similar to a Russian doll where the same doll lives inside the bigger one. Every grain of sound contains something and discovers something in the duration of the piece: a bassoon sound is created by a looped oboe, a choir sound is created by a looped harp. The grain is like a keyhole which gives a limited view to what is behind the door. The piece was created in 1992 on the NeXt computers of the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Stanford University, using Bill Schottstaedt's Common Lisp Music synthesis software and Heinrich Taube's Common Music. It was as well premiered at Stanford University in the Frost Amphitheater with its legendary acoustics.