Analysis of Musical Practices

The Analysis of Musical Practices team carries out research on the works and scholarly practices that form IRCAM’s heart: composition, improvisation, performance.

To this end, the team is developing an empirical and technological musicology, whose goal is to describe (or even to modify) knowledge outside of the realm of music analysis, through novel methods of data collection. The goal is to characterize the phenomena under examination without reducing them a priori to their apparent structure (formalizable procedures, canonical texts), but in addressing them in all their dynamic, creative, contextualized, social, and cultural complexities. This can be applied to the study of contemporary activities and situations (e.g. a performer’s work at home, in rehearsal, in concert, a composition using computer-music technology, the production of a multimedia musical analysis for instructive purposes, etc.) or to the study of past practices.

The various projects carried out offer a wide range of technological and social interdisciplinary configurations, depending on the study’s focus. Thus, a study of the compositional activity carried out by the composer Philippe Leroux from 2001 to 2006 demanded a connection be made between the artist’s manuscripts and cognitive anthropology: it coincided and interfered with the elaboration of a new work by the composer. Finally, it takes place in relationship with the development of a hypermedia document that traces the creative process and the way in which the composer listens to his own piece. Or again: the study of musical analysis in France (end of the 19th century, beginning of the 20th century) required the creation of a relationship between a micro-historic investigation into writing conditions as well as the reception of these texts, with a critical appraisal of the segmentation and categorization procedures of the 19th and 20th centuries and led to the creation of a computer tool for musical analysis.

These activities are disseminated through publications and symposiums within the scientific communities concerned (primarily historic musicology, musical analysis, cognitive ergonomics, sociology, genetic criticism, and music technology); they are also made public in other ways: the creation of computer tools and hypermedia documents, short documentary films, teaching, and conferences.

Major Themes

Composition Analysis ; Performance Analysis ; Contemporary Listening Practices ; Listening Practices and Musical Analysis: A Historical Approach ; Musicology and Humanities / synthesis work ; Multimedia Publishing Tools for Musicology,

Team Website

  • © Philippe Barbosa
    © Philippe Barbosa
  • © Philippe Barbosa
    © Philippe Barbosa
  • © Philippe Barbosa
    © Philippe Barbosa
  • © Philippe Barbosa
    © Philippe Barbosa
  • © Philippe Barbosa
    © Philippe Barbosa
  • © Philippe Barbosa
    © Philippe Barbosa
  • © Philippe Barbosa
    © Philippe Barbosa

Research topics and related projects

Augmented Paper for CAC

Identify the possible musical applications that can come from the link between the computer support and augmented paper.

Multimedia Publication Tools for Musicology

Standardize the original formats of multimedia publications on music

Theories of Musical Composition of the 20th Century

Collective reference publication on the compositional theories

European and national projects


Anlayse the collective in the musical creation processes


Musical Gesture: Models and Experiments


Musical Improvisation and Collective Action

Music & Hacking

Find points of intersection between the hacker culture and today’s music


Web Audio Semantic Aggregated in the Browser for Indexation


Web Audio: Editing/Visualization

Specialist Areas

Music history/musicology, aesthetics, musical analysis.


Head Researcher : Nicolas Donin
Researchers & Engineers : François-Xavier Féron, Clément Canonne, Laurent Feneyrou, Fanny Gribenski
Trainee : Théo Golvet
Associated Researcher : Alain Bonardi