Musical Representations

The Musical Representations team works on the formal structures of music and creative environments for composition and musical interaction. This work finds application in computer-assisted composition (CAC), performance, improvisation, performance and computational musicology.

Reflection on the high-level representation of musical concepts and structures supported by original computer languages developed by the team, leads to the conception of models which can be used for musical analysis and creation.

On the musicology side, tools for representation and modeling enable a truly experimental approach that significantly rejuvenates this discipline.

On the creation side, the objective is to design musical companions that interact with composers, musicians, sound engineers, etc. throughout the musical workflow. The software developed has been distributed to a large community of musicians, materializing original forms of thought connected to the particular characteristics of the computer supports they represent (and execute): the final score, the score’s different levels of formal elaboration, its algorithmic generators, and live interaction during a performance.

For the past few years, the team has worked on symbolic interaction and artificial creativity in its work via projects on artificial listening, synchronization of musical signals and score following (a subject that led to the creation of an INRIA team-project), orchestration assistance (using the analysis of temporal series and deep learning techniques), and engineering  intelligent agents capable of listening, learning, and musical interaction in improvised contexts.

The team has a long history of collaborations with composers and musicians both from IRCAM and elsewhere. Archives of this work can be found in three volumes of the OM Composer’s Book, guaranteeing its international dissemination and continuity.

Major Themes

  • Computer-assisted composition: assisted composition, orchestration assistance
  • Control of synthesis and spatialization, creative systems to write for time, sound, space, and interaction
  • Mathematics and music
  • Computer languages for music: Open Music, Antescofo
  • Modeling style, dynamics of improvised interaction: improvised musical interactions, DYCi2
  • New interfaces for composers and teaching
  • Musicology and computational analysis
  • Efficient search of temporal series
  • Writing synchronous time

Team Website

  • Premier collage de l'identité du logiciel OpenMusic par A. Mohsen  © Philippe Barbosa
    Premier collage de l'identité du logiciel OpenMusic par A. Mohsen © Philippe Barbosa
  • Mederic Collignon improvise en concert avec le logiciel OMax (RIM B. Lévy)
    Mederic Collignon improvise en concert avec le logiciel OMax (RIM B. Lévy)
  • Moreno Andreatta, chercheur CNRS-Ircam dans son bureau  © Philippe Barbosa
    Moreno Andreatta, chercheur CNRS-Ircam dans son bureau © Philippe Barbosa
  • OM Composer's Book
    OM Composer's Book
  • Claude Delangle en studio avec le logiciel Antescofo  © Inria / H. Raguet
    Claude Delangle en studio avec le logiciel Antescofo © Inria / H. Raguet
  • Papier Intelligent, écriture de l’espace dans la composition  © Inria
    Papier Intelligent, écriture de l’espace dans la composition © Inria

Research topics and related projects

Computer-Assisted Composition (OpenMusic)

Design models techniques adapted to the creative process, incorporating paradigms for calculations as well as musical interactions and representations

Computer-Assisted Composition (Orchids)

Orchestration via an automatic search of instrumentation and layering instruments approaching a target defined by the composer

Effective Searches of Temporal Series

Code that makes it possible to carry out effective searches on temporal forms

Improvised Musical Interactions - OMax & Co

Development of improvised man-machine musical interactions

Mathematics and Music

Algebraic Models, Topologies, and Categories in Computational Musicology

Orchestration Assistance

Tool to assist orchestration that is integrated in the software created at IRCAM

Writing for Sound and Space

New approach to the representation of sounds via high-level programs

Writing Timed Interactions and Musical Synchronizations

Definition of complex interactions between performers and live electronics


Somax 2 is an application for musical improvisation and composition. It is implemented in Max and is based on a generative model using a process similar to concatenative synthesis to provide stylistically coherent improvisation, while listening to and adapting to a musician (or any other type of audio or MIDI source) in real-time. The model is operating in the symbolic domain and is trained on a musical corpus, consisting of one or multiple MIDI files, from which it draws its material used for improvisation. The model can be used with little configuration to autonomously interact with a musician, but it also allows manual control of its generative process, effectively letting the model serve as an instrument that can be played in its own right.

European and national projects


Artificial Creative Intelligence and Data Science


Raising Co-Creativity in Cyber-Human Musicianship


Computational Shaping and Modeling of Musical Structures


Creative Dynamics for Improvised Interaction


Extended Frameworks For 'In-Time' Computer-Aided Composition


Maximizing the Therapeutic Potential of Music through Tailored Therapy with Physiological Feedback in Cardiovascular Disease


Hierarchical Object based Unsupervised Learning


Interactivity in Writing of Interaction and Time


Create the first partnership of a true scientific theory of orchestration


Mixed Musical Reality with Creative Instruments


Comparison of the state of the art in musicology, in psychology of perception, and in computer music to create new tools


Raising Co-Creativity in Cyber-Human Musicianship

Softwares (design & development)



OpenMusic is a visual programming environment for creating computer aided composition applications. OpenMusic offers users the possibility of graphical construction for processing procedures or generation of musical data with the assistance of numerous graphical modules and predefined functions, assembled in visual programs.


Antescofo is a modular score following system as well as a synchronous programming language for musical composition. The module allows for automatic recognition of the player’s position and tempo in a musical score from a realtime audio stream coming from a performer, thus making it possible to synchronize an instrumental performance with comput...


Omax is an environment for improvisation with a computer that analyzes, models, and re-improvises in real-time the performance of one or several musicians, in audio or in MIDI formats. OMax is based on a computer model called “Oracle Factors”, a graph that connects all the motives, from smallest to biggest.


included in your membership
Orchids/Éric is the first complete system for temporal computer-assisted orchestration and timbral mixture optimization. It provides a set of algorithms and features to reconstruct any time-evolving target sound with a combination of acoustic instruments, given a set of psychoacoustic criteria.

Musique Lab 2.0

Environment designed to assist musical education based on OpenMusic, IRCAM’s computer-assisted orchestration software.

Specialist Areas

Computer-assisted composition and analysis, computer musicology, cognitive musicology, artificial intelligence, computer languages, algebraic and geometric methods, symbolic interactions, languages for synchronous time and tempered time, executable notations