Français    Search


All of Xenakis' books and translations of his books are listed here.

Music and Architecture by Iannis Xenakis, Architectural Projects, Texts, and Realizations Compiled, translated and commented by Sharon Kanach, Pendragon 2008. 372 pages

This book is the first compilation ever of all of Iannis Xenakis's texts dealing with architecture and the relationships between music and architecture, and is structured under four main headings : "The Le Corbusier Years (1947 - 1959), "The cosmic city and other writings", "Xenakis: Independent architect", "The Polytopes". Xenakis's original material (presented and commented by Sharon Kanach), much of which was uncovered during the inventory process of his personal archives now on deposit at the music department of the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris, is appendiced by an illustrated critical index of all of his architectural projects and realizations (Sven Sterken), a thematic bibliography (Makis Solomos) and a comparative chronology (biography, musical works, architectural projects, writings).

Musiques formelles = Revue Musicale n253-254, 1963, 232 p. Reissued: Paris, Stock, 1981, 261 p. [for the American translation: cf. infra]

Musiques formelles resembles Xenakis himself: the first eight pages and the last two pages of the book are of general interest (philosophical-aesthetical), while the rest of the work is, in contrast, very technical. This is a work of major importance: aside from a few rare later publications, this is the only document where Xenakis analyzes his own music. Even if Musiques formelles still continues to contribute to the image of Xenakis as a "composer-mathematician," it is here that he elaborates the theories he used between 1956 1962. The work comprises five chapters, the first four being revised articles originally published in Gravesaner Bltter: 1)"Musiques stochastiques (gnrales, libres)": a general discussion on determinism preceded by an analysis of probability applications used in Pithoprakta et Achorripsis;; 2) "Musique stochastique markovienne": analysis of the principles that led to the composition of Analogique A et B (as well as Syrmos); 3) "Stratgie musicale": "game theory" as applied in Duel et Stratgie; 4) "Musique stochastique libre, l'ordinateur": the various phases of the computer programming that were used in creating the ST series (in the Stock edition, the actual computer program is included as an appendix); 5) "Musique symbolique": an explanation of "symbolic logic" as used in the composition of Herma, plus a trial application on Beethoven.

Musique. Architecture, Tournai, Casterman, 1971, 176 p. New, revised edition: Tournai, Casterman, 1976, 238 p. [translations: 1) in Japanese: trans. Yuji Takahashi, Tokyo, Zen-On Music Company CTD, 1976; 2) in Italian: Musica. Archittetura, Milano, Spirali, 1982; 3) in Catalian: trans. Anna Bofil, Barcelone, Antoni Bosch, 1982]

Eight out of the nine chapters of the first edition of this book had been published in various periodicals. Six are dedicated to music, among which the last ("Vers une philosophie de la musique", 1966) is of primordial interest: here, Xenakis poses the philosophical foundations of his formalization of music, followed by an analysis of Nomos alpha; this article had been published elsewhere in different versions. In chap. V ("Vers une mtamusique", 1967), Xenakis explains his "Sieve theory" and justifies it from an historical perspective. Chap. I ("Thorie des probabilits et composition musicale", 1956) was already used for the elaboration of the beginning of the first chapter of Musiques formelles. The three other chapters on music ("Les trois paraboles", 1958, "Trois ples de condensation", 1962 et "Formalisation et axiomatisation de la composition musicale", 1964) represent a rsum of theories already exposed in Musiques formelles. In terms of the writings in the second part of the book: "Le Pavillon Philips l'aube d'une architecture" (1958) is a detailed explanation of the technical principles behind the famous Pavilion; "Notes sur un "geste lectronique"" (1958) sets the foundation for a total electronic art and evokes the spatialization of music; "La ville cosmique" (1965) describes the utopian project of a city constructed in altitude. The second edition of Musique. Architecture includes a third section that comprises: 1) musical and architectural graphics; 2) a new chapter entitled "Varit" that treats music in general, the role of the artist plus xenakian visions that were later developed in the article "Les chemins de la composition musicale" (1981); 3) a table of correspondences between developments in music and mathematics, followed by three notes (on the C.E.M.A.Mu., on the U. P. I.C., on Sieves); 4) three interviews with F.B. Mche, O. Revault d'Allonnes and F. Genuys (also published in L'Arc, 1972) that treat Xenakiss representative preoccupations ("Exprimer l'intelligence" and "Changer l'homme"), some of their dangers ("Rationalit et imprialisme") as well as the use of computers ("Du bon usage de l'ordinateur").

Formalized Music, translation Christopher Butchers, G. H. Hopkins, John Challifour, Bloomington, University Press, 1971, 273 p. New revised edition, additional material compiled, edited and translated by Sharon Kanach, Stuyvesant (New York), Pendragon Press, 1992, 387 p.

The first version of this book includes: 1) six chapters that are the translation of Musiques formelles(whose second chap. is here divided into two chap.) including the "Appendices" I et II; 2) two chapters that are translations, with some additions, of the chapters "Vers une mtamusique" and "Vers une philosophie de la musique" from Musique. Architecture; 3) "New Proposals in Microsound Structure", which is a new contribution: here Xenakis challenges sound synthesis by Fourier analysis and proposes a new synthesis based on probability theories. The new edition of this book also includes: 1) "Concerning Time, Space and Music", which is similar to the article"Sur le temps" (1988); 2) "Sieves" and "Sieves: a User's guide," which constitute the two sections of the article "Sieves" (1990): the first chapter explains in detail the construction of sieves and the second reproduces the computer program that generates this construction; 3) "Dynamic Stochastic Synthesis", which uses an excerpt of the Lgende dEeras an example of stochastic synthesis; 5) "More Thorough Stochastic Music" provides the program of dynamic stochastic analysis that was used for the first version of Gendy; 6) an annex on "The new UPIC system" based on an article from 1990 written by the engineers at CEMAMu at the time (G. Marino, J.M. Raczinski, M.H. Serra).

[Revault d'Allonnes Olivier] Xenakis: Polytopes, Paris, Balland, 1975, 135 p.

Cf. the section of this bibliography "Writings on Xenakis".

Arts/Sciences. Alliages, Tournai, Casterman, 1979, 152 p. [translations: 1) in American: Arts/Sciences. Alloys, translated by Sharon Kanach, Stuyvesant NY, Pendragon Press, 1985; 2) in Italian: Arti/Scienze: Lenghe, special issue of Quaderni della Civica Scuola di Musica di Milano n18, 1989]

This book is a transcription of Xenakiss thesis defense that took place in 1976. The preliminary statement is composed of two elements: 1) "Subtended philosophy", based on the text "Varits" from the second edition of Musique. Architecture; 2) "Coagulations" where Xenakis presents an overview of his lifetime of work. Several long and very beautiful dialogues then follow with: 1) Olivier Revault d'Allonnes, who tackles, among other subjects, the xenakian thesis of alloys between the arts and sciences; 2) Olivier Messiaen, who attempts to listen to Xenakis while avoiding any mathematics; 3) Michel Ragon, who questions Xenakis on his architectural projects; 4) Michel Serres, who places Xenakis in a scientific context; 5) Bernard Teyssdre, who asks him various questions. The book finishes with "New proposals in microsound structure," which, in the French edition, is the original of chap. IX from Formalized Music (although not as long and without any graphic illustrations ).

Kletha, edited by Alain Galliari, preface by Benot Gibson, Paris, L'Arche, 1994, 143 p.

This book is a collection of 15 articles published elsewhere between 1955 and 1988. In chronological order: 1) "La crise de la musique srielle" (1955): although brief, this article is a true cornerstone: it is here that Xenakis criticizes serialism and proposes introducing probability calculations; 2) "Lettre Hermann Scherchen" (1956): a very short text that responds to criticism by the famous conductor who was the first to support Xenakis; 3) "Thorie des probabilits et composition musicale" (1956): an article that was already included in both Musiques formelles and also Musique. Architecturewith only one difference: the graphics for Pithoprakta is from the first version; 4) "Elments sur les procds probabilistes (stochastiques) de composition musicale" (1962): this article was partially reprinted in Musiques formelles; 5) "La voie de la recherche et de la question" (1965): first article where Xenakis exposes his Sieve theory. He also develops here his distinction outside/in time; 6) "Culture et crativit" (1976): on the necessity of culture and our acceptance of other cultures as well as of creativity; 7) "Des univers du son" (1977): here Xenakis proposes to conceive of music as an intersection of several realms; 8) "Entre Charybde et Scylla" (1981): a few general ideas; 9) "Les chemins de la composition musicale" (1981): the first part of this article borrows material from the chapter "Varit" from the second edition of Musique. Architecture, and then exposes Xenakiss ideas on the use of computers in making music, in particular in relation to the Lgende dEer and concludes on several remarks on the spectacle of the Diatope; 10) "Musique et originalit" (1984): clearly expose Xenakiss vision of the world based on the question of originality; 11) "Pour l'innovation culturelle" (1984): a very short text criticizing fascism; 12) "L'univers est une spirale" (1984): brief article where Xenakis discusses the necessity of inventing a morphological science; 13) "Condition du musicien" (1985): on the real problems composers face; 14) "Cribles" (1988): a very important text for the analysis of Xenakis compositions, since this is where he develops his formalization of the Sieve theory; 15) "Sur le temps" (1988): a largely expanded version of his article "Le temps en musique" (1981): Xenakis exposes his conception of time, and then proceeds to create an axiomatization for temporal structures in relation to the Sieve theory.

Musique et originalit, Paris, Sguier, 1996, 58 p.

This small collection contains four articles by Xenakis, three of which had already been published in earlier books: 1) "Musique et originalit" (1984): already appeared in Kletha; 2) "Notes sur un geste lectronique" (1958): already appeared in Musique. Architecture; 3) "Sur le temps" (1988): already appeared in Kletha; (4) "Eschyle, un thtre total" (1991): in this article Xenakis explains his conception of music for classical Greek theatre, in particular for the Orestie.

Κειμενα περι μουσικής και αρχιτεκτονικής (texts on music and architecture), compiled and presented by Makis Solomos, translated by Tina Plyta, Athens, Υθγιοη, 2001, 276p.

This book is comprised of: 1) 4 original articles in Greek: a) (Iannis Xenakis: an autobiography) (1976): a few autobiographical elements based on an interview from November 1975 for the newspaper ; b) (Current tendencies of French music) (1955): undoubtedly Xenakiss first writing: he extensively discusses Messiaen, a little about dodecaphonism and musique concrte and concludes with a homage to Varse; c) (Problems in Greek musical composition) (1955): Xenakis summarizes the results of his first research and his desire to reconcile his "Greek traditions" with European "progress": an extremely important writing in order to understand his earliest period; d) (Scientific thought and music) (1978): a highly elaborated conference (given in Athens on Sept. 17, 1975 during the "Xenakis Week" Festival) where Xenakis tackles several of his preoccupations: the question of determinism, order structures, the necessity of being able to choose, etc; 2) Greek translations of 13 articles: "La crise de la musique srielle" (1955), "Notes sur un "geste lectronique" (1959), "Elments sur les procds probabilistes (stochastiques) de composition musicale" (1962), "La voie de la recherche et de la question" (1965), "La ville cosmique" (1965), (Antiquit et musique contemporaine) (1976: translation of "Notice sur l'Orestie", 1966), "Culture et crativit" (1976), "Des univers du son" (1977), "Les chemins de la composition musicale" (1981), "Entre Charybde et Scylla" (1981), "Musique et originalit" (1984), "Lunivers est une spirale" (1984), "Sur le temps" (1988).

La Musique de larchitecture, Marseille, Editions Parenthses, 2003 ( paratre), (Xenakiss architectural projects, texts and realizations compiled and commented by Sharon Kanach).