Analysis / Thoughts

A la Recherche du Rythme Perdu

Reflection about writing No. 2  (1972 – Feb. 1978)

For piano, percussion and tape

A la Recherche du Rythme Perdu is more specially a proposition to jazz musicians, which does not mean that this project here is to play “jazz”.

This piece is not really a new piece, though it is neither a new version of an older one. But let’s be precise: here is used, piece that has been realized in 1972, the year when was signed the Common Program between the left parties.

About the score. Even not totally new (though a part of same notes are used) it contains propositions that are different; I’ll try to explain.

Musique Socialiste was designated to a harpsichord but specially to performers coming from the classical music. Their experience lead them to reproduce by instruments the composer’s writing.

In A la recherche du Rythme Perdu I’d address myself to musicians coming from jazz. Which means that the notes that are playing codes for classic musicians are here indications for atmospheres more than signs to reproduce by instruments.

The history of this score is a little the history of an experience referring to the title “reflections about writing”. Classic musicians have the experience of a global shape, which means of a musical method with its progressions and its digressions. Jazz musicians have the experience of the moment, the detail, the rhythm and of the intuitive communication between them.

That’s why this score has less notes and specially, as it will be said later, notes that are not obligatory to be played, but more indications for the general development.

If I said that this piece is more a new piece than a new version, the reason is that what comes out of it is totally different. On can only say that there is an acquaintance of expression, might I dare to say (after a look in the dictionary) that there is a lyrical acquaintance.

Some words relating to the title. I have sometimes the impression that, what I just called the code, the respect of the written score (which means the law) has hidden the musical intuition, has censored the sense of rhythm and little by little has nibbled the imagination of the performers. (One should not think that I consider the pulsation on the tape as a rhythm; as well as the writing it is sterile, only the action make the whole thing live.)  What I’d wish is to try to find back this lost richness. The rhythm cannot be written, the little differences making that a body is animated by a rhythmical reality are so subtle that they escape completely from the coarseness of writing. In this sense should be understood this “reflection about writing”.


Luc Ferrari, Paris in February 1978


P.S. A pianist solo can play A la Recherche du Rythme Perdu but it would be interesting that a pianist and a percussionist perform this piece.

In this case the percussion is a jazz battery to which can be added: bongos, congas and small instruments ad libitum.