Tautologos IV  (March 1996 – October 1997)

Symphonic suite for full orchestra and 4 samplers


– Block

– Interstice

– Tautology


If I give such a title, sure that I have also to give explanations by the way. I expected that and here they are.


Tautologos is a title I use for a very long time. The first was in 1961, at the beginning of my experiments in the field of what one called at the time “the concrete music”. I.e. I was among young people of the Avant-garde who groped in the technological experiments.


Tautologos for me would say: repetition in cycle.

But already before, I was interested by the ideas of cycles that started to lie within my instrumental scores.

This is why when I met the “repetitive Americans” with beginning of 70s I was not surprised. It is this mysterious relationship, the fact that individuals through different experiments take a step together without knowing it.


Now if one takes Tautologos 1 and 2 of 1961, one hears there very little the repetition unless in a very broad and little vague sense, it is only in Tautologos 3 that this idea is systematically exploited. But I will try to explain what there is different in the use I make from the repetitive music coming to us during that time. Let us take for example In C of Terry Riley (1965) and Piano Phases of Steve Reich (1967); one is faced with short sentences repeated in loop and following very precise but different processes in one and the other case.

There is a very clear aesthetic will and which takes its distances – the least one can say – compared to esthetics resulting from the series; in particular by the use of heights and rhythms. However both, the series and the repetitive one, at least at that time, take their place in the history of the contemporary ideas inside a concept of pure or abstract music. One makes musical works by elaborating and exploring a musical phenomenon.

While my ideas of repetitions, me who picks in the concrete and realism, came from observation external to the music: how for example the daily actions, the feelings, the social relations and their cycles are organized; or of autobiographic concerns, or that the musical composition is regarded as autobiography and the biography as cycle.

And the cycle as in the society or in the body represents an action plus the time separating this action from its repetition. The social + the body + the feelings + etc. is regarded as a random magma of repeated actions in long cycles and at different distances.

One only person having a provision of cycles who is confronted with other persons also having other provisions of cycles. There we have in one moment an apparently hazardous superimposition.

Which image whereas to imagine a subway station at one given moment in a rush hour and to imagine all these people carrier of different cycles, and who at this time make an overall movement which has anything to do neither with the harmony nor with esthetics. They play a score without knowing it.

This moment is made of a superposition of individual actions, which are repeated in cycle, but never found in the same arrangement.


Tautologos 4, which comes more than twenty years after Tautologos 3, is located in the same idea, perhaps with larger freedoms, perhaps with less systematism, although the systematism was never my strong nor my weak point.

With the time the things evolve, the cycles get out of order or join. Leaving by far, the cycles still diversify and in the most secret fields where silence makes forget the object of the cycle.


What is interesting here is that to find old concerns – although meanwhile having been used without being named – and to voluntarily employ them like matter, involved me to make a music very different from that I did until there. Seems it to me.


July 22, 1996