Tête et Queue du Dragon  (1959 – 1960)

Head and Tail of the Dragon

One can give a great number of explanations that could seem contradictory, according to whether one endeavors to present a facet rather than another. The difficulty is the choice of the facet, because they all are bound by an overall organization.


As general information, I can say that this work was born from a juxtaposition of conditions having no other relation between them than the moment in which they are proposed, of the friction of these known as disparate conditions and of the shock of their heterogeneity.


So I can say that I believe in the encounters and that I deny the chance that seems to be the instigator of them.


A certain number of problems were approached in this work what does not mean that they were solved.

The encounter between indefinite idea and schema, between schema and score, score and matter, matter and structure can only be disconcerting, or the will that one has to modulate the things until they enter in relation the ones and the others could be used as explanation.

I could almost say that from these encounters was born a kind of expression, that seems to find back the first departure of the indefinite idea, and to satisfy me with this benefit.


The problem in the beginning was to make live the sounds and that their evolution were not condemned by the structure. In addition the general structure was to be understandable and not risen from that of the sounds but to juxtapose and to even perhaps oppose to them.

Therefore a rather great number of elements were made, representing a kind of orchestration, then were classified in several families of shape, matter or quality of evolution.


All the elements are in perpetual evolution, the repetitions are thus made impossible; this is the common character of all the employed musical objects.

And it is precisely by their criterion of evolution that they were classified;

Iterative with more or less fast rhythmic evolutions;

Samples evolving in terms of melody in a given tessitura;

Samples whose dynamic evolutions produce combined and complex profiles;

Other more complex evolutions still carrying out a true polyphony of melodies, profiles and masses;

The top of the evolution is obtained by the fast succession of small objects which form composite groups but which can be heard according to the case like single object of a very great rhythmic complexity.


“Head and Tail of the Dragon” is divided into three connected parts.

The first part represents the head of the dragon and takes form thanks to a discontinuous acceleration of the movements. Fragments of bounces chosen in certain moments of their evolution are bound by sound samples of commun characters with them. This horizontal organization composes independently each of the four spatial tracks and causes a certain disorder. Very fast groups of notes on the contrary, restore the order and the articulation in a structure called: “Vertical unifying Principle”.


If the first part is spatially linear, the second is an advance towards a spatial rhythmic structure. The body of the dragon is represented by a progressive fragmentation out of the groups of notes inside whose are introduced elements of contrast.

The third part or Tail of the Dragon is a total dispersion of all the elements of the work in an extreme mobility. The transformation of the least fragment of all the employed musical objects could be used as rhythm of space.


Paris, April 22, 1960