Conservatoire de Musique de Montbéilard
Conservatoire de Musique de Montbéilard

Composition Cursus

« I believe that electroacoustic music is the main contribution in the XXth century’s music, and it’s probably the one which had the strongest influence on the composers […] Even on those who do not practice it ».

(Olivier Messiaen)


To compose, from Latin cum ponere: to put together, to look for, to generate… What does this mean today?
How to be a composer: what kind of craft is it today when styles and practices are all mixing to themselves? From written music to improvisation, from the violin to the sampler: from a piece of paper to the computer, from musical gestures to electronic sensors, what knowledge and know-how may be required?


Cum ponere… also defines the composer’s artistic role in the society, the relationships between music and the other arts, at the crossroad of cultures, with their techniques and their becoming.
What are the musical rules and systems in the world? How does one may manage I traditional composing rules and orchestration processes to the ones used for mixing traditional instruments and original digital sounds? How to compose a piece of music for electroacoustic environment, or an interactive sound installation? How the computer science may contribute to the knowledge of music and creativity?


The purpose of this Cursus is to give different answers to all of these questions. It is provided not only for composers, but also for all musicians who would like to develop their own instrument or vocal practices, from the technical aspects to more general thoughts.
It follows double perspective: The first is the one of a school which considers the act of composing as a I major activity for the musician training, for students, teachers and professional or amateur music ensembles; a special attention is given to the development of creativity and organized thinking, to the mastery of music language and to a deep understanding of technology. The second Perspective considers different musical aesthetics and styles, from written music to improvisation, instrumental to vocal music, with tape or live electronics, performers, dance, movies or interactive multimedia installations…
The Cursus is put inside a context of international collaborations, with composers and musicians, promoting artistic projects and meetings with the Interactive Music Ensemble of the School, the National Theater of Montbeliard, the University of Franche-Comte, Ars Numerica, the PRISMA European group, the Syntono Association, the Italian Institut for Culture in Paris, IRCAM, the Sonoimagines Festival at Buenos Aires, the National University of Santiago, the University of La Serena in Chile, Hefei and Anquing University of Music in China…


The Composition Cursus develops four topics in three years: Physics and Cognition of Music, Composition and Orchestration, Electroacoustics and Computer Music. Each of these topics provides twelve modules of knowledge (ct. infra), from which a package can be adapted to the profile of each student.


The Cursus takes place each two weeks in intensive sessions with magisterial lectures, small workshops and individual lessons. In this context, a large panel of software is experimented, using Unix/linux and Mac OSX operating systems: Ableton live, Audiosculpt, Csound, Cubase, , Digital Perfomer, Diphone, Logic Audio, MaxMSP, Modalys, OpenMusic, Protools, Puredata, PWGL, Reason, and Supercollider…


Also, many activities in Music Creation and Research are provided during this Cursus, with music research workshops, concerts, performances and the participation of the Interactive Music Ensemble for each trimester.


Composition Cursus Topics and Modules


Physics and Cognition of Music

– Epistemology

– Acoustics

– Organology and electronics

– Psychoacoustics

– Musical Systems and


– Semiology of music

– Memory and Categorization

– Clustering and Segmentation

– Brain Representations

– Information Theory

– Artificial Intelligence

– Sociology of music


– Transducers : from microphone to


– Sound Recording

– The Electroacoustics Studio

– Representations of sound

– Archetypes and stereotypes

– Montage and micromontage

– Digital Sound Processing

– Production, mixing

– Sound diffusion and


– Postproduction Processes

– Suond analysis and Synthesis

– Voice processing and special




Composition and orchestration

– History and Analysis of XXth century


– Techniques of Orchestration

– Techniques of Instrumentation

– Verticality

– Conterpoint

– Developments and Processes

– Morphogenesis

– Time, Rythm and Movement

– Complexity and Strategies

– Dance and music

– Text and music

– Picture and music


Computer Music

– Architectures, Languages and


– Man to Machine Interfaces

– Graphical Programming

– Logics, Controls and Interactivity

– Time Processing

– Data Analysis

– Pattern Recognition and


– Algorithms

– Automatae

– Cybernetics

– Artificial Neural Networks

– Multi-agent and Distributed Systems


Teaching staff

Giacomo Platini
Jacopo Baboni Schilingi
Lorenzo Bianchi


Music Production

Workshops and individuals lessons are scheduled during the year in order to follow students’ works.
With the collaboration of the Interactive Music Ensemble, composers and students are all invited to produce and play their musical works in public performances and concerts.
The national and international partnership of the School with other musical institutions will provide the distribution of some concerts promoting students’ music. This activity involves several festivals allowing new professional links and meetings with institutions, composers and centers of music research.

Music Research

The music research activity allows a deep insight in the topics developed in the Cursus. It participates directly to the process of music production: students are invited to take part in scientific publications and in original software developments, from Computer Aided Composition to Artificial Intelligence. Morphogenesis and musical applications of artificial neural networks are actual research projects developed at the School. Four times in a year, workshops during a weekend will allow advanced students and researchers to show and promote new advances in their work and studies.

The Interactive Music Ensemble

The Interactive Music Ensemble, founded by professors and students of the Conservatory of Montbéliard, is the heart of the Composition Cursus.
It plays the most recent works in contemporary music and its activities are based on meetings with young composers and musicians experimenting original musical concepts. “Interactive Music” is meant for developing new interactions between traditional music instruments, live electronics, computer music, improvisation, for concerts, film music, producing several projects for movies and television.
The Interactive Music Ensemble appeared for the first time on stage for inaugurating the Festival Interference in Belfort in 2000. It regularly collaborates with the Conservatory of Montbéliard for rehearsals, performances and concerts. It actively develops partnerships in Europe and South America, when producing into international festivals such as Milano Musica, Interference in Belfort, Polychrome and GRM Festival in Paris, Sonoimagines in Buenos Aires, as in Weimar, Florence, Athens, and Valparaiso in Chile…
Renseignements et inscriptions:
Conservatoire de Musique de Montbéliard
4, cour du Château – 25200 Montbéliard
tel: +33 3 81 99 39 60 fax: +33 3 81 99 39 55
(en) Composition Cursus (.pdf)
(fr) Cursus de Composition (.pdf)