imprimer la page


Pierre Boulez: Aesthetics of serialism

Edition: Ph.D. Dissertation, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, 305p.

Date: 2005

Region: FRANCE

Origin: JAPAN

Type of media: Grey

Language: Japanese

Editor: M.B.


In this article, the insight and the contribution of French composer, Pierre Boulez (1925- ) to the development of contemporary music has been studied on the whole. Detailed analysis will follow in the three chapters. The first chapter describes his whole trajectory as a composer. I will also focus on the inter-relationship with other artists/composers related to the establishment of his thought. The definition of basic concepts and description of socio-musical trends will also be provided in order to understand the importance of his activities. Thus my focal points in the first chapter will be summarized as follows: (1) Development of his serial thoughts; (2) Elabolation of René Char's poetry settings; (3) Musique concrète as sound object; (4) Interpenetration of literature and music: a complication with Stéphane Mallarmé; (5) Possibility of aleatoric/mobile form in music; (6) Coalition and fissure: John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen; (7) Incertitude of time in music; (8) Later works and development of the electro-acoustic devices; (9) Cooperation with the French government's cultural policies and foundation of IRCAM.

The second chapter presents an analysis of the unique characteristics of the serial organization in "Structure 1a ", and " Le marteau sans maître ". The purpose of this chapter is to provide fundamental knowledge of serial technique with concrete examples in order to understand the formal process of his musical structure. Therefore, my subject matter here is limited to the technical aspects of his composition to ensure the discussion of the previous and next chapters.

In the third chapter, his musical thought and its aesthetical implications will be thoroughly discussed. The main issue is his conception of "Time" and "Space" in relation to his dualistic theory of "Striation" and "Smoothness" which formulats his idea of a "Heterogeneous musical space". The idea of a heterogeneous musical space has its correlation in contemporary philosophy; Gilles Deleuze has defined it under the same name of striated space and smoothed space. And it is by this signification that Boulez's musical thinking---or, at least, his intellectualism---acquires particularities among other composers. Thus, even if the literal value of such comparative investigation turns out to be only a theoretical phenomenon, it would enable us to identify his musical theory in a more precise way.

On the other hand, with reference to the theory of "articulation" of musical time and space, the analysis assists also the movement toward further evaluation on the perception in terms of the relation between form and material in the structure of music in wilder perspective---or the possibility of formulation of perception itself. That will lead us to realize the fact that his musical language has always been an attempt to make a new musical language, which makes its aesthetical confirmation and achievement even more profound in the history of 20th avant-garde music culture.