The setup and the execution of the electroacoustic part of this work requires a Computer Music Designer (Max expert).
Version state: In progress

Documentation date: Sept. 24, 2020
First performance
Performance date: June 12, 2017

Version documentalist

  • liuni (

Version realisation

  • Mike Solomon (Computer Music Designer)

Default work length: 11 mn

Upgrade Motivation

Connections in the Mixer.maxpat abstraction are in conflict with other controls when using a BCF controller.
Temporary solution: connections erased


There is a mistake in the score's instructions about the transducers' numbering. The numbering in the piano.png file distributed along with the documentation is the right one.

Detailed staff

  • piano
(Detailed staff comes from Brahms, send mail to for correction.)

Electronic equipment list

Audio Equipment

  • 6 Transducers - Transducers
  • 1 ear-monitor - Headphones
    for the click track

Computer Music Equipment

  • 1 MacBook Pro - Apple Laptops (Apple)
  • 1 Max 8 - Max (Cycling74)


  • May 13, 2017, Italie, Turin, Fondation Spinola-Banna


  • Mike Solomon
File Author(s) Comment
[122.8 KB] Document Documentatin elements Mike Solomon
[1.6 GB] Patch Entrouvert patch Mike Solomon max patch, lib and sounds
[989.0 MB] Performance patch Patch with modified Mixer Marco Liuni



ENTR'ouvert by Giulia Lorusso is a work that is "plug and play" that requires four main things:

  • proper configuration of the click track and transducers

  • proper triggering of events in the MAX patch

  • violent dynamic gesticulations during the penultimate section

  • an elegant decrescendo at the end of the work

This README discusses all four so that you can successfully perform the piece.


In order to perform ENTR'ouvert, you need to work from a 3/4 grand, and ideally a grand, piano of high quality. While the piece sounds good on the IRCAM rehearsal pianos, its long strident sections sound particularly stunning on a large table de resonance.

In this piano are placed six transducers, of which one is a bass transducer (placed on the diagram in position 1), two are mid-low transducers (placed on the diagram in positions 2 and 3), two are smaller high-range trandugers (placed on the diagram in positions 4 and 5 - NB that these are inside HOLES in the metal work) and there is one picolo (labeled 6, also placed within a hole).

The Max Patch runs at 48 kHz. The file preferences should point to the lib folder.

These are then connected to your system of choice - we are using a Fireface but a MOTU or PreSonus works, then connected to Max. Make sure in the global configuration of Max that channels 1-6 are connected to the output and channel seven is connected to the click.

NB: Make sure to check that the click is functional and is actually mapped to channel seven from the fireface. We have had the funny scenarios of both no click because of an incorrect mapping as well as a click being played into the piano. Luckily neither happened during a concert, but you can never be too safe!

Once Max is pointing to the six channels going to the six transducers, open the patch _PATCH-CONCERT-1.maxpat if it isn't already opened, press the INIT and RESET buttons, and then you can trigger the queues with the space bar.

you can ignore the following warnings :

click-sfplay_loop: no such object

click-sfplay_speed: no such object

click-sfplay_main: no such object

click-sfplay_output-level: no such object

In rehearsals, make sure to do a full run of the electronics two to three times to make sure that the transducers do not burn out. Two to three runs in the same day of the piece will slay weak transducers, and on two occassions, we had to replace a transducer the day of the concert because it could not handle the strident section. This "burn out" happens in particular during section 6-10.


Once you are set up and have effectively run the triggers by using the space bar (there are 21), you can run the piece with the pianist. The cues are crystal clear in the score, and there is a certain amount of leniency in the timing if you are off slightly. HOWEVER, there are certain triggers that are ABSOLUTELY essential to get EXACTLY on the beat. These always coincide with a pronounced downbeat. All of them are described below:

1. The beginning of the piece, easy

2. MUST coincide with the low B-flat

3. MUST coincide with the low B-flat

4. MUST coincide with the low B-flat

5. Easy to spot, but not coinciding with any event in particualr.

6. Difficult to spot, can only be a second off without ruining the subsequent entries. You should train with the pianist to nail this.

7. Easy to spot, but not coinciding with any event in particualr.

8. Easy to spot, but not coinciding with any event in particualr.

9. MUST coincide with the low D. VERY IMPORTANT that this is NOT OFF.

10-19 are, as of the writing of this README, off with respect to the score. While the score calls for them on the downbeat, during rehearsals, we slid them judiciously 1-2 seconds into the measures to align with the apex of the crescendos in the tremolo jokeying of the pianist. It is not a tragedy if you play these on the downbeat, but try to align them more with the high-point of the crescendo. Experiment with this on a per-pianist basis, as the timing of this section is quite free. The main goal, according to the composer, is for the resonance in the tape part to not be too present but rather to still be emerging when the pianist cuts out.

Penultimate section

In section 20, the triggering can be slightly early or late without incidence, but what is more important is that, with the composer, we experimented with sporadically sliding the global fader in the patch so that the electronics lept out in a "fight" with the pianist. This never really quite got the achieved effect, and was ommitted from some concerts while included with other ones. I would recommend doing an improvisation session with the pianist where you see how the jockeying between violent spurts in the tape and piano sound and if that is transparent in this section, and of course check with the composer if she is there, as she guided us a lot in the improvisations. However, this jockeying is neither notated in the score nor in the patch, and it is not clear how it will be part of the piece as it lives on.

Final section

During the final section, as the piano fades to 0, so should the electronics. Not linearly, but slowly and delicately on the master fader in the patch, ending approximately 5-10 seconds after the pianist's last tremolo D major cluster.

© IRCAM Creative Commons License
This documentation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Program note

Le piano est mon instrument : le premier que j’ai connu, celui avec lequel je me suis consacrée à la musique. J’ai avec lui un rapport intime, physique : j’en connais l’incroyable puissance sonore, la résonance aux harmonies si riches, qui, par sympathie, gagne toutes les cordes. Tout bien considéré, le répertoire que l’histoire lui a constitué sans relâche ne vient que dans un second temps - et il reste invariablement attaché, presque subordonné, à cette familiarité première, instinctive, à l’instrument, ainsi qu’à une écoute ouverte à toutes les musiques, par delà les frontières stylistiques, géographiques ou temporelles.

C’est cette intimité avec le piano qui a dessiné les contours de l’écriture d’Entr’ouvert : j’ai composé comme en palpant, en façonnant sous mes doigts, au creux de mes paumes, la matière d’un certain répertoire pianistique ainsi que d’influences qui n’appartiennent pas nécessairement à la musique de tradition écrite. Le tout dans une perspective d’ouverture (reflété par le titre, Entr’ouvert) et d’assouplissement des frontières sémantiques. À l’opposé d’une action qui délimite et circonscrit, c’est la recherche d’une intégration et d’une synthèse des différentes expériences d’écoute du monde dans lequel je suis immergée et qui résonnent en moi.

On ne sera pas étonné, donc, de constater que le principe de la répétition est ici dominant : la répétition, associée à l’élaboration électronique, permet de créer des processus de déformation graduelle d’un matériau qui peut parfois être perçu comme « connoté », pour le métamorphoser, en estomper les contours, dans un jeu d’ambiguïté autour du reconnaissable/reconductible, afin de contredire la « connotation » sans la renier. Les concepts de trace et d’écart sont donc des préoccupations centrales dans le processus de composition d’Entr’ouvert. Par trace, j’entends le répertoire pianistique, traditionnel ou non. Quant à l’écart, il se réfère à la fonction de l’électronique qui est similaire à celle d’un projecteur de théâtre qui, en projetant des lumières complètement différentes sur un même objet, peut en révéler différentes facettes, jusqu’à en déformer la nature même.

Giulia Lorusso et Jérémie Szpirglas.

Note de programme du concert du 12 juin 2017 au Centre Pompidou dans le cadre du festival ManiFeste.

Version documentation creation date: Sept. 24, 2020, 3:38 p.m., update date: Sept. 25, 2020, 11:53 a.m.